Challenges in Gathering and Operating with Prospects and Companies Data
Why are there so many and in several categories? Mainly because to have good B2B data quality, you have to spend a lot of resources, time, and expertise for each type:
- Company profile data is tricky to gather and frequently requires access to national databases of recently registered private companies and public listings.
- Contact data is closely connected with high volume constant web crawling and technical expertise to achieve that level.
- Technographics is similar to person-level data but requires expertise in understanding different web technologies on the web and interpreting them correctly.
- Psychographics data needs professional knowledge in human behavioral science and clear communication with a tech team to achieve the desired level of clearness.
- Location data relies heavily on geometrics and crowdsourcing, plus cooperation with existing providers.
- Hiring data is very noisy and distributed in its nature. You need to have a good and constant deduplication process.
- News data is hard to link to companies. There are a lot of synonyms that can be misprinted as Company Info.
As you can see, you need a different type of tech talent, product-related background expertise, and different Ideal Buyer Persona for each kind of data.
Also, each B2B business has its own unique needs when it comes to data. Companies may need
- Dataset to run AI/ML training
- Dataset to run Market Analytics
- List of contact data of their TAM
- Selective Data enrichment services of particular entries
- Custom data gathering process of target sources (popular among e-commerce/retail brands)
- And many more!
Finally, while there was a list of data formats and usage possible, many customer data platforms have additional product features on top of this data, like
- Business Intelligence (BI)
- Integrations with ERP, CRM, ATM, etc.
Let's have a look at different data-related challenges and needs which may have a significant impact on your choice -
Let's be honest. Most data providers refresh their database within six months and even more extended periods.
Many of them state that it takes around three months for a complete refresh, but it is still prevalent to find business contacts or millions of companies in size way out of date (changed job three years ago, or Dropbox in size of 20 people 1.000+ software company).
That's why the need for real-time enrichment solutions creates a unique, additional alternative product, which requires dedicated resources for each case.
The biggest challenge for data providers for real-time enrichment platforms is constantly associated costs to keep such infrastructure and frequently break crawling facilities due to multiple design changes.
If you want to deliver structures information of fresh news generated by the market, you need many bots crawling multiple websites each hour or even minutes!
And the biggest drawback of the system is that this data usually becomes stale and not valuable for short periods. It is hard to congratulate a person on fundraising done half-year ago. You will probably take more fresh news posts, and past data is a waste for you.
29% of people change their job each year in the United States based on a quick preview on Sales Navigator.
Based on statistics, 3% from CMS Wire of all data becomes out of date each month. As a result, the database in your customer relationship management software (CRM) becomes not accurate in 12 months.
If you focus on the SME sector, significant changes in 3 years, most prospects will change their job, and most data will be purely inaccurate!
Not forget that more than 82% of B2B data keeps remains in stealth mode for most people.
Fortunately, the data industry has been developing all this time. With a sharp decrease in data-processing costs, hosting, and software development, we have plenty of players on the market to solve this pain!
Let's have a closer look at
- Data types
- Current Market Players
Diversity Data Enrichment Problem
We can (and should) split Data Enrichment Providers into several categories to highlight first-to-consider solutions in each segment -
- Company Data (Firmographic data)
- Contact Data (Person-level data)
- Technology Data (Technographic data)
- Personal Data Attributes (Psychographics)
- Location Data (Geographic)
- Hiring Data
- Investment Data
- Financial Data
- Web Search Data
- News Data
And probably many data types more for more niche sectors.
It creates several opportunities and overheads for both sides of the market.
First, data providers can compete in different segments and be the market leaders in one particular category, like contact data or location data.
At the same time, Data Buyers can enjoy better data quality from each niche vendor.
On the other side, with most commonly poor marketing execution, many data providers create a high noise level about their data offerings and mislead buyers.
Many players create new data products to attract new ideal prospects or upsell existing ones to gather a higher market share and have a bigger Total Addressable Market (TAM).
However, most of them already have strong and better competitors. Consequently, its quality mostly seems mediocre for an experienced user.
Example of data from a Contact Data vendor with questionable quality if it is not his specialization?
Fundraising or Website Technology in the data provider product suite.
They have very high chances of having big white spots and inaccuracy in the proposal in both cases. Fundraising data is hard to match based on web crawling or requires connections with VC firms.
Technographics can quickly become out of date, and with thousands of different technologies, any non-specified data provider can miss new tech and have a lot of not-covered information.
As a result, for buyers, it becomes very misleading. Companies with a full suite of data products look more promising since you can close a long list of data needs with just one vendor. On the other hand, it is a question of quality and market positioning. It is impossible to be in the best place for many categories with one brand (many companies, even Microsoft and Google, failed). Finally, based on the recent statistics presenting the wrong alternative product or services on top of existing relations to the same B2B buyer can lead to a 14% decrease in client retention.
Data Enrichment Tools
Data in Email Marketing Tools
As you may hear, personalization in email marketing platforms increases engagement and click-through rates by 53%+ compared to non-personalized ones.
However, you need to juggle between the number of dynamic form fields vs. conversion rates.
Too much data to share during the initial step will lead to high churn rates from your submission form.
That's where sequential data enrichment platforms come into play!
Based on a person's domain and email, many data providers can give you a full spectrum of what the company details are about, and it is possible to get his full title and some additional data points.
What can we use today to achieve it?
Thee are a few self-service options -
- Clearbit Enrichment
And many more! The only requirement from the software is to have either API or seamless integration with process automation tools like Zapier or Integromat.
How will the final process look like?
You need to set up a workflow that will trigger once any capture form submission or contact added to the list appeared. The call will enrich the email address and give you back data fields, like
- LinkedIn URL
- Twitter URL
- Company Size
- Web technologies
- Previous Job
And many more based on the service you choose. You can check their API response in support documentation. In my example, I presented Clearbit's request response.
All these nuggets can be used in email marketing automation platforms for great segmentation and personalization for each prospect!
If you are working in the B2B sector, it is also important to have recent trends in Buying business signals data and check the latest data providers, like Bombora, 6sense, or Rocks & Gold.
What can they give in addition to a wide range of firmographic data and contact data enrichment techniques? You can get a list of interesting data points for deeper segmentation, like
- The latest increase in web search by category (Bombora)
- Latest hiring trends of each company domain (Rocks & Gold)
- Current stage in buying cycle for a particular category (6sense)
Based on that data, you can prioritize your tasks in account and contact engagement, and create additional follow-ups for your sales team!
Data in Digital Advertising
Digital advertising was all about data a long time before.
However, the highest focus in this field was very much concentrated around
- Proper budget allocation
- Attribution modeling
- Outcome measurements
With the constant increase in pricing-per-click, audience time spent redistribution among different platforms, continuous drop in engagements, marketing teams, constant pressure to improve conversion rates, and being more competent in engaging the audience.
The recent increase in popularity of Account-Based Marketing Campaigns is a signal of that.
People need to be more focused on increasing engagement, being more personal and relevant to increase conversions, and having more space for creativity to achieve all that. We want to improve the potential customer experience and overall customer journey.
It is easier to create a great commercial for an Ideal Customer Persona like VP of Sales from the SaaS industry working with the Financial sector within a list of 100 accounts, rather than a broad mass approach for all VPs of Sales.
And data for multiple marketing tools becomes one of the main pillars of success!
Marketing professionals can run hyper-targeted customer segments with digital ads among networks like Facebook or LinkedIn using your list of business contacts and domain and converting enriched leads into customers!
However, to make marketing automation tools work, you need these B2B data to run.
Collecting these lists is a time-consuming task and can be done at a high cost if the wrong approach is applied.
If you want to run a targeted personal digital ads campaign, you should consider data vendors close to unlimited credits coming with your subscription.
It can be different contact data vendors with high credit limits and low $/email ratio-
- Apollo.io - 100.000 credits per month
- Seamless.ai - unlimited credits per year with abuse protection
- ColdCRM - 100.000 credits per month
If we have a look at account intent data, here is a bit different cost approach.
You will get unlimited access to all verified accounts on the market within the allocated budget. However, there will be some limitations in the number of tracked keywords and allowed access to data in exports.
The cheapest go-to source is Crunchbase with Data Boost addon.
Then it goes a list of data providers, but you need to understand that initial investment of USD per company can be pretty steep (usually from $25k per year) -
- Rocks & Gold
- ZoomInfo with an addon
- Many contact data providers with Bombora partnership, like Cognism, SalesIntel, etc.
Fortunately, such B2B data was available for enterprise data enrichment benefits but started to be accessible by SME audiences via popular contact providers.
Data in Outbound Sales
You want to have the most comprehensive view of your qualified leads when you contact them.
Ideal Customer Profile is one of the most important documents for a successful outbound sales department. If sales reps on your team do not understand in full what problems your market-facing, your B2B sales professionals can't be effective in their sales calls and improve the sales funnel.
Also, many stats are about 30% selling vs. 70% data management and administrative tasks, which held even with more and more sales intelligence tools and processes to support vice-versa.
One is expected; if your sales reps need to copy-paste B2B data from the web and find contact details to your sales platform, you waste a LOT of time.
Best sales intelligence tools to consider? The one that integrates with your sales system! The most famous cases are integrations with CRM systems like Salesforce, HubSpot, or Pipedrive. And most B2B data enrichment provider software does it!
The list I can suggest is similar / the same for your Digital Advertising.
What is means? Two problems solved for the pricing of one! Economies of scale are working at best for big companies. You can invest in data products and get a boost for several departments at the same time! For smaller companies to get the most with a small budget, you can cooperate with agencies that have active subscriptions to that software. So you can invest in people and expertise while SaaS overheads are covered. It is prevalent for SEO agencies, which can have several different tools to check and assess the data, while you probably are challenging yourself whether you need to buy just one!
In outbound sales, it is similar to contact providers and email verification tools. For a small product or service company, it is frequently just one choice to go to. On the other hand, lead gen agency can search contact data among several B2B data providers to get a complete enriched list and then run it through several email validation tools to be 98% sure of the results.
Data in Customer Success
Finally, data is essential to increase retention, decrease churn, and have more correct predictions.
The most popular use case is real-time updates about Job Changes or News announcements.
Job Changes Alerts help to
- Decrease a chance of a churn of an existing client if your Champion left the company.
- Make an additional sale in a new company fit where your Champion moved
- Make an upsell if your Champion moved within a company to a new department/location with a new team
Software to consider -
- ZoomInfo has an addon to track job changes. The choice is suitable for people targeting companies 500+ in size and located within the US.
- Apollo.io has an addon to track job changes. However, quality is low, and it is good to consider refreshing your current database on customer records.
- There are several standalone alternative products focused only on this problem, like TrackJobChanges. Compared to addons provided by other vendors, this solution pricing is USD per contact.
As you can see, there are many use cases, challenges, and product types both for buyers and sellers. If you want an all-in-one solution for your B2B data needs, you need to keep in mind that most probably only one B2B data type is high quality, where the rest is just an addon on top of the existing solution.
If you consider a niche use case, there is a much lower number of providers, but you can solve your problem in full, plus most of them can do custom development/updates specifically for your case.
You need to have a strong vision and use cases what problems you need to solve and ask about integrations, type of pricing, and what kind of onboarding/support they provide. You should avoid working with Salesforce-alike companies if you are a minor player in the field.
In Rocks & Gold, we always happy to discuss job-related data needs and provide custom development support and onboarding to get the full potential from hiring intent!