Data Quality

7 ways to improve lead generation through data-driven best practices

B2B sales and lead gen is tough, and the landscape is changing rapidly, especially as we head toward the deprecation of Google’s third-party cookie. Lead generation is key to many marketing strategies, but it’s more and more complicated.

In a recent report, marketers indicated that their biggest pain points are delivering high-quality leads at the quantity needed to maintain a consistent and robust pipeline. B2B marketers reported that the top challenges to lead generation are collecting quality data (41%) creating targeted and engaging content (37%) and managing and tracking leads (33%).

As our Senior VP of B2B Lead Gen Ken Stout says, “The challenge for today’s B2B marketer is twofold; precision and patience.” This blog will walk you through how to use quality data to increase the quality of your leads and provide personalized, relevant messaging.

1. Pinpoint your best customers, and figure out what makes them tick.

All lead generation, whether it’s B2B, B2C, nonprofit fundraising, ecommerce or real estate, kicks into high gear when you really know your audience. If you have a lot of information, you’re more able to find a solution to fit the needs they didn’t know they had.

But where do you even start with that?

Identify your current high value customers by compiling their purchases, industries, company size, revenue and geography so that you can build your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Data Axle will use third-party firmographic data on top of your customer data to access all of this information for you. What do your top customers have in common? Do they share industries, geographical locations or company size?

Then, analyze your pipeline. Identify emerging trends, map the customer journey, and understand your customers’ purchase cycle. When do you see your best customers doing the bulk of their purchasing?

Once you have assembled the information about your top current customers, you’ll be ready to look for new ones, and really hone in on your target audience.

2. Find new, high quality prospects by using look-alike modeling

Using look-alike modeling, identify new companies who match key indicators from your top current customers. Using a robust combination of business and consumer data, lookalike models can help you identify your best customers’ most common attributes and create an accurate profile of your best prospects, thus allowing you to create highly targeted campaigns, lower acquisition costs, and boost campaign ROI.

If you’re trying to sell factory equipment, for instance, wouldn’t it be nice to know that even though most of your top customers are in the mid-atlantic region, there’s a factory just north of St. Louis in the same industry, with the same size company and the same purchase history as your current best customers?

3. Don’t forget to use intent data to find in-market accounts who need you.

Intent data can help indicate how close a potential customer is to purchasing. Let’s say you sell bottled water. It’s a hot day and there are runners in the park. You can see which runners have a water bottle with them and which ones don’t. Don’t waste time on prospects that don’t play a role in the buying decision or aren’t likely to convert–focus on those who need what you have. Focus on the runners who need water now.

Intent data uses predictive analytics to help companies target prospects who are actively researching products in your category. Data Axle’s intent data works by creating Account Based Marketing (ABM) lists that include active buying signals based on search topics which indicate an even greater likelihood that the prospect is ready to purchase.

4. When you’ve identified key stakeholders, create authentic connections.

Businesses are made up of people, and they’re surrounded by people, too. You’ve identified your top customers, you’ve dug deep into the people who make up their company. Now you can look for the individuals in other companies who need your product to do their job well, grow the business and accomplish their goals.

Data Axle’s B2C Link helps B2B companies unify consumer and business data into a single profile. Adding details like demographics and  psychographics (interests, values) to the individual’s business profile, you can get a more complete view of the stakeholder’s wants, needs and inclinations. Do they find business connections on LinkedIn? Do they go to business conventions? Are they constantly hustling and not fazed by evening contact? Maybe you can create a special incentive for them that’s displayed in areas they’re likely to be.

5. Purchase decisions are more often made by groups, not individuals.

You’ve identified one person in the company who’s likely to make a purchasing decision, but it’s probably not only up to them. That’s why identifying multiple people and working to create connections with the group will help the group make a unified decision on your product.

For instance, NewVoiceMedia, a cloud services company, looked to expand the shareholders they targeted to expand the network. They built buyer groups using data, and then personalized their messages and sales outreach. This allowed them to gain more traction and reach more people inside each target account. They created more substantial relationships with multiple decision makers. They saw an 80% increase in win rates and 30% increase in deal size.

NewVoice Media examples of personalized messages and sales outreach

6. Use what you know to create relevant content, engaging content.

Now that you know the network of people you’re trying to target, what they respond well to, what factors make up their decision and where they are in their buying cycle, you can create smart content.

  • Think about where they are in their buying cycle. Too close to purchase and they’ve already made up their mind about someone else. Too far away and it’s not even on their radar.
  • Think about who they are, their job title, role and level, so you can use messaging aimed at different authority levels and goals.
  • Think about their business. Analyze firmographics like industry, size, business model, and revenue so you can predict their unique challenges. A small start up will have different needs than a large, established player.
  • And finally, think about their personal needs, interests and values so you can direct your messaging to them in a way that they’ll respond.

7. Send your content to the right people at the right place and right time.

With a good targeting strategy, B2B marketers can boost conversion rates.

B2B marketers pointed to video marketing (38%), new social platforms (37%), and automation & data science (36%) as some of the most important trends they’re prioritizing in 2022, but only 27% of executives are focused on video marketing. When you know where your targeted stakeholder will be, you can put the right content in front of them, and more and more people are engaging in video content.

With the right targeting strategy, B2B marketers can boost conversion rates, like according to Aberdeen, targeting users with relevant content yields 73% higher conversion rates.

Work Smarter, Not Harder.

B2B Marketing is tough, especially when you’re trying to connect to a hundred thousand people out of a billion. Instead, start sorting through your current customers to find better ways to identify new ones.

Data Axle can help you increase the quality of your leads. Check out our B2B marketing options.

Ken Stout
Ken Stout
Senior Vice President

Ken Stout is Senior Vice President at Data Axle, a leading provider of data and real-time business intelligence solutions for enterprise, small business, nonprofit and political organizations. He has also held executive roles at companies such as True Influence, QuinStreet, IT Business Edge, GameSpy Industries, CNET Networks/TechRepublic, CMP Media/Miller Freeman and Colgate Palmolive Co.