All companies seriously engaged in online lead generation marketing want to know the marketing source of every website form submission and phone inquiry. Without that data, they cannot even begin to assess the effectiveness of their campaigns or implement A/B split tests to improve them.

However, conversion data alone is woefully inadequate for these two purposes. To really understand conversion data and render it maximally useful, a company must use lead validation to separate sales leads from non-lead conversions. Lead validation is accomplished by reading all form submissions and listening to recordings of phone inquiries. Labor intensive? Perhaps, but critically important.

How important is lead validation? SEO company Straight North learned, after validating more than 600,000 conversions from its client marketing campaigns, that about half of these conversions were something other than leads. Non-leads consist of things such as misdials, incomplete forms, sales solicitations, customer service inquiries, spam and inquiries for the wrong product or service.

Clearly, campaign evaluations and testing based on murky conversion data cannot lead to clear decisions. The slide presentation below, The Critical Importance of Lead Validation in Internet Marketing, is an in-depth discussion of lead validation, important data points for lead generation marketers, and how marketers can use this data to bring substantial improvements to their websites and campaigns.

Author, Brad Shorr:
With more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing and executive management, Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, a B2B SEO, PPC and website design company in Chicago. His articles have been featured on scores of leading online publications including Moz, Forbes and Smashing Magazine.
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