Using Third Party Data and Analytics to Help You Manage Online Lead Quality: Part 1

Lead Quality ChecklistToday, the novelty of buying online leads through third party lead generators and affiliates has long wore off as marketers have been practicing this method of lead generation for years, and have experienced much success generating new leads this way. However, for many lead buyers, the struggle lies in ongoing lead quality instability and wasted resources of inside sales teams or call centers as they sift through the leads generated in order to separate the good from the bad.

Knowing this, as a lead buyer, how do you know if you’re buying the right leads, from the right source and at the right price?

Can third party data and analytics providers help you get the most bang for your buck?

The answer is yes!

In our newest white paper A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Lead Quality with Data and Scoring we break down lead buying into several discrete steps and walk you through the ins and outs of using third party data and analytics providers to help you painlessly separate the good from the bad to improve the bottom line results of your CPL adverting. In this post we’ll break out:

1. Validation
2. Verification
3. Data Appending

Step 1: Validating Individual Lead Fields
This step involves red flagging any leads with bogus or invalid contact information in any individual fields. Individual field examples include: first, last, postal addresses, email addresses, and/or phone numbers. What counts as invalid? Let’s take phone as an example. If the first six digits of a telephone number are not a valid area code and telecom exchange in the U.S., it would be flagged.

Third party services can be used to instantly and cost-effectively spot these common validation problems.

How to use it? Most lead buyers will use this first step to scrub out the clearly bogus names and other information, e.g., Mickey Mouse.

Validation is a great first step, however, it only checks each individual lead fields’ conformance to recognized standards, it does not check the true identity of the full lead record. That’s what verification is all about.

Step 2: Verifying the Lead as a Whole
The next logical step once you know you have a valid name, phone and address, is confirming that the name can be linked to the address(es), phone number and additional fields. Or, does this person actually live at this address?

Third party service providers can perform both steps to assess the quality of submitted consumer data.

How to use it?  Smart lead buyers employ conservative strategies when rejecting leads using only basic verification. Doing so may result in only a very small percentage of your total lead volumes being rejected, but you avoid rejecting contactable leads when you take this approach.

Validation and verification together are great first steps when you are buying leads and trying to manage quality, however, let’s move beyond those first two steps to see what else you can do maximize overall contactability and conversion rates for your sales team and call centers.

Step 3: Appending Data for Greater Lead Insights
As you know, when it comes to lead buying, the more you can know about a particular lead the better. However, what marketers also know is that for every field you add to lead forms, user abandonment rates can grow by 10 percent or more. Luckily, there are ways to append additional demographic information to leads that allow the luxury of keeping your lead forms short and quickly gaining a more comprehensive view of the consumer completing the form.

Third party service providers can provide a host of additional data. The most readily available data used to append leads is:

  • Alternative contact information (addresses, phones, etc.)
  • Individual demographics (age, gender, income level, married/single, etc.)
  • Household attributes (presence and number of children in the home)

How to use it?  Additional data can provide needed insight to sales representatives prior to initial follow-up calls and can help you distribute each lead with the right sales rep and/or personalize the sales message to maximize opportunities for conversion.

Can you provide any other tips or best practices for marketers when it comes to how best to use validation, verification and data appending?

Come back next week! We’ll take a deep dive into scoring and monitoring, the final two steps in our guide to managing online lead quality with data and analytics.