B2B Data

The Characteristics of the Best B2B Data: What Sales Reps Should Ask Their Data Provider

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March 27, 2022

9 mins read

The Characteristics of the Best B2B Data: What Sales Reps Should Ask Their Data Provider

We all know this to be true: Most sales reps lack clean, complete contact data to execute agile and successful sales actions.

Unfortunately, many reps are stuck relying on inaccurate and siloed data. Relying on that bad data to target prospects, identify the right buying personas, and run campaigns and automated workflows is like drinking out of a dirty well.

So you roll up your sleeves and attempt to clean up your contacts manually (because who likes to drink dirty water). This task is a massive and impossible time suck.

When your business realizes there is a better way to obtain data, they will look to the expertise of a data provider. But data providers come in many shapes, so it’s important to know what to look for.

As a sales-driven professional, it’s important for you that your chosen data provider bring certain data characteristics to the table, so you can stop losing sleep over bad data problems and go back to nurturing your contacts in meaningful ways.

The characteristics sales reps need from the data provided by a data provider are kind of simple really:
  1. Quality data (not just quantity)
  2. Data that provides key insights and connections

The bad data problem. It boils down to two reasons.

Reason one: Data changes all the time.

Employee numbers are always changing. All. The. Time.

In fact, about 40 to 50 million people quit annually — in the US alone! Add to that the number of internal role changes, company relocations and expansions, corporate and personal name changes, and more, and you’ll understand why business data changes so often and it’s so challenging for businesses to execute successful data management.

Even without people changing jobs, data will decay over time – as much as 30 percent per year!

Reason two: Your company’s data is shattered across systems.

Even if you do manage to clean your contacts in the CRM with the information you manually gather (who needs sleep anyway), your other systems are still siloed out there with their own information. We’re talking about your email, customer support, accounting, and so on.

So your data is still fragmented. Each of those systems only has the data it needs, not a holistic view. In addition, it’s incomplete, outdated, duplicated, or inaccurate to varying degrees across the siloed systems.

The blind spots can leave you unprepared. You might not know who you’re contacting, your contacts’ pain points, or their place in the buyer journey.

Guess who’s left holding the data management bag.

In a recent report by Korn Ferry, only about 25 percent of sales operations leaders indicated they had sufficient tools to supplement CRM functionality, and only 30 percent indicated that their martech was closely integrated with all their applications, including their CRM.

This means that about 75 percent of sales reps are stuck holding the bag.

So here you are, doing the data management work yourself. It’s a serious time suck and one you never get to the bottom of. And, by the way, when you’re inputting your data into your CRM, it’s automatically low quality by virtue of that human interaction. (Sad, right?)

Dirty data means dirty workflows.

No matter how smart you are and despite all your efforts — you aren’t getting a unified picture of your accounts because of this bad data problem. So you’re ill-fated to wing it with hunch-based tactics because you just don’t have the clean and complete data to work smarter.

This means you end up inadvertently spamming your best prospects and customers with inaccurate or irrelevant messages. (And, of course, that’s only when you aren’t wasting your time attempting to update your database manually.)

A sad (yet familiar) bad data scenario for sales reps

Imagine calling up Jack Black at Widget Co to follow up on an email the marketing team sent. But you don’t get a reply. Phone just rings and rings. Emails get lost in the ether. So you give up; move on to the next contact on your list.

Two months later, you find out Jack changed jobs and is now a big wig VP at Gadget Inc. But in that time, a competitor swooped in because they got the news early. They sent Jack a message congratulating him on the new role, maybe they even sent a nice gift, and they continued sending relevant messaging with insights about his challenges at the new company. So your rival wedged themselves into Jack’s circle of trust with relevant and engaging conversations while you never made it to the front door.

And, well, you know the rest of the story.

But don’t close the book just yet.

If you clean up your data mess, you can recover and create a better, happier ending. But here’s the thing: You’re going to have to hand off most of the data cleansing and management to a data provider. And when you do, you’ll thank the data stars – and maybe us? – that you did. (Gift cards are welcome.)

Just make sure you vet the provider for your needs. Below are two things you need to know when choosing your new, improved data solution.

The two things to ask your data provider

1. Get quality data (not just quantity).

Find a data provider that doesn’t just have a large database, but also has quality data. The adage “quality is more important than quantity” holds true in pretty much all things. Data is no different.

There’s a lot of B2B data out there … to put it mildly. There are contacts, intent, company information, and technographics, just to name a few. Those are all important.

Then there are other data you don’t want (but some data providers often give you anyway), like volumes of fictitious companies, legal (paper) entities, stale information, duplicates, low-level contacts, and other irrelevant records.

The data you get shouldn’t include all this useless information. It’s just clutter.

Make sure you get the data that matters most to you, like B2B contact data on key decision-makers and influencers in the buying process.

Harness the right data, and you are armed with the best prospecting intelligence to make smarter, quicker, and more agile decisions that increase your customer base.

Download this checklist to see the 14 types of data that matter most in the B2B world. At Demandbase, we activate this data across our cloud solutions. This Account Intelligence provides you with comprehensive go-to-market support.

2. Get clean data that provides key insights and connections.

It’s not just about having good data. It’s also about how it’s put to use. You need data you can readily act on, knowing that your actions are based on smarter, more agile decisions.

A data provider can give you thousands of details from millions of companies. But you’re still wasting precious time if you have to make sense of it all by yourself.

Look for a provider that can help you put your data to use intelligently.

For example, go with a data provider that does most of the data cleansing in your CRM work for you and provides key insights and connections, freeing you up so you can stop manually researching and updating data and start accelerating your go-to-market with more agile sales motions.

Can the data provider:

  • Match your third-party data correctly to your first-party data, (so your account, contact, and lead data is enriched with deeper insights).
  • Unmask anonymous users to your site, so you can get insights into what companies they are from and who the best contacts are for outreach.
  • Deliver timely intent data that you can act on (i.e., behavior across the web that reveals the accounts interested in your products or services while they are still early in the buyer journey)?
  • Flag relevant activities and news events at your contacts and accounts so you can reach out with value-based messaging as soon as they happen?
  • Utilize predictive analysis to help you unlock a mother lode of new accounts in your ideal customer profile showing sales readiness?

Below are some must-have capabilities you should ask from your data provider.

You should have the ability to:

  • Create data processes to update accounts, contacts, and leads in your CRM with clean data. And you should have the choice of whether those data processes are recurring (scheduled), one-time (bulk), or real-time upon creation (new CRM record).
  • Automate account hierarchies in your CRM to uncover new revenue opportunities.
  • Enrich your leads right after they enter your CRM system.*
  • Score a lead and route it to a nurture program of your marketing automation platform if the score is too low for you to act on.

*With Demandbase, your CRM immediately sends the lead to the Data Cloud where it’s enriched with firmographics, events, and social connections. Then, Data Cloud sends the lead back to your CRM system, where it’s tied to the right account, scored, and routed to the appropriate salesperson.

(If you want to see how these actions are done in Demandbase, download The Data Cloud Playbook.)

Account Intelligence is the antidote to GTM fragmentation.

So have you heard?

When Demandbase joined Demandmatrix and InsideView in the summer of 2021, we became the most holistic data provider (and partner) in B2B, with the richest most reliable insights. And we just keep getting better … and smarter.

We amalgamate all the types of data that matter most in the B2B world. And we turn all that data into Account Intelligence – to provide a deep understanding of your accounts and buying teams. Then, you choose a cloud solution in the Demandbase GTM Suite – advertising, ABX, sales intelligence, or data – to bring that powerful insight into every interaction across the buyer journey.

The result is a streamlined, automated GTM machine that delivers predictable pipeline,

faster growth, and way better buying experiences.

For sales reps, this is huge.

Whether you have simple needs – like automated data cleansing, connecting of leads to your accounts, or scoring based on engagement – or if you want to execute more sophisticated actions – like lighting up your Demandbase dashboard with a big opportunity before it even hits your CRM, orchestrating across omnichannel campaigns, uncovering sales intelligence (e.g., news and events), or flowing leads to automated lead generation campaigns – you can customize the Demandbase platform with any of cloud solutions to suit your goals … and scale over time.

We call it a Smarter Go-To-Market™.

Go ahead. Dig a little deeper with The Data Cloud Playbook.

As this article was all about all the smart things to look for in the data from your provider, we invite you to dig a little deeper with The Data Cloud Playbook. It goes into all the juicy details about how the Demandbase Data Cloud can help you can slam-dunk your GTM workflow and increase total addressable market, conversion rate to pipeline, win rates, and deal size.

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Susan Glenn

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Demandbase

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