If you think about the typical sales cycle, who usually gets credit when the deal is won? The Account Executive and the BDR/SDR involved in the process usually receive applause and congratulations from their co-workers.

And rightly so, that’s as it should be, but how did they get all that clean data that helped make this deal possible?

No one has ever said cleaning data is a glorious job, but, and this might sound bias coming from a data analyst, it is necessary for a company to truly thrive.

As a B2B marketer, lead gen is of utter importance, but quality over quantity is just as important. You need the right tools to get you the right leads that bring you the right business.

Let’s look at the relationship between content marketing and that sometimes daunting database of yours.

A Day in the Life

There have been huge advancements in marketing technology over the years with tons of tools that can help your company significantly grow.


Image Source: Scott Brinker/Chiefmartec.com

These tools are helping marketers increase the number of leads businesses convert and ultimately drive ROI. Content marketing, although improving, still has some catching up to do in terms of capturing quality leads.

I know a thing or two about sifting through thousands upon thousands of names looking for quality leads; I’ve done it for a full year. Sifting through data isn’t always glamorous, but it eases the workload on almost everyone else at the organization (yes, it’s that important), allowing them to do their jobs easier.

Back to the ultimate question, though. How can content marketing help drive quality leads into the funnel and ultimately increase ROI?

That’s where, through my countless hours of pouring over data I’ve discovered, interactive content comes in.

Getting Leads the Old School Way

Clean data is the best data.

I can certainly attest to this claim as there have been countless times where the data I’ve seen is either slightly wrong, a complete disaster, or anywhere in between. Whether it is a webinar list that needs cleaning or leads that came in through a particular campaign, nothing is worse than messy data.

To collect lead data the traditional way, marketers usually rely on long, often unappealing lead gated forms. Even then, their data might not be clean because they put in either old or bogus information about themselves.

Let’s say Mitch Marketer wants to download an ebook or PDF. He would fill out a lead-form gate that he has potentially become numb to and thus enters his information quickly and/or inaccurately. You can only capture so much information on a lead form from one person before they will be scared away.

The issue that remains is when a lead comes in and gives false or inaccurate information. Let’s call this fictitious lead Ira Leedoncare. Maybe we should ask if she’s talked with her friend Levy Tate recently. The real challenge here is obtaining clean data and data that will allow you, the marketer, to create a dialogue with these leads.

Cleaning Data

Image Source: Fennel Aurora/Linkedin

Names From Events

If you’ve ever received an event list, you know the people on these lists vary from students, freelancers, and consultants all the way to directors and CEOs.

Cleaning this information is important because clean data is necessary to deliver effective content and campaigns to the right people at the right time.

Any inaccurate data means one less email being delivered and one less MQL potentially generated. My personal biggest data pet peeves: gmail emails, email addresses spelled incorrectly, and NAMES IN ALL CAPS. I’m not complaining, just pointing out the minor victories of an unsung hero.

Getting Leads From Interactive Campaigns

Getting leads from interactive campaigns is miles better than collecting information from standard gated lead forms. Interactive campaigns capture the essential pieces of information by having users actually participate with the content instead of simply putting in their information into boring text boxes.

Why these content types can drive more accurate data is because by making the content more active and personal, people actually connect with the experience. You’re communicating with them more one-on-one, and less formally than the standard lead form.

As a result, users completing interactive campaigns will be more willing to give you their information.

I’ve noticed during my time at SnapApp that unless I am working with an event list full of leads, information collected from other means is usually not that great. When going through our own database, it is quite noticeable when leads are not collected with interactive content.

The data collected through interactive campaigns, makes my job easier.

Interactive Content_Higher Click Rates

Image Source: Miranda Steinway/Uptowntreehouse

Collecting Market Research

When someone reaches out on a website and chats with a person about the company’s product or service, they are willingly giving up information to learn more about their offerings. Whether they know it or not, they are simultaneously building their own profile for them.

By asking questions and stating what it is they are interested in (interacting), a dialogue is opened up between the lead and the company. This is the secret ingredient in interactive content.

I have noticed this phenomenon firsthand as I have run our live chat account for an extensive period of time. It’s amazing how much information you can collect on a lead by simply letting them open the conversation with you. This willingness to give me clean and accurate data, as you can imagine, is a much needed change-of-pace from the adjusting and researching that is data scrubbing.

The big focus for interactive content is giving a user an interactive experience in exchange for some company information. You can find out a lot (anything really) by inserting questions into the content that capture key qualifying data in a less formal or pushy way than mere forms . This data is great to identify buyer personas, target markets, and trends. This data is powerful – it needs to be clean.

What happens when this data is inaccurate (GASP!)? What happens, and I have witnessed this firsthand, is that when the sales team has too much inaccurate data, they ultimately have to find the correct information themselves, which is time they could be reaching out to prospects.

Closing Time

I’ve finally put the finishing touches on an event list that we got a few days ago and it’s ready to be uploaded into our system, pristine and ready for action.

The next day, I see an Account Executive ring our sales gong, meaning a deal has been closed. Everyone gathers around and claps and congratulates him/her and also the BDR who helped set the meeting.

But without the clean data and bonus information about that lead, does the deal still get done? The next time you see the data analyst(s) at your company, give them a pat on the back and thank them. They earned it.