Industrial Sales

Lead validation: Trust but verify the information

The best way of lead validation is tapping multiple sources who can confirm the answers, you have received during lead qualification investigation.

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Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” While his warning applied to nuclear disarmament, it works equally well for lead validation because;

  • Not all information is correct
  • Multiple versions of the truth can exist (ask three executives about their company’s strategy, and you’ll get four opinions)
  • Things change

What is lead validation?

Lead validation is the practice of determining the value of the leads you create and assigning a score to them (lead scoring).

Lead qualification and validation are different activities. Lead validation entails differentiating sales leads from non-sales leads. Marketing generates a variety of various types of leads that have little or no bearing on sales.

This includes customer support calls, job application inquiries, and spam communications that pass your lead scoring standards but remain unqualified leads.

Lead validation process enables you to reliably track qualified leads generated through channels such as social media, pay-per-click, advertising, industry directories and search engine optimization.

What makes the lead validation so important?

Designing and implementing a B2B marketing plan takes a significant amount of time, budget, and energy. These efforts may become unproductive and unregulated if you are not monitoring ROI to determine the value of your efforts.

Measuring the efficiency of your B2B marketing activities can also assist you in making required adjustments to your approach. B2B marketing trends change rapidly, and it’s frequently important to pivot in response to changes in social and economic conditions, and industry dynamics.

Lead validation directly affects the marketing performance

If the marketing ROI and likely cost per lead estimations are predicated on lead generation information that is less than 50% accurate, inefficient customer acquisition results are nearly likely.

B2B marketers who implement an efficient lead validation process will be able to determine the source of each qualified lead and the percentage of SQL leads (Sales Qualified Lead). These marketers can then compute an actual cost per lead, rather than a cost per lead conversion.

Lead analysis through validation enables more accurate decision-making and adjustment based on data that connects leads to marketing performance indicators. Lead validation enables us to effectively connect the dots in order to optimize marketing efforts and ROI.

How to verify sales leads?

  1. What is the best way of lead validation?
    By tapping multiple sources who can confirm the answers, you have received.
  2. What information should be validated?
    Anything that could jeopardize the achievement of a sales goal if the information is wrong.

Five key pieces of information for an accurate lead validation process

  1. Strategy and business drivers for an enterprise’s resource commitments
  2. Business impact of a specific problem or strategic initiative
  3. Names of individuals having decision rights for your product or service
  4. Governance rules and processes
  5. Steps and timeframe involved for obtaining purchase document

 

Here are some simple ways to validate facts of a lead

Always compare fact 1 from source 1 to fact 1 from source 2. Access to an organization’s social network is key in order to validate the information. Limited access equals high risk; more comprehensive access equals lower risk.

Ask the same individual for the same information using a different question, and compare the answers. This can be handled in the same meeting or over time.

Compare intent to past actions. This method of validation can be most revealing. For example, if a CFO says, “Our strategy is to be the low-cost producer in our industry.” Yet, you discover no evidence of an investment that supports that objective; a possible factual disconnect has been uncovered.

Or, if a Senior VP of Operations says, “Your solution is the one we’re recommending.” Still, he postponed your last two planned meetings, hasn’t returned a phone call in the previous 30 days and didn’t contact the customer references he requested. A risk condition has been exposed.

sales and marketing teams should cooperate in lead validation process

Misinformation happens during lead validation

Similar to the more famous saying, misinformation happens. While sales prevarications are almost cliche, the painful truth is that prospective customers do provide misleading information to salespeople – sometimes intentionally.

In case of inadvertent misinformation, the use of common lead validation questions on key topics can expose and correct anomalies. However, when an intentional misrepresentation of information is revealed, a key decision milestone must be addressed: continue engaging or bailout.

Questions to ask to avoid misinformation

No worthwhile business objective is served when either party purposefully misrepresents facts. In this environment, trust breaks down, and the likelihood of a successful outcome evaporates.

Questions to ask: What is the magnitude of the misrepresentation? What was the purpose? What will be the likely outcome if I continue allocating sales resources? What will be the value of our vendor/client relationship if we ultimately win? Could we experience a “winner’s curse?” If we do our best, could the relationship be sustainable?

Like other sales prospecting decisions, customer validation should not be considered when goals are unachievable or adverse outcomes are inevitable.

Questions not to ask

Some say “the only bad question is the question not asked,” but some questions are inappropriate. At the top of the list are questions that violate a company’s explicit or implicit rules of engagement.

For example, some companies expressly prohibit sharing a competitor’s proposal or pricing information, so asking to see that information would be out of bounds. Walking on the correct side of the ethical road boils down to goals: it’s easier to follow the right path when both the vendor and the customer share the same goals.

customer validation questions

Tips and techniques for lead validation

  1. Restate points you want to make as questions.
    Telling is not selling! For example, instead of saying, “We provide 100% uptime through our cloud-based CRM solution,” ask, “What would having 100% uptime mean for achieving your corporate strategy?”
  2. Integrate knowledge and insights into your lead validation questions.
    For example, instead of asking, “What other divisions in your company might benefit from our industrial automation system?” ask, “We jointly projected a 25% internal rate of return from deploying our solution in your division. Are there other divisions you feel that could similarly benefit?” Or instead of asking, “What do you expect will be your top automation investments for the coming fiscal year?” ask, “Based on Mr. Bailey’s Letter to Shareholders for 2021, we understand that your top strategic initiatives are X, Y, and Z. Could you share with me how these will influence your automation investments?”
  3. Use information milestones as criteria for a prospect’s stage in the sales process.
    For example, no account should enter the “close” phase unless the answer to the questions “What are the steps for purchasing my product?” and “Who will be involved in the procurement process?” are known and validated.
  4. Ask open-ended lead validation questions when possible.
    For example, the question “could you explain your perspectives on the top challenges your company will face in the next three years?” can yield more information and insight than questions such as “How many orders does company X process in a typical day?” Both open-ended and closed-ended questions need to be asked throughout the lead validation process, but the majority should be open-ended.
  5. Review and update your initial lead validation questions at least once a month.
    In particular, check for alignment with your company objectives and target markets.
  6. Focus on identifying what you don’t know.
    Determine if the missing information is consequential, and converting the missing information into facts. Assumptions and guessing create risk.
  7. Listen to professional interviewers.
    Listen to them to gain additional lead validation and qualification skills.
  8. Expect to receive incorrect information.
    Know how to expose it and act on it quickly.
customer qualification from sales prospects

In conclusion, benefits of lead validation

There are numerous advantages to lead validation. To begin, it increases your sales team’s efficiency by eliminating time spent on non-sales leads. Sales representatives can devote 100% of their efforts to following up on verified leads, which eventually results in more accomplished sales due to their focus not being divided or valuable time being squandered.

As a result, a startling increase in sales revenue is realized simply by dismissing non-sales leads from the beginning.

Additionally, validating leads enables you to strike while the opportunity is hot, rather than waiting for a lead to cool. When sales representatives are aware they have a hot lead, they are frequently more ready to follow up, which is why sales revenue frequently increases.

Simple terms, lead validation can assist you in cultivating an enthusiastic and productive sales team.

Specific and effective B2B marketing plans

Lead validation has a number of advantages that extend beyond sales. Additionally, there are advantages for your B2B marketing team. When you’re able to pinpoint precisely what works and what doesn’t, your marketing initiatives will become more specific and effective. As previously said, marketing trends are ever-changing.

As a result, B2B marketers should be scrutinized using real-world data. The finest marketing decisions and those in every other area of an organization are data-driven.