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10 Early Warning Signals that it’s Time to Consider Working with a B2B Data Partner

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Content engagement rates dipping, website bounce rates rising and connection rates declining are all early warning signs that something isn’t working in your outbound marketing and lead generation efforts, and it’s time to take a deeper look at your data and your data provider, writes, Jeff Kostermans, Vice President of Demand Generation,  LeadGenius.

Missed sales targets, stagnant opportunities, declining MQLs ?

Sure—those are all clear signs that something isn’t connecting with your target audience. But dig a little deeper and you will reveal problems you can troubleshoot before they impact the pipeline and lower-than-expected revenue.  See if you recognize any of these —and take action to improve your outbound marketing and lead generation efforts before it’s too late.

1. Content engagement rates are dipping

Engagement happens when your content is presented to the right people at the right time.  Personalization is a big part of this, but so is targeting and timing.  Regardless of the marketing channel (email, phone, direct mail, social, PPC etc) tailoring content to the “right” people is key.  To boost content engagement, ensure you are acting on the right data points and signals.

2. Website visitor bounce rates are rising

When too many of your website visitors are checking out one page and then going elsewhere, your content could be the issue.  But it’s more likely that you are attracting the wrong personas to your website.  Revisit your ICP (ideal customer profile) and see if it aligns to the contacts you are reaching out to and driving to your website.

Also Read: It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Data: Get Started with These 3 Steps

3. Connection rates are declining

Consider tracking “connection rates” as an intermediate stage between SAL (sales accepted lead) and SQL (sales qualified lead).  Defined as positive bi-directional communication between the rep and prospect, connection rates are a good early indicator of data quality.  When connection rates decrease there are many things to look at including individual rep performance, but data quality should be at the top of the list.  Does the sales team have accurate phone numbers?  Is the data for other channels accurate?

4. Internal teams are spending too much time researching

When connection rates are declining, take a look at the calling and emailing metrics of your inside sales team or customer success team.  Speak with the team members and understand why they may be spending way too much time researching or validating data before reaching out.  Consider working with a firm that specializes in sourcing the actionable and difficult-to-source data points at scale so that callers can focus on what they do best.

5. Sales stage conversion timeframes are not getting shorter

Velocity or progression through sales stages can be accelerated when data is accurate and swiftly acted on.  Take a look at new data entering your CRM or marketing automation solution.  Is it being acted on quickly and correctly or does it tend to languish?  Is there a bias towards not acting on it from the sales team?

If so, find out why.

Also Read: How to Select a B2B Data Provider

6. More prospects are already very familiar with your competitors

You have to assume your direct competitors are doing all they can to reach the same target audience. When fresh and accurate data enters your CRM and is not acted on, it’s time to look at process and measurement improvements that help you foster prospect relationships faster than the competition.   A consultative B2B data partner that actually implements a data strategy vs selling a bucket of data can help you quickly get coverage within target accounts so you can shape the buying criteria before your competition does.

7. Expansion into new regions/countries is slowing

Before opening an office in a new region or country, companies often place reps in those locations to prime the territory.  Firms needing to rapidly expand into new regions provide new territory builders with a sustainable data strategy built on a comprehensive ICP and TAM analysis that reveals a realistic plan for success.   It’s quite common to hire a data service overseas and underestimate the management load required to keep it productive over the long haul.   As hands-on management of data projects wanes, so do results, which is another sign to consider working with a B2B data provider specialized in penetrating foreign markets with language-tailored technology and speaking skills.

8. Intent signals are not being acted on

Intent signals have risen in popularity recently.  Now there are plenty of signals that intent vendors collect that “could” indicate real interest – but ask any B2B salesperson if content interest is enough and you’ll hear that interest needs to be accompanied with fit and opportunity.  To avoid false positives, intent signals from third-party content categories must be strengthened with direct engagement and data or changing attribute signals.  As sales teams’ enthusiasm for acting on intent signals slips, it’s time to work with a B2B data provider that acts on signals that are strong enough to justify and trigger custom data curation workflows and human data validation.

Also Read: Five Steps to Ensure a Successful ABM Campaign

9. The funnel is becoming less predictable

If your lead projection numbers are consistently off target (either positively or negatively), it’s time to pinpoint why. The same applies to your CPL (cost per lead) or better yet your cost per opportunity.  Investing more into demand generation or boosting sales headcount should not be done without a close re-examination of your data gaps.  A consultative B2B data provider should work with you in the planning stages of campaigns vs simply as a provider of data before campaigns launch.  You’ll know you are working with a strategic partner when they proactively understand your goals, seek to uncover and fill your data gaps, and partners with you to put measurement in place that reveals the early warning signals.

10. Your data provider only calls to renew your subscription

It’s clearly a sign to consider working with a strategic data partner when your current data provider is calling only because they know your budget cycles, not because they have new insights, strategies, or best practices. Expect your data partner to meet regularly with you to review progress, help you measure the performance of your data, and explore new data points and processes that give you a sustained competitive advantage.

There’s so much that needs to go right in order to drive a strong performing B2B funnel.  The investment in product, positioning, content, sales talent etc. should not be compromised with poor data.  If just one or two of these early warning signs pop onto your radar, data may not necessarily be the culprit.  But if you see more early warning signals impacting your funnel, it may be time to work with strategic B2B data provider.

This article was originally posted on – https://www.martechadvisor.com/articles/marketing-analytics/10-early-warning-signals-that-its-time-to-consider-working-with-a-b2b-data-partner/


Mark Halstead

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