The HUGE Problem With Lead Validation (And How To Solve It)
At Databowl we recently began discussing the importance of lead validation with an objective third party within the industry who clearly attached a different value and definition to the term. Following on from this realisation, we reached out to a group of marketing experts to try and gauge their understanding of lead validation and what was meant by the tool. Once again, it was clear the concept and consequent application of lead validation was wide-ranging. In truth, we had been using “Lead Validation” to mean something entirely different from what some others understood it to mean. For us, this represents a potentially huge problem which we quickly wanted to address.
In this blog we will look at the traditional definition of lead validation and propose an objective critique of the merits of this paradigm. Moreover, we will look at the inherent problems of this model and suggest there may be further problems following on from this malleable terminology that result in massive losses for anyone involved in lead generation - losses you may not even be aware are taking place! Hopefully, this will encourage you to re-evaluate the significance of your own lead validation measures and potentially lead you to rethink your processes to optimise your performance.
Finally, we will provide a solution to this huge problem by putting forward our own definition of lead validation and suggest you may look to adopt this model in your own work, moving forwards.
In this traditional model of lead validation - made up from an accumulation of the most frequently used online definitions - the key aspect involves the separation of “Sales” leads from non-leads. Essentially, this simply refers to identifying and segmenting the stage of the lead in question: Are they ready for a “Sale” or do they require more nurturing before they are to be placed in that “Stage?” Ultimately, this definition uses lead validation as nothing more than a glorified funnel for incoming leads, AFTER the point of generation.
It seems many people within marketing continue to use this definition when they think of what it means to employ lead validation. Whilst there is nothing wrong with doing this - in fact, it is absolutely necessary - it nevertheless can be part of a process which leads to huge inefficiencies and wastage if it is the only form of lead validation employed. To be clear: If you yourself use this as your model for lead validation, you are likely losing a lot of money without even realising it. Read on to learn the huge problem with this traditional model, and how you can begin to improve things with a simple solution.
The problem with exclusively employing this type of lead validation is simply that it only addresses one issue - that not all leads are at the same stage and need to be managed accordingly. For us, this essentially goes without saying and is an integral part of lead management and lead nurturing, but it should be treated separately to lead validation.
When we say lead validation, we also refer to validating the status of a lead AT the point of generation, not only after. By employing this form of lead validation you are able to remove duplicate leads, invalid leads, incorrectly formatted leads and fraudulent leads. When employing this type of lead validation you are able to set up bespoke rules to not only prevent wastage when paying for poor quality leads but increase the % of Sales leads by validating before the leads are even generated. This massively optimises your performance regardless of the form of lead generation you run.
Last year, by employing real-time lead validation of this nature, we saved our clients in excess of £43 million - this is money that would have been lost had we only ran the more narrow, traditional model of lead validation (To learn more about these savings, visit this blog).
The question is, what type of lead validation are you running? Are you sure your system is saving you as much as possible? Could you optimise your performance even further?
To be confident you are running the most effective lead validation possible - and consequently minimising waste and optimising performance - it is easiest for us to explain the types of lead validation we run. In short, if you are not running equivalent lead validation within your own campaign process, you may well be wasting a lot of money.
With Databowl, you are able to perform a multi-levelled real-time validation process BEFORE your leads are separated into funnels. All leads can be validated in the following ways:
1. LEAD VALIDATION (As We Use It)
As discussed, lead validation (as we use it) involves validating leads in real-time to ensure leads are not only real but relevant. This involves stringent fraud eradication and validation using an unlimited number of rules to improve the quality of leads brought in. You are able to set up your campaigns with a list of established criteria to ensure only valid leads which meet these criteria are generated, ultimately filtering out invalid leads at the very first step.
Moreover, to ensure the quality and relevance of leads generated, bespoke rules can be established and added to the traditional validation criteria to heighten the standard of lead and optimise the performance of your campaigns.
2. METADATA VALIDATION
Taking the levels of our validation further, when using Databowl you can run metadata validation to pick up any extra invalid leads and again reduce wasted costs. Metadata validation allows you to detect and reject all leads based on additional metadata values attached to the data. This detects and rejects users that would ordinarily fail to be detected as fraudulent without this feature. Again, this form of validation provides an extra level of protection to help save you money.
3. INTELLIGENT VALIDATION
The third level of lead validation is concerned with “intelligent validation” enabled by advanced machine-learning technologies. This is a form of validation that is iterative and self-learning, using a predictive “lead scoring” algorithm that constantly analyses all sales and rejections. Leads are allocated a predictive score when they are supplied, enabling you to prioritise leads and decide how they are used. Ultimately, this is an advanced form of the traditional lead validation model, enabling automated validation based upon the intelligence of machine-learning.
(If you would like to learn more about machine-learning, check out this blog here:)
Once your leads have been accepted through this multi-levelled real-time validation process - with invalid leads rejected in advance to remove unnecessary costs - you can then begin to separate Sales leads from non-leads in the traditional method. The only real difference is the quality of the leads generated is inherently far greater than they would have been without these extra processes. Moreover, with the correct application of rules and machine-learning technology as part of your process, you can begin to maximise the % of leads that are Sales leads in advance.
If you would like to learn more about Databowl’s multi-levelled validation and learn how much it can save you (with accurate saving estimates generated on request) then speak to one of our experts and get all the advice you need to begin solving your lead validations problems right away.