Don’t Miss Opportunity to Transform Data into a Key Intellectual Asset
An organization can have the most valuable solution in the market, a compelling offer, and a sophisticated marketing campaign supported by leading-edge tools and tactics, but if it isn’t targeted to the right audience, it could fail miserably. Consequently, many marketers seem to be in a never-ending search for data. They’re investing millions each year purchasing lists and databases from a seemingly endless supply of new third-party list sources and brokers. Each vendor promises cleaner and more accurate data than the rest. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long (usually their first email campaign) to realize that the data is flawed. Instead of being a source of new leads and sales opportunities, it’s populated with the wrong contacts and dated information.
It would be great to be able to purchase credible list sources, but it’s just not reality. Even the most accurate third-party data sources can be 30 -50% inaccurate. Just like in other areas of business and life in general, it’s rare to find shortcuts to success. The best and most accurate marketing database is one that you build yourself. Doing so requires disciplined execution, a consistent effort, and time. The Sales and Marketing team must commit to two primary objectives. First, commit to verifying and gathering information every time they interact with a prospect or customer. Every market-facing person within the organization must be willing to ask questions to ensure the information they have related to the contact and company is complete, accurate and current. Second, everyone must commit to capturing the updated information in the CRM.
There are three phases to building a marketing database – General Data Development, Account Profiling, and Business Intel Gathering.
This involves capturing and validating basic account and contact information. Is the company still in business? Where are they headquartered? What is their primary phone number? What is their website URL? This is all basic information that can often be captured from their website or from speaking with a receptionist or administrative assistant.
The information gathered in this phase provides a deeper understanding of the company and/or contact, including a comprehensive picture of the organization’s decision-making environment. Account profiling information might include capturing company revenue data, the number of employees, industry vertical market (SIC codes), and the names (as well as title and function) and contact information (direct dial phone number and email address) of all the potential decision-makers and influencers. Much of this information can be found via web research, but it should always be confirmed by speaking with someone at the target company. And the best way to confirm decision-making authority is to speak directly with multiple executive-level contacts.
Business Intelligence Gathering
The information gathered in this phase typically can only be captured as a part of the lead qualifying and selling process, and can only be obtained by having a direct conversation with multiple target contacts. Examples of this include: Incumbent vendor specifics (vendor, # of users, contract expiration date, required features, etc.), technical requirements, brand awareness, budget constraints, and decision-making process.
Third-party lists can be good resources to provide a starting point and to jump start the process. A third-party list can be particularly effective at providing some of the basic company demographic level information. However, it’s important not to assume the information is accurate. It should still be validated. Then, build upon that foundation by supplementing the data with information mined from internet research. Researching every target company can be a time-consuming endeavor, but valuable information can be found by digging into company websites, annual reports, press releases and LinkedIn. Your target data can then be rounded into form through the everyday interactions with your marketing and sales team. Over time, your marketing database can be transformed from a compilation of questionable lists into a key intellectual asset of the business.