4 Things to Look for in a Data Provider
“Data is the most mishandled and misunderstood IT resource.”
Make no mistake – good sales contact data can fuel your company’s successes and can minimize some pretty epic fails.
Unfortunately, implementing a sales contact data solution purely in the spirit of “cost effectiveness” can be a fatal mistake. In fact, poor or inaccurate contact data records result in significant losses in revenue and customer retention – both things no business can afford to lose.
On the flip side, implementing a clean, accurate, and up-to-date contact data service can lead to a 20-40% boost in sales and a 50% reduction in outgoing sales-related expenses – arming you with HUGE ROI and revenue gains.
The Bad Data Blues is More Common than You Think
A recent research report revealed that an astonishing 90% of organizations report errors in their contact data. This includes duplicate records, missing information, inaccurate contact records, and of course, outdated contact information.
So what are you doing to ensure your sales contact data is accurate and up to date? Is it worth it to you to dump thousands upon thousands into a contact data resource that could be costing you 550 hours and $32,000 per year, per rep in sales process waste?
The answer is simple: NOBODY can afford waste on this level. If any of this hits a sore spot, it’s time to take inventory of your sales contact data and put forth a plan to correct your course.
Luckily, we’ve made this really simple for you and your team. Here are 4 non-negotiable things you should look for in a data provider:
1. Always-Refreshed Data
Sales contact data changes really, really fast. It’s not enough to have clean sales contact data when nearly 30% of your contact data will be out of date by the end of the month. According to the Ovation Sales Group, the average salesperson makes 8 dials every hour, and prospects for over 6 hours every day to set 1 appointment. Now imagine how this could impact your yearly sales goals.
To hit this point home, here are just a few ways your contact data will change this year:
- 21% of your target CEOs will change positions
- Over 30% of your target emails will change
- 60% of the contacts at your target organizations will change jobs
The bad news is that if you don’t ask (or don’t know WHAT to ask), it will be hard to know if your data is regularly refreshed. To help you navigate your fact-finding mission, here are a few quick questions you should be asking your vendor right now:
- How often is their data refreshed?
- What’s the data gathering process like?
- What steps do they take to ensure contact data is regularly refreshed?
2. Verified Contact Data
The quality and integrity of sales contact data really comes down to the “how”: How is the data gathered? How is the data verified? How is the data updated?
This becomes a critical consideration any time you want to identify your target prospects and actually plan to contact them (so, basically, it’s always important). With unverified data, you’re constantly left guessing if the contact will pick up the phone on the other end or if your email will reach your intended prospect. In fact, more often than not, data providers cannot verify the accuracy of their contact data on the level you need it – if at all. Plus, most data providers are not giving you anything you couldn’t find through a Google or LinkedIn search anyway.
Unfortunately, with most contact data or sales intelligence platforms, the data has been gathered using one of two sources: End-user Submitted Data and/or Technology-sourced data.
End-user submitted data completely relies on a user’s motivation to actually update their own information. (Think social media profiles) As a result, this data often lags and doesn’t include updated, direct contact information.
Technology-sourced data almost always relies on webscraping and search technologies that are basically just pulling data from the web that is readily available to anyone. There’s almost no way to verify if the data is correct with this method.
The bottom line: If your data provider isn’t giving you hand-gathered, human-verified contact data, it may be time to move on. With the rapid rate at which your data goes stale, using poorly sourced data only adds fuel to your bad data fire.
3. Context Beyond the Contacts
Without context, your sales contacts are little more than names, phone numbers, and email addresses on a page. Lack of quality contextual data forces many to get stuck in a research feedback loop that starts with Google or LinkedIn and ends in frustration – or even worse – failure.
When you are equipped with the “what,” “why,” and “how” behind the “who,” you’re able to have meaningful conversations with prospects – positioning YOU as their greatest ally in the fight to solve their business problems.
This context could include anything from big leadership changes, to major IT initiatives coming down the pipeline as well as current reporting structure, job responsibilities of each individual and the current technology stack. You can now tailor your messaging to engage your prospects, speaking directly to their unique perspective and connecting the value proposition dots early on, and moving them through your sales funnel quickly and effectively.
Contextual data gives you real-world visibility into key initiatives and changes that are influencing their buying behaviors RIGHT NOW.
Remember, in the 2015 B2B sales space, context is king!
4. Compliance, Compliance, Compliance
This is a less sexy requirement, but a requirement nonetheless of any data provider. Ensuring your data is 100% compliant with data gathering and sharing laws around the globe should be a high priority.
Why? Well, simply put you are legally responsible for the data you use to sell into IT and Marketing departments. This means that if your data is non-compliant you AND your organization can see some pretty severe penalties.
Data Quality Affects Every Aspect of Your Business
There’s no aspect of your business that isn’t OR won’t be affected by the data you use. From the marketing and sales departments to the C-Suite, data quality is a primary concern for everyone aiming to move business in a forward direction.
Marketers need quality data to ensure they are targeting good-fit leads for sales. Sales reps need in-depth, accurate data to ensure they’re reaching out to the right decision-makers at the right time with the right messages. C-level executives need to know the foundation of their business strategy is built on quality data so they can focus on their vision for future growth.
Are you ready for a data provider that can actually deliver on the promise of comprehensive sales contact data that empowers your sales team to close MORE deals?