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B2B marketers, repeat after me: Not all leads are created equal. In fact, unqualified leads are creating a bottleneck in your overall marketing and sales efforts, and thus, killing your bottom line. You’re not alone in the woods in this hypothetical marketing horror story; it’s a nightmare that fatigues countless B2B marketing departments.

According to a recent report, a measly 6.6 percent of B2B marketers “believe their data is complete and up-to-date. Slightly more than 4 in 10 marketers aren’t confident in the quality of their MA and CRM data.”

2 Major Ramifications of Bad Lead Data

Your sales team doesn’t have the time or resources to manually scrub invalid leads. And even if they did, manual efforts can’t catch everything (e.g., duplicate data). Bad prospect data will always slip through if you rely on manual lead governance, which then results in sales’ mistrust regarding marketing’s ability to generate qualified leads.

Even scarier? Poor lead data quality can cause mistrust among your target audiences. When bad prospect data enters your database, it skews performance analytics, resulting in erroneous decisions about messaging, content distribution, target parameters, and much more. It’s imperative your marketing department invests in a solution to eliminate bad leads before they enter your marketing database and hurt your brand image.

And while the efforts behind eradicating bad leads sends shivers down your spine (it’s never a quick, easy fix), there’s is a way. Here’s how you can put the axe to poor lead data collection strategies and kill unqualified leads before they find their way into your database and begin corroding your sales funnel:

1. Solve lingering mysteries: Detect where your team’s lead-quality problems arise and implement a basic lead filtering process. When it comes to lead collection, quantity and quality aren’t interchangeable. B2B marketers face a variety of problems contingent upon their organization’s business model. Ultimately, poor leads in your database present long-term scaling inefficiencies for your entire organization. But you can clean out those skeletons in your closet:

  • Centralize all your data sources into a common repository before uploading to your database
  • Audit every lead for missing, incomplete and duplicate fields (duplicates are difficult to catch and you won’t catch them all, but it’s important to locate the ones you can)
  • Check for false information (fake names, email addresses, etc.)
  • Check for untargeted values (geographies or company sizes you don’t want, etc.)
  • When applicable, construct lead-return files for each lead provider
  • Append enhanced lead data where applicable
  • Standardize lead file formats
  • Upload lead files to relevant lead nurture track(s) in marketing automation systems (where applicable)

Keep in mind that lead quality is not objective, and your filtration strategy must be adaptable to your sales department’s in-the-field knowledge of what constitutes a promising lead.

2. Shout for help: Crowd source your lead-elimination efforts. After you’ve determined the inefficiencies in the quality of your leads (e.g., unstandardized naming conventions muddying your database), reach out to peers in your industry. It’s likely they’ve experienced similar issues in their prospective data collection efforts. Quora is a great knowledge-sharing platform where numerous marketers exchange a wealth of marketing expertise and hacks. LinkedIn is also a great resource for marketers to troubleshoot industry-specific challenges.

3. Escape the monster: Create a strategy to grow and support qualified leads. Prioritize your lead-quality challenges and lead elimination strategies to focus on quick wins and low-hanging fruit. This likely means approaching your top-of-funnel issues first – these will have a trickle-down effect and benefit sales pipeline growth.

4. Shake the cobwebs from your database: Implement lead quality checks, even if it requires a manual process. Manual efforts can be fatal to efficiency, ultimately affecting productivity, morale and revenue. Still, these costs aren’t anywhere near as scary as having no lead quality governance at all. Consider following a quick lead-data integrity checklist:

  • Filter as many bad leads as possible
  • Track the lead sources that provide the highest quality leads
  • Document the time and resources spent manually processing leads to make more informed calculations on campaign ROI

5. Shine a flashlight on marketing tech solutions that can avoid or mitigate unqualified leads. Once you fully understand the specific lead quality challenges you’re facing, it’s a great idea to research marketing tools and technology that aid the effectiveness and efficiency of a database cleanup strategy. A good MarTech solution for lead data governance will sift through every lead you receive, identifying incomplete, unstandardized, untargeted, duplicate and noncompliant data before it ever makes it inside.

Wake Up from that Nightmare

Bad lead quality, poor database integrity and manual cleanup efforts don’t have to keep you up at night. Simply improve your data collection and filtration processes to eliminate poor leads before they enter your database. Investigate various technologies that will streamline your processes, and you can close the book on it. Your sales colleagues and exec team will thank you again and again as your pipeline grows.