Lead Generation
8 min read

5 Reasons Human-Sourced Leads are Superior to Databases

While the promise of automation, reduced research time, and leads delivered at scale might be an appealing promise, sourcing leads from a database is also a tradeoff for many challenges delivered back to your sales program and business. Here are 5 reasons why human-sourced leads are a better for your pipeline and bottom line.
Kevin Warner
Founder & CEO
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It’s 2019 and we are smack dab in the middle of the burgeoning age of automation, big data, tech, and artificial intelligence. You can’t scroll through your LinkedIn feed without reading about how data, machines, machine learning, or AI is transforming the [fill in the blank] industry.

That and a ton of posts from Gary Vaynerchuk that make me want to stop everything I am doing and spend a full day basking in his content-pyramid genius.

Or, maybe that just reveals something about my feed algorithm? I digress.

Back to the point: business is transforming quickly due in large part to how technology and automation is changing the way we do our jobs. No profession, role, or job duty is going untouched - including of course, those within the sales and marketing departments.

And one of the biggest B2B data-disruptors in our space:
the lead database.

The promise:
a one-stop shop (subscription platform) of neatly categorized, company and contact data for any prospect you need, bypassing the extensive detective time it used to take SDRs to research prospect contact information from multiple sites and sources.

The drawback: humans move around in their jobs. A lot. Millenials will do more job hopping in their career than any other generation. Plus a ton of other stats (that we share below) highlight why the data found in databases may not exactly be the answer to time or money saved.

So while a nice, neatly categorized database powered by tech may be a helpful tool in your toolbox or a good resource for a specific moment in time, if you want to get it right, you will need a human layer to make your prospecting activities worthwhile and profitable. Even in 2019.

Here are 5 more reasons you should consider human-sourced leads superior to a straight database pull for filling your pipeline:

1 - Humans Defend Against Data Decay

Databases depend on computer code, APIs, and automation to cobble together lists from hundreds of multiple sources, collected at many different times, and with varying levels of accuracy.

It’s literally a Crock-Pot of third-party data - each database has their own unique “recipe” but really, they’re just throwing everything in from the fridge and hoping the end product comes out at least halfway decent. Kind of like my mom’s hamburger, macaroni, cheese, and whatever-decaying-veggie-that’s-in-the-drawer slow cooker casserole. There’s some decent pantry items in there, but really we are probably taking a risk with that zucchini.

Consider this about database “ingredients”:

  • According to Dun & Bradstreet, on average, every 30 minutes, 120 business addresses and 75 phone numbers change, 20 CEOs leave their jobs, and 30 new businesses are formed.

  • MarketingSherpa has reported that B2B data decays at a rate of 2.1% per month or 22.5% annually. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, some industries such as Arts, Entertainment and Recreation have a decay rate of 6.5% per month, 55% annually.

  • 21% of all CEOs change every year

  • 60% of people change job functions within their organization every year

  • 40% of email users change their email address at least once every two years

That’s a lot of rotting lead data.

With human-sourced leads, you are adding an extra layer of real-time verification to the process, defending against decayed data from entering your CRM. Using over 1000+ sources, Leadium researchers are able to verify every single data point that is delivered in your monthly lead list, in real-time, to make sure that the contact information being delivered is accurate as of right now.

2 - They Help SDRs Maximize Their Productivity

There have been many bloggers and sales-enablement wizards before us that have written on the subject of bad data - including this one from Neil Patel. And they all share the same alarming stat:

Sales departments lose approximately 550 hours per sales rep from using bad prospect data.

We want to again mention that we don’t believe lead databases contain all bad prospect data. We of course believe that using high-quality databases as a source or single tool in our human-verified lead generation process is valuable.

Where the difference lies, is that we have an entire team solely dedicated to the research and verification of the contact data that we provide. For many businesses (especially SMBs and startups) your sales development team is many times a team of 1 or 2 people.

Expecting them not not only engage with / sell to prospects PLUS clean, verify, upload into the CRM, dedupe, classify, (and more) for every lead list of 1,000+ contacts they get from a database...is setting them up for failure.

3 - They Are Customized to Your CRM

Speaking of cleaning, verifying, deduplication, and uploading leads into your CRM...human-sourced leads are already customized to your CRM. Saving your SDRs time on administrative tasks and leaving more time for selling!

During the on-boarding process at Leadium we embed with your team to understand the process and tools that you already have in place to make sure that the human-verified leads that you receive every month seamlessly integrate into your CRM.

Sourcing leads from a database, you get whatever format they choose to provide it in. Then your 1 or 2 sales team members are again taking time away from selling to re-format the list to your custom fields, removing duplicates, adding data to missing fields, and more.

It’s extremely time consuming, and quite frankly, many SDRs don’t take the time to clean the lists they receive. Which then leads to a snowball effect of building an even more dis-organized and dirty CRM. Which then leads to a frustrated sales team, lost productivity, and lost revenue.

4 - They Keep Your Company Domain Out of Spam Filters

We recently had a client come to us with a not-so-new SMB problem: they had engaged with a “reputable” lead database company to curate leads at scale. With 20K leads in hand, they created a mass email outreach campaign using a free email campaign platform and hit send.

We get it - they’re a young, scrappy business eager to get out there and selling. This was the quickest, and seemingly, most efficient way to do it.

But low and behold, the email campaign platform starts yelling at them with warning messages about abuse complaints, bounce rates, and spam-trap addresses.

So while it was not the smartest move on the client’s part to blindly trust that the data on that list was accurate and do a mass-send to all 20K emails at once - completely ignoring outbound email deliverability best practices - it was an issue that 50% of the database leads bounced and their sender score tanked.

Spam filters and ISPs are working harder than ever to reduce inbox irrelevance and it takes human skill to understand the ever-changing landscape of how to map your high-quality lead data to inboxes the right way.

Human-sourced leads are the first step to staying out of spam filters. You can move forward with outbound messaging confident that each email has been verified in real-time via multiple sources. Then, if you layer on Leadium’s best-in-class appointment setting services, you can have the confidence knowing you’re bypassing spam folders, safeguarding your domain, and getting your message into prospect inboxes.

5 - Bottom Line: They Increase Revenue

Adding up the factors above, human-sourced leads equal the highest-quality data standards resulting in the most productive sales team possible. Which of course means increased revenue.

  • Research by Experian found that businesses estimate they could increase sales by 29% if their customer data was entirely accurate.

  • Good high-quality data significantly lowers your cost per lead. MECLABS Leads Group completed an experiment with a $3.6 billion Cisco partner to test how higher cost/higher quality lead data affected the cost per lead. The result: cheap data is extremely expensive. The difference between the best and worst-performing lists was a crazy-high $581 per lead.

  • High quality data gives your business a competitive advantage. The companies that have the most accurate, high-quality data (and optimize it correctly) will gain market share quicker than their niche competitors, a recent Bain & Company survey reported.

The quality of your lead data is not something to be ignored. Even at an “early” stage of growth where you might think it’s quicker, easier, or cheaper to cut corners by downloading a giant list from a lead database. The long-term effects of developing a smart, human-centered lead generation strategy now far outweighs the fleeting, instant gratification of getting a large dump of database leads.

You can’t scroll through your LinkedIn feed without reading about how data, machines, machine learning, or AI is transforming the [fill in the blank] industry.

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