CMO Perspective: Breaking Free from the B2B Dark Ages – A Brief History

CMO Perspective: Breaking Free from the B2B Dark Ages – A Brief History

Welcome to the fascinating world of B2B data! 

As a CMO, I’ve seen the impact of quality data on a business’s growth and trajectory. 

But the journey to where we are today hasn’t been straightforward, and it’s worth looking back at the history of how we got here.

Humble Beginnings

With the start of the “computer boom,” every company and individual started to come online. Now decision-makers can be reached over email and phone! 

The foundations of the B2B data industry began in the mid-to-late 1990s, with companies like Dun & Bradstreet and InfoGroup paving the way. Things were very different back then, and the industry has undergone a remarkable transformation.

The LinkedIn Takeover

Let’s talk about Jigsaw – not the horror movie, but the platform for collecting crowd-sourced business data. Back in the day, Jigsaw was the place for anyone looking to gather public data sets that could help in all sorts of business and research endeavors. 

However, Jigsaw’s reign as the go-to source for such data was short-lived as LinkedIn overtook it in popularity and functionality. With its massive user base and professional networking features, LinkedIn quickly became the go-to platform for gathering and sharing business-related information by the mid-2000s. Plus, LinkedIn’s focus on verified and up-to-date user data gave it a real edge over Jigsaw’s reliance on user-generated content that could sometimes be a bit unreliable. 

The Data Dark Ages: A Tale of Two Models

In the world of data empires – it’s a tale of two models. Two different approaches to B2B data emerged – those of DiscoverOrg and ZoomInfo. 

DiscoverOrg was known for providing high-quality data with unlimited credits, so you can gather as much data as you need without worrying about running out. However, this high level of quality and service came at a higher cost.

ZoomInfo, on the other hand, focused on volume and a pay-per-credit model. This means you only paid for the data you use, making it a more cost-effective option with the trade-off of lower-quality data. While ZoomInfo does have some verification processes in place, it relies more heavily on machine learning and artificial intelligence to gather and verify data.

They then began to scale to millions of contacts. Did you know that these companies were powered by SalesIntel’s data all along? All the benefits you know from our product – especially our high-quality human-verified contacts – are now provided directly to you through our platform. 

In February 2019, DiscoverOrg decided to acquire ZoomInfo. A few months later, it merged the two existing brands to create one platform: ZoomInfo Powered by DiscoverOrg, following the “per credit” pricing model.

This data behemoth led to several problems, especially predatory pricing. With one big player holding all the cards, they easily took advantage of customers, especially in 4 ways that matter most. 

  • Defining and Targeting Your ICP:

With ZoomInfo, you face constraints in accessing and utilizing your entire ICP account list. This limitation hampers your ability to effectively target and engage with potential customers who closely align with your ideal criteria.

To make matters worse, you have limited or no access to accounts that fall outside your defined ICP. This lack of visibility into the broader market restricts your ability to explore new opportunities and expand your customer base beyond your current target segment.

Due to limited resources or tools, you’ll also encounter challenges in optimizing your marketing strategies to identify new customer segments or test innovative ideas. This limitation may impede your ability to adapt and stay competitive in a dynamic market.

The icing on the cake is that this scarcity of account and contact data hinders your targeted advertising efforts. Insufficient information about potential customers restricts your ability to allocate your advertising budget effectively and reach the most relevant audience.

  • Surfacing Accounts In Market:

When you’re looking at accounts in your market, chances are that you have restricted access to accounts and contacts that exhibit clear buying intent. This limitation impedes your ability to prioritize and engage with prospects who are actively interested in your products or services.

Often the intent signals provided are inflexible, rigid, or inaccurate, making it difficult for you to accurately gauge customer intent and make informed decisions based on reliable data. There is an additional expense involved in identifying and surfacing the prospects who visit your website. This cost can hinder your ability to effectively track and engage with potential customers who have already shown interest in your offerings. The cost from add-ons is rapidly rising!

  • Providing the Contacts You Actually Need:

Chances are when you’re conducting outbound prospecting activities, you encounter limitations in accessing a comprehensive database of contacts. Additionally, you may be charged for each contact you acquire, which can increase your costs of your already tight budget and restrict your outreach efforts.

In the context of marketing automation, you have limited access to contact, account, and news data required to streamline your campaigns. Moreover, you may be charged for every credit, reducing your ability to leverage data-driven automation efficiently.

The implementation of effective Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategies is also hampered by a lack of available contacts coupled with an additional cost per contact you acquire, which can impede your ability to scale your ABM initiatives.

  • Servicing All Your Go-To-Market Needs:

The pricing structure based on per-credit usage restricts the value you can derive from your B2B data. It may lead to budget constraints and hinder your ability to fully leverage the potential of your data.

The cost associated with acquiring enrichment credits for standardizing and maintaining data quality with your RevOps stack adds up. This payment model can limit your ability to invest in data quality improvements and optimize your operations.

A pricing model that charges you for each feature and integration you utilize restricts the value you can extract from your data, making you constantly feel nickel and dimed. 

Then, the cherry on top – a data destroy clause. Data destroy clauses trap you into a single provider. Your data is their data, but if you think about leaving, you lose it all. It’s a toxic cycle, where you feel as though you can’t escape.

There’s New Hope Ahead

Thankfully we are on the brink of a Go-To-Market age of enlightenment. We’re entering a land of unlimited, where these problems and concerns are a thing of the past. 

SalesIntel is sparking a pricing revolution, paving the way for what’s to come for the B2B data industry. Most importantly, putting the needs of the customers at the forefront. 

So what does this look like? 

Not only will you have access to full market ICP and Non-ICP accounts but you’ll have:

  • Unlimited access to accounts and contacts showing your chosen intent signals
  • Unlimited reveals of accounts visiting your website
  • Unlimited news data + alerts signaling important changes for both customer and prospect accounts
  • Unlimited data credits, downloads, exports for account, contact, and news data
  • Unlimited enrichment credits so RevOps can preserve the hygiene of your GTM stack without any cost concerns
  • Unlimited platform and integration access – no nickel and diming!

Wrap that up in a shiny bow of no data destroy clause, and you have our gift to you! We believe  your B2B data provider needs to earn your business and show their value repeatedly. This is our promise to you. 

Enough is Enough!

In the past few decades, we’ve seen some dramatic transformation in our industry, but it’s time for a change of pace when it comes to pricing! I hope you’ll join us in the B2B pricing revolution.

Learn more about our journey by catching the recap of our fireside chat: Enough is Enough!