There has always been a tradeoff between how much information a website visitor is asked for when they fill in a form and the likelihood of the site visitor actually submitting the form or “converting” in marketing speak.
In general, the fewer fields that a site visitor is asked to fill in, the higher the visitor-to-lead conversion rate. So, how can you ask visitors for less information on your landing pages and other places that your forms live — and then make up for more scant visitor-supplied data after the fact? For that matter, how can you enrich leads regardless of the source?
One way is to enrich leads after the fact using a category of product known as “sales intelligence”. Two popular brands in this category are InsideView and Data.com. Data.com is owned by salesforce.com. InsideView has a close relationship with Microsoft.
Other well regarded sales intelligence tools include DiscoverOrg, Lead411 and RainKing.
Update: in the time since we published this post, SugarCRM has introduced Hint. SugarCRM is marketing it as, “A Revolutionary Relationship Intelligence Service.”
Generally speaking, sales or relationship intelligence applications automatically scour the internet for information about people and companies from thousands of data sources and build their internal databases. InsideView, for example, uses sources such as Reuters, Capital IQ, Netprospex and Cortera for firmographic information. Data.com’s contact information is crowd-sourced.
Some sales intelligence companies use human reviewers to make the information even more accurate. DiscoverOrg says on their website that their datasets “contain human-verified data by our team of 250+ researchers.”
Sales intelligence systems can integrate with both CRM systems and marketing automation systems.
With an integrated sales intelligence system, CRM users or marketing automation users can enrich lead records with only point and click. Through a stare and compare screen, a user can visually select the data elements that they want from the sales intelligence database.
Here’s the “stare and compare” view of InsideView integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. In this case the MS CRM lead record is directly updated from InsideView data. The stare and compare window for updating a Salesforce lead record is almost identical.
Here is the stare and compare view of Data.com within Pardot. The Pardot prospect record is updated. This can, in turn, update the associated Salesforce record.
SugarCRM’s Hint introduces a sidebar that shows discovered information from big data sources. A user can click a button to “save all enriched data” to a Lead record.
On the Fly CRM Lead Enrichment
Another option for enriching leads is for the the enrichment to occur automatically, during web form submission or data import. With the right hooks from a CRM system or a marketing automation system to a sales intelligence system, lead enrichment can occur on the fly with no manual intervention. InsideView has several APIs including an Enrich API.
One issue with fully automating lead enrichment is that the sales intelligence systems are not 100% accurate. Also, web visitors may abbreviate their company’s name to save time on form submission, in which case a match may not occur automatically — or a false positive match may occur. A layer of administrative intervention should be considered.
CRM Lead Enrichment Accuracy
In general, limiting factors to sales intelligence application accuracy are:
- Not all information about all companies and people is available on the internet
- People move from company to company
- Companies sometimes change locations
- Companies merge and are acquired
- Company names are sometimes spelled differently by different services
However, as long as the expectation is that the data from these systems is not perfect, users should be generally satisfied with what will be a higher level of key information.
Other Applications for Sales Intelligence
Lead enrichment is only one application for this type of tool.
Sales intelligence applications can also be used to enrich Account and Contacts. These systems can be used to discover and load additional contacts from within a target organization. Sales intelligence can determine a CRM user’s LinkedIn connections to contacts within an organization.