Most B2B lead records are incomplete. That’s the big takeaway from The 2015 State of Marketing Data, an annual report by Dun & Bradstreet and NetProspex. The report shines a light on the fact that B2B marketing data is “questionable” at best and often hazardous. With missing phone numbers, outdated email addresses, and incomplete company information, it’s a wonder any B2B demand generation team hits their goals. Marketers have been working hard and investing heavily in technology to rectify the situation, but maybe it’s just time to take a fresh approach to lead generation.


Bad Data Threatens B2B Demand Generation

Marketers use data to bring efficiency and quality to their demand gen programs. In fact, “improving the depth and accuracy of our database” was ranked as a top 2015 priority among 59 percent of survey respondents. Likewise, 74 percent of marketers say lead quality over quantity is their main focus for 2015.

Accurate data and lead quality may be a priority, but marketers are fighting an uphill battle to make it happen. According to B2B Enterprise marketers, demand generation programs and campaigns are “not effective” at achieving their primary goals. And marketers are “not effective” (a.k.a. failing) because of bad data.

The Gaping Holes in B2B Lead Records

Online forms are a huge source of marketing data. The only problem: more often than not, they have incomplete data. Let’s look at the numbers according to the 223 million records that were analyzed for the report:

  • 54 percent of lead records lacked a phone number
  • 66 percent of records had “questionable” email deliverability
  • 66 percent of records were missing revenue and industry data

Such dismal phone connectability is one of the most startling problems. NetProspex states, “when it comes to improving the demand generation funnel, the ability to reach buyers by phone is fundamental to closing the loop between sales and marketing.” This means that more than half of B2B lead records are missing fundamental data and those leads are more than likely, going in the trash.

This data is telling a scary story and should be a loud wake up call. You can’t effectively score leads with missing company information like revenue, size, and industry. You can’t nurture leads without a valid email address. And you can’t get your foot in the door with that all-important phone call if you don’t have a phone number.

How To Improve Connectability with Inbound Phone Calls

The state of data isn’t necessarily the marketer’s fault. In a marketing saturated environment, B2B buyers are reluctant to give out all their information –who wants to be on yet another emailing list?

The easiest way to avoid the problem altogether is by rethinking the way we connect with leads. Instead of trying to gather necessary information through online lead forms, give buyers the option to call you when and how they want.

Inbound phone leads are not only a great way to connect with prospects, they come with rich data that will enhance and fill in the gaps of your digital records. Try getting a sense of competitor threat, interest level, top objections, and demographic data from a web form.

Digital lead forms and databases are vital to B2B lead generation, but no amount of technology can force a prospect to give up their information, and incomplete data records will always be a problem. Demand generation doesn’t just have to mean generating digital leads. If your prospects want to call, let them. These will be your highest converting leads, and with call intelligence, they’ll be your richest source of customer insights.

If you want to learn about bringing phone calls to your B2B demand generation strategy, download the eBook, Calls are the New Clicks: How B2B Marketers Can Tap into the Power of the Phone.