Smart buyers understand that digital audience data influences ad performance. When data is clean, current, and relevant, it provides a meaningful boost to KPIs. But mediocre data can deplete your marketing budget – or, worse, your client relationship.
The good news is that there is a lot of amazing data out there, and recognizing it may be as simple as asking a few basic questions to the B2B data provider. Quality and validation go beyond basic demographic criteria.
This article explains top 12 questions you should ask yourself and any potential provider, as well as, the answers you should expect when choosing the right B2B sales data partner in 2024.
Let’s get started.
1. Can you define the size of your ideal customer profile? (You might call it your relevant market or your sales addressable market.)
Creating an ideal customer profile (ICP) helps you enhance personalization in your sales activities, marketing campaigns, interactions, and overall customer experience. This approach engages your audience better and leads to more successful deals.
Choosing data is not limited to contact data. Smaller companies and individual sales teams frequently don’t fully grasp all the other data assets available. To define your ICP, the more important dimensions are not the contact data. You’re looking at the company level. Firmographics and technographics are the foundation.
Firmographic information includes both company-wide and specific user-level data. B2B segmentation using firmographics allows you to construct a picture of who your clients are to target certain markets with relevant content. Firmographic data includes information such as:
- Annual Revenue
- Industry Type Employee Count
Technographics data determine your prospects’ technologies and software. With technographic data, you gain insight into a company’s tech stack and its plans to purchase technical solutions.
Both data types will be how you get to your market size and how to describe and narrow it to an ICP that makes sense for you. You then will layer on the titles and personas for the number of contacts you should start targeting.
2. What data do you need to go to market effectively, and does the provider have it?
You have defined ICP as a launchpad. In the first answer, we saw how crucial firmographic and technographic data are.
How do you leverage all this data to make your marketing and sales efforts efficient and effective? Buying intent is vital because you understand who’s in the market actively searching for your solution.
Buyer Intent Data is the set of behavioral signals indicating the intention and likelihood of your prospects to purchase a product or service. It helps you to identify those prospects who are actively engaged in a buying decision based on the type of content they are consuming.
There are two ways to build a sales pipeline. Either you can create a demand for your solution, or you can harvest the demand already there. Where you need to create and when to harvest can be identified with buying intent.
Another data set you need is website visitor data (VisitorIntel). But, it is about understanding which organizations are sending traffic to your site. With a visitor identification tool, you can know which companies to target even if they don’t fill out any forms.
Mobile dial numbers are another crucial data set you should consider to boost sales interactions. Mobile numbers help you connect with decision-makers quicker than other phone options.
So, what type of data should you look for while evaluating the B2B data providers?
Number one – Firmographic data
Number two – Technographic data
Number three – Buyer Intent data
Number four – Website Visitor data
Number five – Mobile Dials
3. Can you leverage and query the platform effectively to filter and find what you need?
When comparing different data platforms, you want to focus on the data quality and how quickly you can access the data you need. For quality, you need to consider the average accuracy of all the data and not get too hung on one data point that is wrong or right. The best quality comes from human-verified data that can have a maximum of 95% accuracy.
Just because a provider has a massive number of contacts doesn’t mean all those contacts have complete data points and are useful for you. Missing data points (like mobile phone numbers) can be as bad as inaccurate data. Beware of empty contacts and data based on machine guesses.
There are two types of verification processes:
Human-verified data, as the name implies, is data that has been confirmed by humans. The volume of human-verified data is less than that of machine-processed data. However, you can rely on human-verified data to be highly accurate.
A machine learning algorithm is used to gather (and verify) machine-processed data. Massive amounts of machine-processed data are collected. However, without double-checking, the algorithm can make guesses or add out-of-date information.
As you search for your necessary data, how hard is it to set useful filters and how easy is the interface to use? Even if quality data is there, if your team can’t easily find it then it’s not helping you.
4. Is the data intelligence accurate and actionable?
Your data should lead to results.
The whole point of actionable data is trusting that you are spending your time and energy and getting the results you want. The ability to know that your potential customers are there in the market, the data is correct and if you put the data (say email addresses) into a campaign or a cadence, you are not going to get a bunch of bounces. Actionable data from a sales engagement and cadence tool perspective is about the contact data.
There are different requirements for actionable data depending on who in the go-to-market team is leveraging it. Actionable data is an important concept to think about across your entire go-to-market team. The marketing lead deciding on content themes and target industries will need different data from a sales rep making calls.
You should demand a test drive from any provider you’re considering. It’s all about your ICP when looking over data. Define your ICP in the platform. Execute on a random sample of say 200 or 300 contacts that match your ICP. Look at deliveirability. Don’t allow any vendor to cherry-pick.
Truly interrogate the data. Check the deliverability of emails and the connection rate of mobile dials.
5. Does the data flow to where you need it?
You should have the tech stack you want to have. You shouldn’t feel like you’re trapped in any one set of technologies. Integration with CRMs and marketing tools is the key here. This is about how well the B2B data platform is integrated with your existing tech stack. You don’t want to manage different tools separately and constantly be switching platforms while working.
For instance, if you are using Salesforce as a CRM and your data platform is not integrated with Salesforce, you will have to first export the data you want, adjust all the headings in the spreadsheet to match your Salesforce naming conventions, and then upload carefully without creating duplicates. That’s too much to do.
Check if you can export the data to your email marketing tool and avoid human errors. If yes, how easily can you do it? Do you have to send a support request to export the data or does it update automatically? Can you manually trigger updates?
Ideally, data providers offer a platform where you can use the data instantly with integrations that include CRM, email marketing systems, and more. Having a native integration enables you to export the contact list directly to your existing tools, preventing human errors while entering the data manually.
Your data should be where you want it.
6. What about data controls and ownership?
Data controls encompass the ownership and management of data. Imagine the sudden disappearance of all your CRM data—qualified leads, months of pipeline efforts, and numerous contacts. This could wreak havoc on your sales funnel and bring marketing activities to a standstill. While CRMs diligently maintain backups to prevent such catastrophes, there’s another potential way your data can be lost.
Some data providers have clauses in their contracts mandating the deletion of any data exported from their platform to your CRM upon unsubscribing from their services. Often, individuals are only aware of this clause once it’s too late, buried within the fine print or terms and conditions.
How do these providers detect data deletion from your CRM? They often embed dummy emails, known as “trackers,” within the contacts exported by their customers. If you inadvertently use their data post-unsubscription, sending emails to one of these trackers, the data provider monitoring that account will be alerted. This allows them to pressure you into repurchasing their license with the threat of deleting your data or facing legal action.
7. How effectively does the B2B data platform sync with your current tech infrastructure?
Seamless integration with CRMs and marketing tools stands as a crucial aspect of your data platform. The goal is to avoid managing multiple tools separately and constant switching during operations.
For instance, if your CRM system is Salesforce your data provider should have an integration to make the data sync painless. Exporting data, adjusting spreadsheet headings to align with Salesforce conventions, and carefully uploading to avoid duplicates are necessary.
Evaluate if exporting data to your email marketing tool can sidestep human errors. How simple is this process? Does it require a support request, or does it update automatically? Is manual triggering of updates possible?
Ideally, a data provider should offer a platform enabling instant data use with native integrations encompassing CRMs, email marketing, and more. Native integration facilitates direct exporting of contact lists to existing tools, reducing manual data entry errors and enhancing operational efficiency.
Ultimately, your B2B data should seamlessly integrate into your preferred platforms.
8. What are the data sources and verification processes to ensure data reliability?
Many data providers primarily source their information from publicly available online sources, employing AI-driven modules to aggregate data points. These algorithms identify patterns and make assumptions to fill in missing data. For instance, an AI might spot one email pattern for a company and extrapolate it to assume all emails follow a similar structure. However, such assumptions may not hold true for every organization, leading to inaccuracies.
The reliance on machine-processed information often results in inflated and inaccurate contact statistics. Entries might feature generic office numbers (like the headquarters’ number) or, as mentioned earlier, placeholder guesses for email addresses.
Consider asking sales representatives whether they prefer a batch of 1,000 contacts with a 20% accuracy rate or a smaller batch of 300 contacts with a 95% accuracy rate. More often than not, they’ll opt for the smaller batch with higher accuracy. This choice reflects their preference for accuracy over volume, ensuring their time and efforts aren’t wasted on unreliable data.
So, prioritizing human-verified information over sheer quantity holds paramount importance. While extensive datasets might seem appealing, accuracy remains the cornerstone for effective sales strategies. Focus on data quality rather than quantity to ensure sales efforts are targeted and fruitful. Human-verified data stands as a more reliable asset, safeguarding against inaccuracies and enhancing the productivity of sales endeavors.
9. What about Data segmentation and customization?
By advocating for sophisticated data intelligence tools, decision-makers can unlock their datasets’ full spectrum of possibilities. These tools empower marketers and sales leaders to not only understand the broad strokes but also to discern the subtle nuances that differentiate segments. They enable predictive modeling, behavioral analysis, and real-time insights that facilitate highly targeted and personalized strategies. This approach fosters a competitive edge by ensuring marketing efforts resonate authentically with each segment, leading to improved conversion rates, enhanced customer satisfaction, and more effective sales strategies.
In urging marketing and sales leaders to prioritize data intelligence tools for precise segmentation rather than settling for generalized bifurcation, the emphasis lies in maximizing the potential of insights and strategies. Investing in robust data intelligence tools equips these leaders with the means to delve deeper into the intricacies of customer behavior, preferences, and market dynamics. These tools go beyond basic segmentation, offering advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI-driven algorithms that discern nuanced patterns and correlations within each segment.
10. What additional features or data beyond contact details does your platform offer?
There are a wide variety of data types and features a B2B data provider can have. Prioritize which ones are essential for you:
- Intent Data:
Intent data has become a must-have data when choosing a B2B data provider. It helps identify and prioritize prospects actively researching or showing intent in specific products or services. It reveals behaviors, searches, or engagements that signal a heightened interest, aiding sales and marketing teams in targeting their efforts more effectively toward high-potential leads.
- Data Enrichment Services:
Services that enhance existing data by appending additional information, such as firmographic data, technographic details, or social media profiles, enrich the dataset’s depth and breadth.
- APIs and Integration Support:
Comprehensive APIs and integration support to enable seamless integration with users’ existing systems, allowing for easy data transfer and utilization across platforms.
- Customization Options:
Tools that enable users to tailor and customize data sets based on specific criteria or requirements, allowing for personalized data outputs.
- Real-Time Data Updates:
Features that provide real-time or frequent updates to ensure the data remains current and relevant, reflecting any changes or new information.
- Compliance and Security Measures:
Additional features ensure compliance with data privacy regulations (like GDPR and CCPA) and robust security measures to safeguard data integrity.
- Machine Learning or AI Capabilities:
Advanced technologies that offer predictive modeling, data pattern recognition, or AI-driven insights to aid in decision-making processes.
- Deduplication and Data Cleansing:
Tools that help in removing duplicates, correcting errors, and ensuring data cleanliness and accuracy within datasets.
- Workflow Automation:
Features that automate data-related tasks, streamlining processes and saving time in data handling and analysis.
- Training and Educational Resources:
Resources like tutorials, webinars, or documentation that assist users in maximizing the platform’s capabilities and understanding data utilization best practices.
11. How does your platform ensure compliance with data regulations?
Data providers must ensure compliance with data regulations through several key measures:
- Adherence to Regulations:
Platforms rigorously adhere to data privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, or industry-specific standards. They align their data handling practices, policies, and procedures with the requirements stipulated by these regulations.
- Robust Security Measures:
Implementing strong security protocols such as encryption, access controls, and regular security audits ensures data protection. Platforms secure data during storage, transmission, and processing to prevent unauthorized access or breaches.
- Consent Management:
Platforms obtain explicit consent from individuals or businesses before collecting or processing their data. They maintain transparent policies outlining data usage, allowing users to control how their information is used or shared.
- Data Minimization:
Platforms collect only the data required for specific purposes, adhering to the principle of data minimization. They avoid excessive or irrelevant data collection, reducing risks and ensuring compliance with regulations.
- User Rights and Transparency:
Platforms empower users with rights over their data, including the right to access, rectify, or erase their information. They provide transparent information about data practices, enabling users to understand how their data is used.
- Regular Audits and Assessments:
Conducting periodic audits and assessments ensures ongoing compliance with regulations. These assessments identify any gaps or risks in data handling practices, allowing for prompt corrective actions.
12. What level of user interface and customer support do you offer?
User interface (UI) and customer support play pivotal roles in the decision-making process when selecting a B2B data provider.
A user-friendly and intuitive UI significantly impacts user experience. A well-designed interface makes it easier for you as a user to navigate the platform, access data, and perform tasks efficiently. Clarity in design, ease of data visualization, and simple data retrieval functionalities contribute to increased productivity and a smoother workflow.
Effective customer support for a B2B data provider should encompass several key elements to ensure a positive and helpful experience for users:
Customer support should be easily accessible through various channels such as live chat, email, phone support, or ticketing systems.
Prompt response times are crucial. Users appreciate the timely acknowledgment of their queries or issues and expect a swift resolution or guidance from the support team.
- Expertise and Knowledge:
Support agents should possess in-depth knowledge about the platform data offerings and be well-versed in addressing common user concerns. They should offer accurate and relevant information to assist users effectively.
- Clarity and Communication:
Support interactions should be clear, concise, and easily understandable. Agents should communicate effectively to convey solutions, instructions, or guidance.
- Problem Solving Approach:
The support team should adopt a problem-solving mindset. They should actively work towards resolving issues, providing practical solutions, and guiding users through troubleshooting steps.
- Empathy and Professionalism:
A supportive and empathetic approach towards users’ challenges fosters a positive rapport. Professionalism in handling queries and maintaining a respectful demeanor is essential.
- Proactive Assistance:
Anticipating potential issues and providing proactive guidance or resources can enhance the user experience. Regular updates, helpful tips, or training materials contribute to users’ understanding and proficiency with the platform.
- Continuous Improvement:
Soliciting feedback and actively incorporating suggestions for improvement demonstrates a commitment to enhancing the support experience. Constantly striving to enhance support services based on user input should be a priority.
Reasons to Consider SalesIntel as Your Next B2B Data Provider
Following are a few of the reasons to consider SalesIntel:
- SalesIntel focuses on contact data for decision-makers. You don’t want to reach entry-level sales reps and random employees. We focus our researchers on contacts with buying power.
- SalesIntel provides 95% human-verified data. Our staff verifies every contact every 90 days to avoid data deterioration and ensure accuracy.
- SalesIntel has the most direct dial numbers, allowing your sales team to circumvent the gatekeeper and talk directly to decision-makers.
- SalesIntel goes beyond basic contact information by providing technographic, firmographic, and intent data.
- SalesIntel focuses on integrating with your tech stack, allowing you to export data directly to where you want it.
- Our RevDriver free browser extension lets you retrieve prospect contact information while viewing their LinkedIn profile or website.
- For our clients, SalesIntel provides Research on Demand. So, if you want information on a certain industry or contact list that is not currently in our database, simply make your request, and we will locate the information for you.
If you want to give it a try, schedule a personalized demo!