Painting the Golden Gate Bridge is a never-ending task.
We're all familiar with the anecdote. A team of painters works full time to preserve the structural integrity of the Bridge as it's perpetually besieged by salt-laden fog and time. A fresh coat of paint is not just for looks, it's an essential maintenance function.
Finding high-quality leads is a topic continually discussed by B2B marketers, but what about preserving and improving those leads?
Lead generation is the first step - building the bridge. Lead Enrichment is the process of keeping that structure fit and functional. Maintaining a large contact database can be like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.
"Ongoing lead enrichment is the key to an effective and efficient lead targeting and qualification program. Once implemented you will see measurable improvements in the number of lead conversions." - Bill Munroe, William Munroe Consulting
Contact databases can rust just as fast as steel. Individuals are hired and fired. Companies are acquired. New positions are created. Businesses shrink and swell every quarter.
Recent Marketing Sherpas research shows that B2B data decays at a rate of 2.1% per month. This is an annualized rate of 22.5%.
Some industries such as Arts, Entertainment and Recreation decay an astounding rate of 6.5% per month. Your CRM and marketing automation platforms are only as useful as your contact data is accurate. Call it database degradation, contact decay, data rot, list corrosion - whatever you like - time is the enemy of the contact database. Like the Golden Gate Bridge, your database is rusting right now.
In some industries, separation rate alone can reach as high as 6.5% each month.
Hires and separations are only two factors that contribute to rapid contact database degradation.
Myths and inaccuracies about the Golden Gate Bridge abound: it is not literally painted end-to-end each year, it's not the longest suspension bridge in the world, and there are no construction workers entombed in the concrete casings.
When you import a contact list - especially a list from a third party - it is likely cobbled together from a variety of data sources, collected at different times, for different reasons, with varying levels of accuracy. Your SDRs are constantly adding leads, but these may not always be accurate or qualified. More often than not, SDRs do not spend the time going line by line checking their information, nor is it an efficient use of their time to do so. When you use a contact database that is not actively maintained or generated from a third party's database, you are pulling from a list of half-truths. All your fields might be filled in and it looks like you have a nice, neat spreadsheet or CSM full of contacts, but when's the last time you actually checked how accurate your data is?
Cheap data can end up being quite expensive. In a B2B Lead Roundtable webinar, Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Revenue Optimization at MECLABs, details how a $3.6 billion Cisco partner tested how higher cost/higher quality lead data affected the cost per lead.
"The difference between the best- and worst-performing lists was almost $600 per lead." - Brian Carroll
Investing in the very best data possible may cost more upfront, but the return is more than worth it.
Always Room For Improvement
When workers on the Golden Gate Bridge find corroded steel rivets, they replace them with a STM A-325 high-strength bolt. Original paint is replaced with water-borne inorganic zinc primer and an acrylic topcoat. These improved materials were not available at the time of the bridge's construction. In this way, the bridge is constantly being improved.
If you're pulling in lots of lead data, you need to figure out how to prioritize. Conventional scoring tools like Infer and Pardot are only good enough to make simple decisions; the decision criteria are locked in. Effective lead enrichment means scoring contacts dynamically, based on your specific needs. Time is the primary challenge. Even with automated sales and marketing tools, prioritization of leads based on quality inevitably dictates how your team spends their time and budget. No matter what the size of your company, you're always striving to get the biggest bang for the marketing buck. You can increase the efficacy of your marketing and sales efforts by replacing rusted contact info with the fresh data so your team can spend their time working with leads most likely to convert.
Officially, the Golden Gate Bridge is painted "international orange," but actually the color is a custom blend. Many people want this exact color for home furnishings but are disappointed to find that they cannot just buy it off the shelf of their local hardware store. A paint store has to do a custom mix. (the CMYK colors are: C= Cyan: 0%, M =Magenta: 69%, Y =Yellow: 100%, K = Black: 6%).
If you want the most accurate and efficient leads for your company, you cannot simply pull a list off the shelf. Key insights about customers are hardly uniform across market segments. You want leads specifically tailored to your buying audience, not the industry's. Finding custom data means you can figure out what the right things to say to your potential leads in automated email marketing campaigns or the proper way to approach outbound sales. Your reps walk in the door more likely to close when they are working with a list of leads prioritized specifically for your business.
The Golden Gate Bridge is painted year-round by 28 painters, 5 painter laborers, and a chief bridge painter. Over 80 years of technological improvement have not supplanted the need for a full time crew.
To properly maintain a database, you need a human touch. Humans can build lists in ways that algorithms cannot. Lead scoring tools using predictive analytics are improving in quality, but the power of a skilled human + technology will always beat out technology on its own. However, prospecting is not always the most efficient use of your salespeople's time. Quality lead generation is labor intensive, but the question remains: How do you plan to generate qualified leads at scale?
Building For The Future
Joseph Strauss, the Bridge's lead engineer, was once asked, "How long will the bridge last?" Strauss replied "Forever! If cared for, it should have life without end." Preserving and maintaining a contact database means planning for the future.
An enriched contact database allows you to understand your entire buyer universe and reach customers in the most targeted, efficient ways. Your database should be at the heart of all your sales and marketing efforts.
Do you give your contact database the attention it needs so it can shine?