Succeeding in sales is hard. It’s competitive, it’s demanding, and buyers are more educated now than ever. It’s also a game of persistence – it’s rare to make a sale on the first contact. On average, it takes a tech sales rep approximately eight touches (calls or emails) to connect with a buyer!
Sellers have had to up their game to effectively engage prospects, and one area that has come a long way is sales data and intelligence. A good sales and marketing campaign starts with quality data. There are many different third-party data sources available, and the choices can be overwhelming. It’s important to remember that data providers are not one-size-fits-all, and there are many factors that will determine the best choice for your business. The guide below will help you determine what type of data source is best for you.
Determine what type of buyer you are selling to.
Many data providers specialize in, and have better intelligence for, a specific market – like business data versus consumer data, or sales data for a specific industry. Are you targeting B2B, B2C or a combination? Do you have a specific industry segment, or do you sell to everyone? What is your buyer’s title, role and responsibility? Narrowing down this information will help you select a data provider.
Is a data platform the right avenue, or can you get away with list providers?
The biggest difference between these two is quality. Data lists are static, and data quality is typically not a priority. They are generally used for volume-based marketing and sales activities. Platform-based data providers, on the other hand, typically have higher quality information and provide services to update and append the data on a regular basis. You will pay more, but you will get better results.
Use primary references and third-party reviews to point you in the right direction.
Your solution may be highly tailored, so make sure the data source you go with specializes in your target market. Use services like G2, Capterra, Gartner and Forrester and read both the professional and end-user reviews before committing.
Decide whether your business will need to own the data or lease the data.
Be aware of what you are accessing. You may be required to return the data at the end of your subscription term.
What type of data do you need?
When you think about your target market and the different avenues to target your buyer, what types of information will your team need in order to execute a sales and marketing campaign? For example, you may just need basic contract data. Or you may need additional corporate/firmographic data, or more complex intelligence and analysis.
Some data providers will help keep your data fresh by appending the information within your CRM or Marketing Automation System.
This will help you avoid an outdated CRM, which will impact future sales and marketing campaigns. Data providers should also be able to automatically check for duplicates, which will avoid a cluttered CRM system. Before committing, find out the frequency of the providers’ data updates. If you can’t cross-reference with your CRM, you waste a lot of time.
Test the data.
Test the data before you commit to get an understanding of how accurate it is. If possible, get a trial account and spend time analyzing the quality of the results. Here’s how:
- Triangulate — Cross-check the same data across multiple providers for accuracy.
- Test the emails and phone numbers of the contact data.
- When assessing firmographics, check the data against a company you are familiar with.
Want to learn more about managing your sales data? Check out Lead Scoring 101: How to Prioritize Your Prospecting