The Critical Importance Of Lead Validation In Internet Marketing

In business, it pays to have as much information as possible so you and your team always make the most informed decisions you can. However, when it comes to lead generation in an Internet marketing campaign, many times businesses make decisions with only some of the information they need, leading to potential marketing failure. Specifically, they don’t know how many of the inquiries or conversions their sites generate are true sales leads. They are, in essence, counting their chickens before they hatch. That’s why a lead validation component is an extremely important element for any campaign, because without it you might end up wasting time and resources chasing leads that simply don’t exist.

At Straight North, we conducted a lead validation study that returned some very interesting and surprising results that should be of interest to anyone in charge of an Internet marketing campaign. Over the course of 18 months, we collected and analyzed more than 350,000 inquiries — including online form submissions and phone calls. After putting all of these inquiries through our strenuous lead validation platform, we discovered that only slightly more than half of those inquiries were actual sales leads. That means that nearly half of them were not sales leads, but instead were made up of empty form submissions, incomplete form submissions, misdials, customer service requests and job applications. These conversions and inquiries are never going to lead to a sale. Yet many Internet marketing companies and their clients don’t make the critical distinction between them and true sales leads.

lead generation study
Online lead generation study conducted by Straight North.

 

The danger for Internet marketing companies and their clients comes when they see the raw numbers for conversions or inquiries and assume that all of those are true sales leads. By relying on Google Analytics goal tracking data as the sole measure of their leads, they have major gaps in their data. For example, Google Analytics goals don’t distinguish between complete and incomplete form submissions, nor do they include phone call data.

Armed with such incomplete information, Internet marketers and their clients run the risk of relying on that insufficient data when it comes time to update or improve their campaigns. Without knowing which inquiries are true sales leads or where they came from, businesses may overemphasize the wrong conversion sources. This in turn redirects resources away from the sources that actually are generating sales leads. Thus, improvements to a campaign may happen more slowly than they should, if they happen at all.

This means lead validation is a component of Internet marketing that cannot be ignored or undervalued. Lead tracking and validation is simply too important for anyone interested in using the Internet to market their businesses to leave out of their strategy. Using the complete information provided by lead validation, marketers and their clients have the clearest possible picture of the effectiveness of their campaigns. What’s more, they have all of the information they need to fine-tune those campaigns and drive greater improvements.

The lead validation process involves having a dedicated lead validation team that combs through all leads, reading all form inquiries, listening to all phone calls, and marking them as leads or non-leads. A lead tracking and validation process should be geared toward meeting numerous objectives, including knowing the source of every validated lead; knowing how many inquiries are true sales leads versus other types of interactions; and knowing the accurate cost per lead as opposed to the cost per conversion.

Once marketers and their clients have this higher level of understanding regarding their true sales leads versus non-sales inquiries, they will be able to apply that information to an optimization program that will boost the conversion sources that are bringing in the real sales leads, taking focus away from those that are not. The result is a campaign that performs much more effectively for clients and delivering sales leads in a much more efficient manner. This ultimately allows clients to focus on what they truly want to focus on — serving their customers.

Lead validation can be a complicated and time-consuming process, the benefits it brings to a campaign are clearly worth the effort. Without the clearest and most complete information about the effectiveness of their campaigns, you won’t be able to make the most of your Internet marketing campaign. Having lead validation as an important component of your campaign means you will be able to see the full picture of who your sales leads truly are and where they are coming from. There’s no reason to go into the marketplace without the most complete information you can get, and lead validation is how you can get it.

 

Aaron Wittersheim
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Aaron Wittersheim

Chief Operating Officer at Straight North
Aaron Wittersheim is an accomplished entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business and technology experience. He is currently Chief Operating Officer at Straight North, a Chicago-based Internet marketing company.
Aaron Wittersheim
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Aaron Wittersheim

Aaron Wittersheim is an accomplished entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business and technology experience. He is currently Chief Operating Officer at Straight North, a Chicago-based Internet marketing company.

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