As B2B marketers, we want to generate leads. More than that, we want to generate the RIGHT leads, which will then turn into customers.

According to HubSpot, “a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form”. In simpler terms, a lead is a piece of data: it is information about a person or organisation.

Therefore, when it comes to B2B lead generation, it’s important to work only with clean, high-quality, targeted data. The best marketers then use this data to help form and cultivate relationships with their potential customers through their marketing campaigns.

The wrong data will generate the wrong leads. It’s a simple equation, but it is all too easy to use data that isn’t up to par, or that is a poor fit for your business. So why is data quality so important for B2B lead generation and how can you ensure that your database fits the bill?

Acquiring the right B2B leads

Writing for Convince and Convert, Ben Plomion says: “‘Leads’ are misleading, mostly because a content download itself isn’t a lead. Just because someone fills out a form and grabs your report doesn’t mean they’re going to buy your product now or ever.”

Marketers often place too much weight too early on a “lead”. Not every lead will turn into a customer; in fact, the majority won’t. Nevertheless, leads are far more likely to bear fruit if they are of a high quality to start with.

In an article that appeared on the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website, Ryan Fulton, of Occam DM Ltd, writes: “Data is the critical starting point to ensure your brand stand[s] out from the competition. After all, it is data that powers the intelligence that makes better decisions – and customer dialogue – possible.”

Without high-quality data, you can’t create successful marketing campaigns that will help you to win more sales. Instead, you expend time and resources walking the wrong paths. For instance, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you’re attempting to connect with someone that has no interest in your product or service; or if you’re sending a piece of direct mail to an old address.

The role of your current B2B database

So how can you ensure that you work only with high-quality B2B data? A good place to start is with your current B2B database. Are any of the records it contains out-of-date, incomplete, or illegally acquired? Are there any duplicates or poorly formatted records?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s crucial to implement data cleansing. That means removing any records that are out-of-date or acquired illegally, filling in existing gaps, and removing duplicates.

You can then analyse your database to identify recurring trends and attributes, which will enable you to work out who your best customers are and, therefore, who you should be targeting in the future. You can then tailor your marketing campaigns to reflect these findings.

Another way to ensure you are only working with high quality data is to purchase B2B data lists from a reputable provider. They will work with you to create a targeted list that will enable you to form connections with the right people. The records included in this list will be accurate, relevant and suited to your needs.

Data quality is extremely important in B2B lead generation. Poor quality data is the wrong data – and the wrong data will lead you to the wrong people; a journey to nowhere. By ensuring that your records are clean, you can make better marketing decisions that will benefit your organisation.