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There is no doubt that lead generation is not without its share of challenges. B2B campaigns especially need to align marketing and sales goals in a way that reduces friction points throughout the funnel, in order to bring leads home, hopefully, to convert.
What happens when there are issues at any point along the journey, though? And, what happens where there are inefficiencies and issues right at the very top of the funnel? Problems at the top of the funnel can end up causing far more damage than you may realise, affecting not only your entire funnel but also your overall results.
A recent report published by Integrate showed that a staggering 35-45% of top-funnel leads are unmarketable. This report analysed over three million B2B leaders between September 2016 and August 2017. The results of this analysis revealed just how much impact top of funnel leads can have on entire campaigns. From this report, 33.4% of top-funnel leads were duplicates, over 10% contained invalid data and many were not captured in a way that complied with local regulations or laws.
How do these inefficiencies impact lead generation results? Let’s take a look.
Wasted time and resources
Automation has simplified the lead generation and nurturing process significantly. The danger in automating bad data is that it ends up wasting a great deal of time and resources trying to separate the genuine leads from the duplicate leads, incorrect leads and other problem leads.
When problems happen during the lead capturing process, bad leads can all too easily slip through the cracks. Even a handful of bad leads that somehow make their way down the funnel can end up wasting a great deal of time and effort when sales are not able to bring them home.
Inaccurate lead scores
Early problems in the funnel can also have a knock-on effect on lead scoring. Leads that appear valid and warm are pushed forward through the funnel, only to end up as duds as they get to the bottom of the funnel. Duplicate leads can end up causing inaccurate lead scores, especially when they are difficult to spot. Incomplete leads can be just as damaging if they are not caught early.
When leads are not scored correctly, sales teams end up paying the price, along with your brand reputation.
Overall funnel issues
Bad leads end up putting the entire funnel at risk, causing problems at every point along the way. For example, dirty data can affect lead nurturing efforts as leads move from awareness stage to interest stage. When bad leads somehow manage to make their way through the funnel, they cause inaccurate data and reporting, which, in turn, can easily throw off entire campaigns. It becomes far harder to create accurate lead profiles, too.
The simplest way to ensure that your funnel stays in order from the top down is to take the time to regularly clean and monitor your funnels. Whether doing this manually or investing in tools to keep data clean, a little bit of effort at the start can save you plenty of headaches further down the line.