Demand Generation
How to Use Data to Make Your Lead Generation More Effective

How to Use Data to Make Your Lead Generation More Effective

July 21, 2020
5 min read

Data is truly king in today’s content-driven world. Businesses rely on it to support marketing strategies, target their customers, make smarter business decisions, and predict future outcomes.

One of the greatest things about becoming a data-driven business is that it can make incredible improvements from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel – and lead generation is no exception here.

A LinkedIn report on B2B lead generation found that funneling in quality leads is a top priority for 68% of B2B organizations. It’s the top challenge for 59% of marketers as well.

What’s more, the second and third biggest barriers to lead generation are due to a lack of data as well.

lead generation


Therefore, using data to research and reach your audience, identify prospects, and generate leads is a no-brainer for any B2B organization today. However, this is by no means an easy task. “Data-driven” strategy is little more than a buzzword that is often thrown around or tacked onto SaaS tools with little more to it than a marketing ploy.

Without a doubt, data needs to play a key role in your company’s lead generation strategy if you’re going to be truly successful in making sales. So how can you be sure that you are not only gathering high-quality data but also using it effectively to its fullest extent?

1. Use CRM Data for Lead Scoring

Most businesses get so caught up in trying to boost the number of leads they are generating that they fail to notice a much more important metric: the relevancy of these leads. Even if you’re funneling in a hundred more leads a day, if very few of them are interested or have the propensity to convert, then it could be a colossal waste of your team’s time and efforts. A data-driven lead generation process has a single goal: to increase the number of leads that move to the next stage.

For example, better top-of-the-funnel data is the key to generating better quality leads at the outset. In order to collect enough behavioral data to create an accurate scoring system, be sure that your marketing and sales departments are using a smart, automated (preferably AI-based) CRM system that keeps track of all past customer interactions and movements. You want to be able to identify patterns that indicate qualified leads so that your team’s efforts to convert them can be more strategic.

A smart CRM can use data from past consumer behavior to predict the current likelihood of conversions. For example, if 45% of leads that download your business’s white paper eventually convert, then a future lead that follows the same behavior pattern should deserve more attention from your sales team.

This brings us to the importance of the latest technological developments in martech.

2. Make Technology Your Friend

The only way that you can be absolutely sure that your generation strategies are effectively data-driven is ensuring that your data is truly accurate.

The quality of your data is also incredibly crucial. Here, artificial intelligence (AI) based systems can be incredibly useful in processing huge volumes of data, verify them for accuracy, and categorizing them into workable chunks so that your team can identify specific areas or audience segments to target and nurture.

Further, the more frequently updated that your customer datasets are, the better. It is a good idea to conduct a thorough audience analysis upfront so that you’re absolutely sure of the characteristics of leads to look out for. You can do this with internal datasets and research, or using an audience segmentation and selection tool that lets you analyze, categorize, and narrow down your target audience.

AI combined with predictive technology provides businesses with a 360-degree perspective on leads, and automatically zero in on the ones with the highest propensity to buy from you. Essentially, these systems can “learn” from the past and predict audience behavior to engage relevant audiences and induce them to take actions that move them down your sales funnel.

For example, AI tool Node dives deep into massive databases, analyzes your Total Addressable Market (TAM) and uses NLP (natural language processing), identifies potential leads and assigns them to the reps who’re best suited to dealing with them for further nurturing, and also predicts renewals and churns.

Another tool, Growbots, uses a similar approach to generating leads but is more focused on social media audiences. It even creates a self-updating database with individual customer profiles and offers targeted, automated, and personalized email campaigns (with follow-ups) for lead nurturing.

3. Personalize the Lead Nurturing Process

Personalization is the epitome of data-driven marketing and an emotion and empathy-based approach to engaging your audience. It is a highly effective approach to both lead generation and nurturing because of the profound effect it has on consumers. In fact, a study by Epsilon found that 4 in 5 customers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences or messaging.

In order to attract new leads with personalization, you will first need to have a solid understanding of your core audience and their typical motivations (price, quality, benefits, and so on). But also remember that not every customer is going to follow the same path down the buyer’s journey. For instance, a customer that arrives to your site via an organic search may prefer different content than one that is referred from another client or who clicks on a paid ad.

The best way to make a personalized lead generation strategy possible is by creating buyer journey maps that are founded on past data. Analyze your website’s content and see which pages are driving in converting traffic. This will help you understand which specific marketing strategies help nudge customers from different sources on to the next phase. You can then create an automated trigger-based campaigns that nurture leads by sending them personalized content based on their past interactions and browsing behavior.

More Data, More Leads; Better Data, Better Leads

A data-driven lead generation approach is really the only way for modern businesses to go if they want to stay competitive. But the key to making it truly effective is knowing not just how to gather this data, but also to apply it.

Be sure that no matter what, your team is using systems that are gathering, analyzing and nurturing leads based on accurate, updated information so that no opportunities are slipping through the cracks. A simple guide to follow would be:

  1. Understanding your audience and knowing what can make them buy from you
  2. Constantly experimenting with different tools and technology that might help you reach a wider audience and target the best prospects
  3. Personalizing your messaging to every customer with content that is relevant and contextual to their situation

What data do you use for targeting and lead generation? Does your CRM provide you with better data that improves the quality of your leads? How do you personalize your content? Let’s discuss strategies in the comments!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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