How long do leads stay valid, active, and relatively fresh? A study by Harvard[EM1] has found that companies that responded to leads within an hour were seven times more likely to qualify that lead compared to those who waited just an hour later —and more than 60 times than if they waited 24 hours or longer.
In other words, you don’t have very long before your leads turn cold. Here’s the kicker—63% of companies will, on average, take more than an hour to reach out to their leads. There are many reasonable explanations for this. For one, they might be building up a database for later use—that is, there isn’t an existing campaign to push out. For another, their process flows might mean that getting those leads from the point they were gathered to those who can act on them takes a long time.
The Ideal Case Scenario
The numbers don’t lie. The best thing to do is to call or email your leads within an hour or so of getting them—. You don’t have to worry if you have nothing to sell yet. It’s more than enough to qualify the lead as being who they say they are, having given the right contact details, and being in a position that’s beneficial to your marketing efforts. For the latter, it’s whether they can make a decision regarding your products and services—or at least can talk to someone who can.
You don’t need to sell anything at this point, really. So, what’s your “in?” It depends on where and how you drew in the lead. If it was through syndicating your content, you can just verify they’re happy with what they got—and perhaps want more of the same. If it was through lead capture, you can follow-up on any answers they filled out in your form. As you might imagine, this kind of follow-up is easier via call, but even just an email to everyone is better than nothing at all.
So, You Missed Out on the Ideal Case…
For some marketers, building a database isn’t something they can simply do. After all, you may have joined a company where there’s a database already in place. One that your bosses and higher-ups have promised is “legit”—when, in fact, it hasn’t been touched in years. A scenario like this isn’t as bad as you might think. The leads might have started out as interested—and may still be—but you need to make sure they aren’t old or updated.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person on average will stay at their jobs for around 4.1 years. It might be a little longer for those in higher-level positions, but the basic idea is that if your database is around five years old, the contacts might have moved on to different roles or different companies—which means updated contact details, obviously. Therein lies your biggest challenge with only one solution: a refresh.
3 Ways to Refresh Your Database
1. The Manual Check
You could always check each lead in your existing database to verify whether they’re active or not. But it’s a very tedious process requiring a lot of time and manpower, and will likely cost you a lot of money. Other than checking leads if they’re from a particularly lucrative account or business, manual lead-by-lead verification probably isn’t worth the effort.
2. The Do-Over
A complete overhaul of your leads list is another option. And while it’s also going to take time and effort, it’s an opportunity to align your database with your current business priorities and needs, as well as with the content and marketing materials you have at your disposal. Rebuilding your leads database from scratch is going to require a full-blown B2B lead generation campaign, of course. And that’s going to take a huge investment in resources.
3. The Assist
We’ve been laying it on thick because there’s no way around the fact that you likely have to rebuild from the ground up if your leads are old and static, because leaving them as they are risks more opt-outs and confusion among potential customers. The truth of the is that you don’t have to do everything from scratch. In fact, if a rebuild is what’s needed, you should consider getting outside help, for the following reasons.
Starting with a strong B2B database
Many B2B leads companies have millions strong databases that are highly organized and segmented along data points that can form the basis of strong campaigns. You provide what you’re looking for, getting as specific as you can with what you need—and you even get look-alike lists to expand and get more leads to add to your database. The advantage here is that these leads are already verified and validated for you.
Depending on the extent of validation that you need, you wouldn’t even have to do the initial calls or send out the initial emails yourself. This frees you up time and personnel to focus on developing your marketing campaign, nurturing campaign, or even sales drive—particularly with regard to the content which studies have shown can yield up to 72% higher conversion rates provided their high relevance to the leads you distribute them to.
Further qualifying through content syndication
92% of B2B marketers agree—content marketing is far more effective than traditional marketing. The key, though, is getting your content in front of the right people. Many of the companies that provide a strong database to work with also offer content syndication. It can be a powerful strategy, but there are a few things to look out for.
First, find out what platform they’re using to syndicate your content. Second, ask how they’ll determine which leads are worth keeping—this will likely be through engagement tags and trackers a well as through active monitoring of the campaign. And finally, ask how they’ll collect and organize the leads for your use.
Have intent data, will travel
62% of marketers already consider personalization via the analysis of intent data signals a key strategy. Marketers who use intent data in their outreach to leads are 67% more effective. But imagine if, in addition to knowing who was genuinely interested in and inclined to buy your products and services, you also knew the best times to reach them and the media they preferred as well?
That’s what predictive analytics is all about. It’s a way to look at the online behavior of leads as well as the times they’re most active. This results in leads who want what you’re selling, who have told you what they need to know before buying—and the best times for you to reach them.
Old and outdated leads? It happens—especially when you don’t have an active process flow that relies on lead verification and validation. But rather than a disadvantage, think of it as an opportunity to cultivate better, active, relevant and in-market leads. If you’ve been struggling with old leads, we can help. Talk to us today!