Often for territory routing it’s necessary to determine what country a contact is from. Of course you can always ask them on a form, but this uses up a valuable field, and as Dr. House on TV has taught us, “people lie”, especially on forms!
Note that this article is about determining the country a contact is located in, not an Account (which is a lot easier)!
Recently I came across a client who was determining contact country by email domain suffix. However, an email domain suffix or even the registered location of an email domain is a low quality basis on which to set a contact’s country in today’s multi-national conglomerate world. This is especially true for a company that sells a lot to large organizations.
As an example, consider 4Thought Marketing. We are a very small company, with people located in two different countries. But if somebody assumed a country from either our domain suffix or our domain registration location, they would have a 70% chance of being wrong!
So for large companies with multinational employees that centralize their email (like most do), the problem is thousands of times worse.
Here is another example. Should the 450,000 employees of Tata be assumed to work out of India or 120,000 Phillips employees be assumed to work out of the Netherlands? Do people from BP, GE, and Sony work in the UK, USA and Japan respectively?
Obviously there are better ways to determine a contact’s country. Here are seven different ways, generally ordered from most effective to least:
- Use Their IP Address:
This is a highly reliable country indicator. The odds of a US businessperson actually being on an international trip at any given moment is under 1%. (Fewer than 1 in 30 US workers travel internationally in a year at all!). While, yes, this can still be wrong because people do travel internationally and browse websites while doing so, it’s a far more reliable indicator than email domain, especially when you’re only looking for country-specific accuracy. These accuracy odds probably decrease for EMEA due to greater international travel, but are still comparably your best indicator.
- Use a Form Answer:
People often lie on forms so this is less reliable than IP address. But for the country field privacy concerns are low and national pride motivates a higher accuracy rate than on a field like “revenue”, for example.
- Do a database append:
Database appends tend to have error rates higher than you’ll get from IP address but generally remain in the single digit error rate range.
- Phone Number Country Code Match
This works reasonably well if you have reliable phone numbers. If you have reliable phone numbers, use it, but this isn’t the case for most databases.
- Email Domain Suffix
Assuming a “.fr” email address domain means a French company is a reasonable assumption. But assuming it means a French contact is trickier in today’s multinational conglomerate world. If none of the above options work for you, this can be better than nothing if you must have a country filled in.
- Email Domain Registration Location
Again this is good for determining a company’s location, but not necessarily a contact’s locations. The more multinational your prospect base is, the less effective this method will be.
- Company Headquarters Match
The more multinational your prospect base is, the less effective this method will be.
These methods are generally ordered from most successful to least successful when implementing a client’s Eloqua Data Washing Machine, but honestly which is best for you depends on how your company does business.
If you sell primarily to multinationals, your choice of methods should differ dramatically from a company selling primarily to SMB US companies.