Poor data quality can lead to low conversion rates.  However, improving data quality is rarely a priority. In a recent AdWeek article[1], Richard Joyce, a senior analyst at Forrester, estimated that as much as 42 percent of advertising and marketing budgets are allocated to some form of technology, but data quality is often overlooked.

To effectively manage data quality, it is important to first have a clear definition of a qualified sales lead that is used across both sales and marketing. 

Qualification Levels at a Glance:

 BQL: These are one-click download leads generated via an email campaign/effort. Also known as (BCL) or basic email leads. 

 MQL: These are engaged leads that have been qualified by marketing. They’ve performed certain actions (i.e., registered for a webinar, downloaded an eBook, etc.) and, therefore, are considered more likely to become a customer.

 SAL: MQL leads that have passed through marketing and onto sales and have been deemed by sales as ready for follow up are Sales Accepted Leads. These are also called High Qualified Leads (HQL).

 SQL: These vetted leads have displayed an intent to buy and they fit your pre-determined criteria for a high quality lead including, but not limited to, meeting your marketing agreed target industry, buyer persona/job function, company size, intent, competitive target and have answered additional qualifying questions required by sales.

 Lead scoring is essentially a tracking system for the marketing. This technique assigns each lead a point value based on pre-determined criteria. The stronger the lead, the higher the score. It enables companies to look at their leads and understand whether they are the proper fit (explicit) and/or are demonstrating the ideal level of intent (implicit).

 Examples of explicit criteria include industry, title and role, and location. Examples of intent criteria include downloaded content, signed up for a newsletter or attended a webinar.

 U.S. companies marketing to European prospects need to pay close attention to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, effective May 2018. Lead scoring falls under the category of “data profiling,” according to the GDPR. If your company is impacted by GDPR, this means that, in order to continue to use your lead scoring model on prospects, you must seek explicit permission from the prospect to process their data in this manner before any lead scoring occurs.[2]

A survey found that 33 percent of business leaders and marketers expect their lead conversion rates to go down as a result of GDPR.[3]

Cleanse Your Data

Consider this: Contact data expires at a rate of 32% per year.[4] Implementing a regular data cleansing process has always been essential for a more effective marketing strategy but with GDPR, which aims to strengthen the security and protection of EU residents’ personal data, dirty data becomes a liability for those companies (including U.S.-based companies) subject to comply with the initiative.

Gathering permission from data subjects is perhaps the most important step in preparing for the GDPR. Organizations cannot maintain GDPR compliance without a consistently clean database.

 Review Your Data Management Process: The more touch points you have that handle data, the more likely you are to incur duplicate contacts or data errors. To work toward a consistently clean database, first identify all of the ways your organization collects and inputs new customer data.

Consider a single customer view (SCV): A single customer view eliminates the possibility of mix-ups when working in different systems. Data in multiple systems often results in duplicate data both within a system and between systems.

Merge and Purge Duplicates: With the implementation of the GDPR, duplicates go from being a nuisance to being a liability.  Alerts can be set-up to notify you of potential duplicates

Implement a Regular Data-Cleansing Process: This is critical for keeping your data fresh and up-to-date on an ongoing basis.

Rely on First-Party Data

Data that is collected from your own audience and customers, which is also known as first-party data, is the gold standard. Taking control of your company’s first-party data should be a priority.[5]

First-party data is yours. It’s your subscription data, social data, data from behaviors and actions demonstrated across your Website(s), etc., and it is considered the most valuable because of its quality. Plus, it’s available to you for free.


Click Here to download the complete B2B Lead Program Success:  Setting Expectations, Data Hygiene, Lead Scoring and Nurturing and Conversions. 


[1] Sparrer, C. (2017, August 25). The ROI of Data Quality in Your Digital Advertising. AdWeek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/digital/869951/

[2] Marketing Automation Hazards to Avoid during GDPR Preparation. (2018, February 09). Retrieved from https://synthio.com/b2b-blog/marketing-automation-hazards-to-avoid-during-gdpr-preparation/

[3] An, Mimi. “The General Data Protection Regulation Is Coming.” HubSpot Research, research.hubspot.com/general-data-protection-regulation?_ga=2.180784359.1726517347.1523445896-1500539119.1487311479.

[4] Data Cleansing Checklist for the GDPR (Rep.). (2018, February). Retrieved https://content.synthio.com/rs/333-QOT-660/images/Data%20Cleansing%20GDPR%20Checklist%20FINAL.pdf?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWVRFeE56YzJNamd6WWpBMyIsInQiOiJRQVV0ZDc4UkdcL2pNNlwvK0RMWFpRWTUwQndMNVc3MllcLzRZM0x3UmlzTUtjWlZsWk5XYitFSStuMnVUNVhQdFVoUFJVcm84S2k5cnk4OVwvdWx3a0NldEJxbTBcL0hBZ28xY25PSlVla29sMTB1ZytHaWZKblc0UFFjbmhHRUJFZjBLIn0%3D

[5] 1st Party Data, 2nd Party Data, and 3rd Party Data. (2018, February 06). Retrieved from https://www.lotame.com/1st-party-2nd-party-3rd-party-data-what-does-it-all-mean/