The following is a guest post from Aaron Wittersheim at Straight North.
For your lead generation campaign to run as efficiently as possible, you need a clear lead validation and management plan to fuel it. Without one, odds are your campaign results have been overstated. “The Importance of Lead Validation” reveals that 50 percent of a company’s website conversions aren’t qualified leads. Those unqualified leads can range from your typical spam to incomplete form submissions and sales solicitations. So, what is lead validation? Lead validation is the process of separating qualified leads from unqualified leads.
Knowing this critical information will allow you to truly understand the effectiveness of your lead generation campaign (SEO, PPC, display advertising, etc.). When the marketing team validates leads, it will have accurate data to help it optimize campaign performance.
That data includes:
- The online marketing source for every qualified lead
- The accurate number of qualified leads versus unqualified leads
- The accurate cost per lead rather than having only cost per conversion
How Lead Validation Works
Validating qualified leads is a critically important and very labor-intensive activity. Lead validators review form submissions and listen to recorded phone conversations to determine which are qualified leads and which fall into the “something else” category. For reporting and data processing, unqualified leads should be itemized and processed differently depending on their nature.
For instance, spam inquiries can be disposed of, whereas a customer service inquiry from a new contact should be added to the CRM for future outbound marketing efforts.
Advantages of Lead Validation
A significant advantage of manual conversion review, if done in real time or near real time as we recommend, is that hot leads can be brought to sales’ attention quickly for special, intensive follow-up. A simple, common-sense, in-the-trenches maneuver like that could make the difference between closing a big deal and losing it forever.
From a reporting standpoint, gaining the ability to bucket qualified leads separately from unqualified leads is significant. First, since unqualified leads can comprise as much as half of conversions, separating the two gives marketers and company leadership a far clearer picture of how well their campaigns are performing. Second, when campaign managers use lead data rather than conversion data to optimize campaigns, their testing and decisions are far more effective in increasing lead production.
For example, in a hypothetical PPC campaign, keyword A generates 100 conversions and keyword B generates 70. The campaign manager will add emphasis to keyword A. However, if lead validation is incorporated into the analytics process, it will be seen that keyword A generates 20 qualified leads and keyword B generates 30. Now, with the benefit of lead generation, the campaign manager will put more emphasis on keyword B. Multiply this example hundreds of times over, and you quickly see how the benefits of validation produce substantial lead generation gains.
Since most companies fail to validate sales leads, doing so can give companies a very important competitive advantage in their digital marketing efforts. Best of all, lead validation is the gift that keeps giving—able to improve campaigns more quickly and effectively, companies that validate continually widen their gap in new revenue production over competitors who flail away at testing based on foggy conversion data.
See the full presentation below: