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What Is Lead Data? A Comprehensive Guide

Nov 29, 2021 | 8 minutes

With aggressive quotas to hit every month, sales teams need as many leads in their pipeline as possible.

But a pipeline that’s chock full of leads isn’t the only key to crushing a quota.

What’s just as important as the number of leads you’ve generated is the amount of information you’ve gathered on each one.

To boost the odds of selling to your prospects, it’s crucial to grasp their current context, challenges and goals, and readiness to buy. This will give your sales team the situational and self-awareness to fully understand your leads.

But what exactly is lead data and how do you collect it? Read on to find out!

What is lead data and why is it important?

Lead data is any information that paints a picture of who your leads truly are. Gathering this information gives you the context needed to fully understand their pain points and goals, their current needs, and how your solution can meet them.

Some examples of lead data include name, email address, phone number, education, industry, title, role, news about leads, purchase intent signals, point of contact, date of contact, lead score, the reason for contact, location, company size, and company news.

How can you use lead data to your advantage?

Armed with lead data, your sales team can personally connect with prospects, communicate that they “get” them, and tailor their pitches to their prospects’ specific situations, which is much more effective than going in blind when trying to make a sale.

Lead data can also help your marketing team build better campaigns. They can use it to understand your audience more deeply, create lookalike audiences on Facebook, and retarget users who have already visited your website or engaged with your content.

How do you collect lead data?

There are plenty of ways to collect lead data, but the most customer-centric methods allow prospects to proactively share their data with your company. From building forms on your website to leveraging lead data collection software, here are the most effective ways to collect lead data.

Forms on your website

Whether it’s for your email subscription, a piece of content, or a demo, the questions you ask in your forms can provide you with the information needed to paint a full picture of your leads.

Just make sure that you follow standard UI/UX best practices, like including as few form fields as possible, implementing single-column design, and ordering fields from easiest to complete to hardest. You don’t want your leads to get overwhelmed or lost while they fill out your forms.

You should also follow GDPR guidelines by ensuring that every lead has given clear consent for their data to get stored by you within the time frame and for the purposes that you originally stated.

Google Lead Form Extensions

Google Lead Form Extensions let you run targeted ad campaigns that have forms for people to submit their contact information into. You can add them to Search, Video, Discovery, and Display campaigns.

With Google Lead Form Extensions, you can also manage your leads from Google Ads. If you’d rather import your leads into your CRM to store all the information you’ve collected about your leads into a single source of truth and truly understand their current context, you have two options:

  1. Download your leads into a CSV file and then upload the file into your CRM

  2. Create a webhook integration that will automatically send your lead data into your CRM.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

On LinkedIn, you can also run targeted ad campaigns for an offer and, for anyone who downloads it, the platform will pre-fill your form with their professional information, such as their name, contact information, company name, seniority, job title, and location. This removes the need for people to fill out the form, which skyrockets the odds that they’ll download the offer and convert it into a lead.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms also has a reporting dashboard where you can track your campaign’s cost per lead, lead form fill rate, and the specific audiences that you’re converting into leads so you can optimize your targeting and ad campaigns.

Additionally, with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, you can move your lead data into your CRM, marketing automation platform, or a spreadsheet using Make.

Facebook Lead Ads

Similar to LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, Facebook Lead Ads allow you to create targeted ad campaigns that will pre-populate your forms with users’ Facebook contact information. You can also sync Facebook Lead Ads to your CRM.

The main differences between the two types of ads are:

  • You can customize your questions on Facebook to get the exact information you need from your leads

  • You can retarget Facebook Lead Ads to people who have already expressed interest in your product and are, in turn, higher-quality leads.

With Make, one of the integrations that you can use with Facebook Lead Ads is automatically creating or updating a subscriber in Mailchimp whenever they fill out a Facebook Lead Ad form. This will save you the time and effort of having to download these leads into a spreadsheet and then upload them into Mailchimp.

Facebook Offline Conversions

Another lead data tool that Facebook offers, Facebook Offline Conversions bridges the gap between your customers’ exposure to marketing campaigns online and the purchases they’ve made at your store.

More specifically, the tool matches existing data from your CRM, marketing automation platform, call center technology, or point of sale system to the people who have seen and engaged with your Facebook ads. This lets you understand how your Facebook ad campaigns have influenced in-store purchases and what types of customers are shopping at your stores.

Facebook Offline Conversions’ lead data also lets you retarget your in-store customers on the social network, create lookalike audiences so you can find new shoppers who are most likely to do business with you, and optimize all of your Facebook ad campaigns.

With Make, one of the integrations that you can use with Facebook Offline Conversions is automatically converting new orders from your Shopify store to an offline event in your Facebook Offline Conversion database. This will keep your data as fresh as possible, allowing you to truly understand the impact of your ad campaigns on your store’s eCommerce purchases.

Sales Intelligence Software

Without setting up any marketing campaigns, sales intelligence software can collect lead data for you at scale. And for most sales teams, there are two main platforms that they rely on: LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Zoominfo.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator taps into the professional network’s own database of user profile data, which is obviously huge. With the tool, you can:

  • Conduct searches with advanced filters like seniority level to find decision makers at target companies

  • Get recommended leads to you based on the type of companies and decision makers that you want to target

  • Create custom lists of leads and accounts that your sales team can easily keep track of

  • Get real-time updates on your leads and accounts, like job changes and recent company growth

  • Send content campaigns through InMail and track viewer behavior and which type of content/topics your prospects are most interested in

  • Integrate your lead data with Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

With ZoomInfo, you won’t have the luxury of having access to the data of every single user in the largest professional network in the world, but the sales intelligence software can definitely hold its own.

Through a network of voluntary contributors, machine learning-driven data scraping, human researchers, and third-party expert partners, they have access to over 100 million company records, 150 million contact records, 63 million direct dials, 41 million mobile numbers, 129 million email addresses, and 4.3 million c-level contacts.

With all this data, you can:

  • Use over 300 attributes to search for companies and create a list of target accounts

  • Get access to company attribute pages, org charts, department sizes, current tech stack, previous technology history, employee and revenue growth rates, scoops, and news alerts

  • Leverage their Intent Engine, which tracks consumption patterns and buying signals across the web to pinpoint target accounts that are currently researching solutions similar to yours

  • Automatically update outdated and incomplete data in your CRM and marketing automation platform so it will always be accurate and up-to-date, regardless of where it was sourced from

5 simple tips to collect and manage lead data

Collect lead data on your own

There are countless services online that offer massive lead data sets. Don’t fall prey to them. It’s not only unethical to acquire lead data like that and make people wonder how you got their information but it’s also impossible to verify if these data sets are accurate or not.

Ask for your leads’ permission to collect their information

Ideally, your leads will submit their information to your company on their own. This will allow them to engage with your brand on their terms, which makes them more likely to enjoy interacting with you and then eventually purchase your product.

Keep your lead generation methods simple and to the point

The majority of the lead generation methods that we’ve described above involve your prospects submitting a form. Keep things simple and to the point by including as few form fields as possible and implementing an intuitive design.

Organize your lead data with the application that makes the most sense for your business

Depending on the size of your business, consider using a CRM platform, a spreadsheet, or a project management tool like Trello to organize your lead data. You’ll thank yourself in the future.

Automate lead data collection with Make

By using Make to connect the applications that we described above to a CRM platform, spreadsheet, or project management tool, you can automatically collect and organize your lead data with a click of a button.

Lead Data: The Key to Truly Understanding Your Prospects

Nowadays, you need to truly understand your prospects to have any chance of selling to them. And to truly understand your prospects, you need to have access to accurate, comprehensive lead data.

Fortunately, the most widely-used search engine, social network, and professional network all offer tools that can auto-fill lead forms with their users’ information. Sales intelligence platforms can also collect lead data at scale.

You have all the lead data you need at your fingertips. You just need to use it in the right way.

Clifford Chi profile

Clifford Chi

Content marketing writer at Make. Passionate about storytelling and creativity in B2B marketing. In my free time, I love to surf, play guitar, and watch baseball.

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