I’m happy to say that the marketing and sales teams at FullContact work together as a team and see ourselves as partners in revenue growth. But marketing and sales departments at some companies operate in silos or even have an adversarial relationship. One major cause of a sales and marketing disconnect is the way in which leads are generated and routed through the sales and marketing funnels. Sales and marketing both want quality leads, but there are often significant tradeoffs and hurdles when it comes to agreeing on the required quantity of leads, level of lead quality, and the cost of acquiring each quality lead.
B2B marketing teams are usually measured on the number of quality leads they pass to sales at a certain cost per lead, but it can be really hard to determine lead quality at scale – even when leads are scored using marketing automation systems. The good news is that contact data can bring a new dimension to determining lead quality and can help increase the quantity and quality of sales accepted leads at a lower cost per lead. Here’s how it works.
Adding Contact Data to the Lead Quality Equation
Marketers often use marketing automation systems to give leads a ‘quality score’ based on tracking engagements such as content downloads, form submissions, the number of clicks on an email, or the number of website visits during a period of time. But sales teams usually want a bit more information before calling a lead that is qualified based on activity levels alone.
A lot of sales teams I have worked with use some sort of BANT formula to determine lead quality. BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing. Here’s what it means.
- The prospect has enough money to buy the product (Budget)
- The prospect can make purchasing decisions for the company (Authority)
- The prospect has a compelling need for the solution (Need)
- The prospect is planning to buy a solution soon (Timing)
Marketing teams can use publicly available contact data and company data to fill in some of the BANT gaps before a sales rep is asked to accept a qualified lead. Examples of available public data include job title, company name, industry, geography, social interests, and social profile information. Marketers should work with the sales team to determine which contact data points can be tied back to BANT. For example, job title is an indication of seniority and certain job titles added to a lead could be an indication of Authority.
How to Add Enriched Contact Data to a Lead in a CRM
The more contact data a lead record has, the more a marketing automation system can filter and rout leads based on characteristics and interests in addition to activity and engagement. Adding enriched contact data to a lead scoring model is powerful, but marketing teams need to develop ways of enriching their marketing automation systems with public and organizational contact data so it can be added to the formula for lead scoring.
The best way to get the necessary contact information is by searching for publicly available information shared with the world through social networks. For example:
- Facebook users often share geographical information and social interests.
- LinkedIn users often share job titles, company names, and industries.
- Twitter users often share keywords and opinions.
Some social media companies offer their public data through APIs, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to get public data directly from these sources. Some social media sites have been decreasing the data that’s available through their APIs or turning off their APIs altogether for many marketing and sales related use cases. A better option is to use a contact management platform offering 360-degree contact data and enrichment as a service.
Ensuring Salespeople Are Selling, Not Figuring Out Who to Contact
Without the additional information offered by enriched contact data, sales teams often spend a lot time just trying to figure out whom to talk to. Salespeople often receive highly active leads from marketing only to find out that the person who is so active and engaged is not the decision maker or doesn’t own the budget. So, the time-suck begins as the salesperson tries to track down the right person to contact and see if the company is serious about making a purchase decision or just doing a lot of research for another reason.
When marketers add enriched contact data to their lead scoring models, the enriched contact data can be found through APIs and automatically added to a lead, account, or contact record in a CRM. This process ensures that salespeople see leads with more job titles, company names, links to social profiles, geography, and even photos. This enriched information saves salespeople a lot of time they would otherwise spend searching for contact information online or researching a prospect to make a better first impression. Less time prospecting equates to more time selling.
Applying Contact Data to Sales and Marketing Alignment
Improving your lead scoring and routing process using contact data won’t guarantee that a company’s sales and marketing departments will work well together. It’s important to discuss the options available through contact data enrichment and agree on the information that equates to better quality leads. Alignment and a mutual understanding of the options are required before a good working relationship can develop. Discussing contact data as a lead quality strategy is a great way to start the conversation and pull the sales and marketing teams together. This is the cutting edge of contact management and a great way to breathe new life into a combined sales and marketing strategy!