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Why we recommend “unique” lead management.

Read Time: 3 Mins

In my last post, I framed out the three main lead management approaches in B2B SaaS. If you haven’t yet read that post, read it first and then come back to this one and it will make much more sense. In this post, we focus on why Iron Horse recommends the “unique” model to the vast majority of clients. Rather than framing the benefits of this approach, let me outline the main challenges we see with point of interest (POI) and hybrid. Please view this as a general list; some of these points will be more or less pronounced depending on the marketing automation platform you’re using (Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, Act-on, Autopilot, etc.) and CRM your sales team has (Salesforce, Dynamics, Oracle Sales Cloud, GoldMine, etc.).

Data management.

Point of interest introduces a ton of duplicate records in a CRM and, though hybrid introduces substantially fewer, it still creates a large number of duplicates. This introduces an issue where it’s difficult to know which record has the most up-to-date data and to know the best way to rectify differences in data between the records. Also, the majority of marketing automation platforms take the approach that a person only exists once in the platform. As such, when two or more leads or contacts are pulled back from the CRM for the same person (think same email address) they are merged. Eloqua does this merging based on ASCIIbetical order for instance. Marketing automation platforms also write back to the CRM when there are data changes (e.g. lead score change, status value change, or any field value change). Which of the duplicate CRM records does the marketing automation platform update? Typically it’s not all of the records and it’s frequently the most recently updated one in the CRM and that leads to even more data quality issues.

Interaction management.

In point of interest, a lead only shows the interaction (e.g. the form submitted or campaign responded to) that drove the lead to be created. If a person interacted BEFORE or AFTER that specific instance, those interactions are created as separate leads. In hybrid, if a person engaged previously, all of the previous campaigns, tasks, and activities would be on the contact and the lead would only display the campaign immediately responded to. If a rep wants to look for previous engagement he needs to do a search in the CRM. The result is that it’s difficult for a rep to get a complete picture of the type and level of a lead’s engagement.

Choreograph sales.

Depending on the lead routing rules in place in point of interest, leads for the same person may go to multiple reps. In hybrid, the rep that receives the new lead may be different from the rep that owns the contact. Both scenarios create a situation where two or more representatives may engage the same individual unaware of another rep’s interactions. Worse yet, they may call on the same person at the same time and not know they are doing so.

Manual effort.

In point of interest and in hybrid, a process by which field or inside sales manually converts net new leads into existing contacts is quite standard. If not, a large volume of duplicate contact records will emerge which will make it more difficult to run reports and more difficult to use the CRM system in general. This impacts productivity. To gain an understanding of organizational cost impact, multiply the amount of time required to merge a lead by the number of leads converted each week by 50 weeks by the number of resources. For example, .5 minutes X 250 leads X 50 weeks X 10 resources = 1,042 hours per year. One can use tools like Demand Tools, Lean Data, or Cloudingo to provide an automated de-duplication process, but if you’re de-duplicating duplicate leads, the “business value” created by using POI and hybrid is removed.


Given the issues with data management and interaction management it becomes difficult to provide for campaign, lead source, and account activity reporting. Also, when calculating conversion rates for your funnel(s), it can introduce duplicates into your counts and then your funnel conversion rates inaccurate.

If you’re not sold on unique lead management as the optimal approach for B2B SaaS, let me know because I’d love to get on the phone with you and convert you to our way of thinking.

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