How to automate lead enrichment
This post covers how to automate the esssential lead lifecycle process of lead enrichment. It's a part of a series on integrating and automating lead management. Learn how to accelerate lead management across the full lead lifecycle here.
Lead enrichment: The key to clean, reliable data that means more wins
Lead enrichment is an important step in the lead management process across the full marketing lifecycle for leads, which includes lead uploads, lead-to-account matching, lead routing, and follow-up. If you’ve ever reviewed a list of your company’s leads after a campaign, you’ve probably seen the telltale gaps in lead details - first name, last name, company name, phone number, company size, address, or any other fields you need to qualify and route leads according to your business priorities/rules.
You can’t just ignore those incomplete or unenriched leads. They cost your business time and money to capture. And they could still become high-value opportunities. But you can’t act on them if they’re missing important data. To make matters more challenging, anywhere from 20-25% of your contact database decays every year. Why? People who have engaged with your company may change jobs. Their company may move. And so on. Not having fully-formed lead data can slow, if not completely halt, your ability to follow up with valuable leads. (This is part of the reason bad data costs companies an estimated $3 trillion annually in the US.)
Your options: Use a variety of lead enrichment solutions and/or manual data enrichment
To state the obvious, it’s not practical to attempt to manually enrich your own leads yourself. It’s a time-consuming process that would require you to play detective, scouring company websites, Google, and individual LinkedIn and social media profiles.
- Lead enrichment solutions: Excellent tools such as Clearbit, Datafox, DiscoverOrg, and D&B Optimizer use sophisticated software to tackle this problem, matching leads based on email domain, company name, and other information. Research suggests that 90% of companies use at least two different enrichment providers since each vendor has a unique dataset.
- Manual lead enrichment: Another common practice for marketers is to utilize a manual lead enrichment service, paying human researchers around the globe to fill in the gaps that your enrichment solutions couldn’t match.
So, getting your incomplete leads enriched tends to be a matter of using a lead enrichment solution, manual lead enrichment, or both. Seems simple enough.
But lead enrichment poses another challenge that isn’t as easy to deal with.
How to flow enriched lead data to the rest of your stack
There’s still the matter of getting those enriched leads back out to the rest of your marketing and revenue apps.
You need to flow those enriched leads into your marketing automation platform (MAP) for follow-up campaigns into your CRM for sales record-keeping, to your messaging platform to ensure customer conversations are based on up-to-date data, and to many other destinations within your tech stack.
Traditionally, there have only been two ways to get them there:
Native integrations - Typically, you’d need an integration - a data connection between your enrichment tools and other apps - to move enriched leads across other apps. Most enrichment tools have native integrations - pre-built, out-of-the-box connections - to popular software apps. While these can be useful, they often lack the custom functionality you need for tasks specific to your business, like mapping data to custom fields. Also, there probably won’t be native integrations for all the apps in your stack. Which means you’re left with...
Manual work - If you don’t have a customized integration from your enrichment tool to every other app that needs enriched leads, you’re looking at a much less fun alternative. That’s right, manually importing spreadsheets, a time-consuming and error-prone process. And as we mentioned in our earlier article about lead management, taking longer to follow up with leads drastically reduces your chances to convert them.
Fortunately, there’s a better way.
Flow enriched lead data directly to other apps with a General Automation Platform
Rapidly-growing companies all over the world are leaving behind the hours of manually copy-pasting data, and the struggle to get out-of-the-box integrations to do what they need. They’re using new technology, a General Automation Platform (GAP), which:
- Deeply integrates cloud-based apps (including data enrichment services) at the API level: Adoption of cloud-based apps will only increase, with more than 70% of organizations already using them. Yet the most important concern for marketers in North America continues to be siloed data - data locked up within individual apps and departments. A GAP connects cloud apps to freely flow any data - including enriched leads - among all your apps.
- Automates processes among cloud apps: In addition to connecting apps to flow data among them, GAPs also give users the ability to create automated workflows - processes that the platform automatically carries out at pre-set intervals or on-demand. The best GAPs feature flexible operators such as loops, Boolean if/then logic, and a variety of advanced helpers so that you can create sophisticated workflows that automate away the tedious manual work.
- Is easy to use for anyone: GAPs are sophisticated enough to offer the customization of scripting and coding without actually requiring you to write a line of code. A GAP has a user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface that lets any business user build out automated processes in minutes, not months.
Let’s see how this works in practice.
Example use case: Enriching Intercom users in bulk with Clearbit
The messaging platform Intercom is handy for interacting immediately with both customers and prospects. But all customer messaging is most effective when you’re working from refreshed, enriched data that’s up to date. With a General Automation Platform, it’s possible to pull in a list of all people you’ve engaged with in Intercom, enrich their lead data as needed, then update leads in Intercom to ensure your lead data is in sync even within your messaging platform. Here’s how.
Part I: Inventory of messaging platform users
Here’s the first part of an automated workflow in a GAP that automates the syncing of enriched leads to a messaging platform, in this case, Intercom:
- Manual Trigger: The process starts with an on-demand trigger to kick off the initial steps to pull all existing Intercom leads for enrichment. (Note: With a General Automation Platform, this could just as easily be a scheduled trigger that runs this update on a monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly basis.)
- Intercom - count users: The next operation reaches into the integrated Intercom instance and pulls up a list of the total number of all leads in Intercom.
Part II: Confirming enrichment status
The second part of this automated workflow pulls up the leads from Intercom and ascertains whether they’ve already been enriched.
- Intercom - list users: This operation pulls up the full list of leads currently in Intercom.
- Loop helper: This loop helper iteratively checks each user that this automated workflow has found in Intercom for updated, enriched info.
- Object helper: This step ascertains whether the lead contains email and other enrichment information.
- Boolean if/then helper: This step then starts a follow-up loop for Intercom leads that are, in fact, missing lead data. If the loop ascertains that a lead is missing data, it passes that lead to the next step to be enriched. (If the lead is already enriched, the process more or less ends here.)
Part III: Enrich leads with Clearbit and update within Intercom
The final leg of our automated workflow enriches any leads that need it, then updates the enriched leads in Intercom.
- Clearbit - Get enrichment info: For any leads found to be “true” (not enriched), the workflow pulls up all relevant company info (including company, location, company website URL, and any missing contact information) to append as needed.
- Get attributes: This helper compares the missing attributes between the previous lead info in Intercom and the enriched data available in Clearbit and fills in the gaps.
- Intercom - update user: The final step in this process then flows any updated leads directly into Intercom to update them within the Intercom instance.
You can create a workflow like this in minutes, by dragging and dropping appropriate connectors together and linking them with logical operators that loop or set up if/then relationships. The workflow runs in minutes - rapidly enriching and syncing all Intercom leads on the spot.
Fast-growing companies are already using General Automation Platforms for data enrichment and other important business needs. Read how AdRoll uses Tray.io and Clearbit for lead enrichment and de-duping for thousands of leads to save hours of manual work.
To see a General Automation Platform in action, join a weekly group demo. For more reading on how a GAP can streamline the lead lifecycle, check out these follow-up posts: