What is lead enrichment in B2B Marketing?

In this blog post you will learn about what the lead enrichment process is, its stages and most common use cases for B2B marketers and sales operations leaders to incorporate a lead enrichment process into their lead generation and lead management processes.

Lead enrichment or data enrichment is a process of obtaining more data, validating it and overwriting incorrect information about leads and customers for sales and marketing purposes. Think of lead enrichment as of a process that takes place either in parallel with lead generation or retroactively after a lead entered a CRM or a marketing automation platform.

Lead enrichment means obtaining, validating and overwriting incorrect info about leads and customers

In B2B sales and marketing a nutshell a lead is merely a set of data points you’ve gathered about at individual at a certain organization, such as first and last name, company name, business email address, company size, etc. As a marketer, you’re balancing between the needs of the sales organization to receive as many details about leads as possible and conversion rate of visitors into leads on your landing pages. While your sales team will for sure crave for as much data as possible, as a smart marketer you know that the more fields you put on a lead registration forms, the more likely it is that you website visitors will not put their time and effort and complete them.

Leads intentionally provide incorrect information about themselves

There’s one other thing to note here which is just as important, if not more important to consider – in the majority of cases, leads will intentionally provide incorrect information about themselves and the business they work for, since nobody wants to get yet another phone call from sales these days and no one’s interested in being put into a nurturing cadence and receiving tons of emails from a vendor. In fact, there’s so much stats on the web that are saying that from 80 to 90 percent of marketing databases are barely functional and lack even basic data.

From 80 to 90 percent of marketing databases are barely functional

For us, digital marketers, this is sad, but true. So how do we address this problem and can it be addressed at all? The data quality problem can never be solved entirely, but you can significantly improve accuracy of you lead information with the help of lead enrichment tools. There’s also a second name – data enrichment tools, which means the same thing. Below you can find the most common use cases and requirements for a solid data enrichment process.

1) Real-time lead enrichment and data validation

Takes place in tandem with your lead generation process. Once your leads submit lead registration forms, the data they provided goes to a real-time lead enrichment or data enrichment tool (typically a third-party solution) that provides more information about the organizations your leads represent. Simultaneously to that, the tool checks fields that leads have provided and either validates them as correct fields or overwrites the fields with correct information. For example, a lead enrichment tool will not only provide additional information about ACME Company, such as HQ location, annual revenue, corporate logo, corporate social media profiles, but also overwrite company size information which the majority of the leads will input incorrectly.

2) Post-factum lead enrichment and data validation

If you’ve got a robust lead enrichment engine, it will support both real-time and post-factum enrichment. The reason for that is not all of the data can be found and validated in real time. Sometimes an engine doesn’t have enough information about an organization a lead may represent. In this case, such leads will enter you CRM or marketing automation platform while your lead enrichment tool will start scraping the required information. As soon as this info is identified, much like with real-time enrichment, the tool will provide additional data points to your lead records as well as overwrite incorrect data.

3) Data quality scoring

Top-notch data enrichment tools will also give you a data quality score that typically varies from 0 to 1. This score depends on a variety of factors, but the most critical of all is email domain quality. As we all know if the email address is bogus, such lead represents very little value to the business. Leads with bogus addresses typically get a data quality score of “0”. Other examples of leads with low data quality scores are leads with ten-minute domains and “role emails” such as support@acme.com or marketing@acme.com. An then, on the opposite side, legit emails with SMPT and MX records, representing real businesses get data quality scores close to or equal to “1”.

Top-notch data enrichment tools will give you a data quality score

In modern B2B businesses, both marketing and sales operations teams rely on quality data for accurate segmentation, nurturing personalization and lead routing (lead distribution). The better the lead quality is, the more efficient the sales organization is as your SDR’s or BDR’s don’t need to spend time to figure out whether leads that they’re getting through the CRM really belong to them or they should be re-routed to other reps. On the Lead Zen Blog, there’s a separate post on how lead data quality and other factors are affecting the efficiency of a B2B sales process.

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