Every afternoon, between 2 and 3 pm, HIPB2B’s data team sends the Contact Verification (CV) team hundreds of leads that need to be verified the following day.
As a longtime member of the team, Cate Quackenbush notes, HIPB2B’s CV team is, “the human Clorox wipes for data.”
The CV team conducts the verification and hygiene processes that allow HIPB2B to deliver valid, high-quality leads to every client we serve.
We sat down with two members of the CV team and asked them about their process, what drives them, how the contact verification process has changed, and more.
What does the team verify?
The leads that HIPB2B provides are more than just a name, phone, and email address. We provide company-level data points, as well. In addition to mergers and acquisitions, organic changes can occur in a business that requires diligent research. If there is any question about the accuracy of our firmographic data (Company Annual Revenue, Total # of Employees, etc.), our verification team utilizes a subscription service to research hundreds of companies every month. This ensures that our database agrees with industry-standard data when it comes to company-specific characteristics.
How many leads are verified per day? How is that split amongst the team?
As mentioned above, the CV team validates hundreds a day. They split these leads amongst themselves. They each are assigned approximately 200 leads a day to verify. The CV process starts bright and early at 8 am EST and concludes around 2 pm EST.
Each member of the team is expected to complete an average of 40 calls/verifications per hour.
“You definitely have to have good time management because there’s a deadline at the end of the day,” said Jennifer Taylor, the Contact Verification Manager. “We have a good six hours where we are making these calls and doing the research along the way.”
Taylor says that while team members will get up, stretch, and perhaps take a little walk during the day, breaks must be brief.
“You must be disciplined; you have to stay on task because otherwise, you’ll never get it done. There are just too many [calls] to get through,” said Taylor.
What does the average call look like?
HIPB2B uses an automated system to queue up calls for the team, which contains all the data loaded in by Taylor each afternoon.
In the 20 or so seconds it can take for the rep to get into a leads’ phone system (automated or not), a CV team member is typically conducting research online, using leads’ company website or LinkedIn page to start the process of verification. The CV team combines this information with what they can get from the phone system. Sometimes, they talk to a “gatekeeper” who is usually a receptionist. Other times, they navigate an automated phone system.
Regardless, time is of the essence. Forty calls an hour means that most of the time, the CV team can’t spend more than a minute or so on a particular lead. That means any excess conversation with a lead or gatekeeper or too much time spent on research can slow down the process, which then slows final lead delivery.
“There’s no lead that is the same, and some of them are better than others. You just have to stay on task, [have] good time management, and be able to be quick on the phone,” says Taylor. “You don’t want to engage in a conversation with really anybody; you just want to verify, hey, does this person work here or not?”
What are your favorite parts of the job?
I asked both team members I talked to this.
Sometimes, Taylor says, it’s monotonous, other days are more challenging, “The days I kind of like are the ones where you don’t really have a lot of information to go off of, and you’re trying to build [the data you have] into a valid lead,” she says. “There’s not going to be a lot of time to do anything besides get it done.”
When I asked Quackenbush the same question, she said, “I like cleaning up the data. Some of them are so wildly off. If this got delivered to the client(without cleaning), wow, what a disaster.”
What Qualities do you need to be good at CV?
Taylor says that the ideal CV person is a combination of patient, disciplined, and has good time management skills.
“We had one representative that worked for us a while back. He was just a people person; he wanted to talk to everybody. He was doing like 10 calls an hour and we were like no, no, no. It’s great to be a people person, but this is not the job for it. There’s no time for chitchat,” said Taylor.
How has the CV process changed in the last five years?
Both Taylor and Quackenbush have been on the team for more than five years. They say that while the job and goals are the same, there have been some minor changes in the process.
Quackenbush says that the way leads are marked has changed, which makes the process better. They use a variety of different labels for the leads they cannot validate. That means that leads are not only sorted into valid or not valid, but they’re also sorted into various categories to revisit later.
“We can’t validate them, but we can mark them differently as title verified, for example,” said Quackenbush. “We can say, ‘Oh, I know that their title is this, but we are not sure if they work there. Or we know that they work there, but we can’t figure out what the heck their title is.”
She also mentioned that with the rise of digital and social, it’s that much easier to use online sources to validate leads.
What are some surprising, interesting, or funny encounters that happen in these 200 calls a day?
That’s a lot of phone calls, so I imagined that there must be silly, funny, or downright bizarre stuff that our CV team members must encounter.
Taylor recounted some of her funny challenges.
“There are the days where we think we’re going crazy because we get stuck in these automated systems loops, where you know, you have to talk through these automated systems. Some of them are voice-activated, and some of the names we get are very hard to pronounce. There are certain names, you just kind of go with it and say it to get it out there. Sometimes, you’ll have a last name that is literally 20 letters long. You can’t even dissect it and try to say it,” said Taylor. “When you try to say that into an automated system, it’s kind of hilarious with what it comes back with versus what you were trying to say, and it’s nothing even close to it. Those are the moments where you kind of laugh at yourself.”
When I asked Quackenbush, she told me that the team members have a Slack channel where they chat, laugh, and determine who got the “worst lead” of the day.
“The worst thing is when you get a dead person, which happens more often than you’d think,” she said. “Sometimes, you’ll get a wild card, where the person hasn’t worked there since 1999, and for some reason, they’ve just slipped through the cracks of the data for like a decade.”
What sets HIPB2B’s leads and CV process apart from the rest?
Taylor says that what sets HIPB2B’s CV apart from others is that leads are verified by an in-house team, instead of outsourcing the work overseas.
“We need a person who is here locally, or rather in the US, that isn’t outsourced to get that information because we wanted to keep the value of that lead,” said Taylor. “When you outsource, there are so many things that can go wrong. They don’t have the best interest of the company in mind.”
Leads are valid in the HIPB2B system for 30 days before they’ll need to be reverified, which is what Quackenbush says sets our process apart.
“I like the fact that we catch all that so we can keep our clients as happy as possible. If we were delivering not updated stuff; I don’t even know. I don’t know how anyone else is delivering leads and not triple checking it,” she said.
Let us know what you think:
- What surprised you the most about this interview article?
- Did you learn anything new about HIPB2B’s CV process?
- Which team would you like to learn more about next?