B2B Data

The Marketing And Sales Data Providers B2B Landscape, Q4 2023: How to Select the Right Provider for Your Needs

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October 11, 2023

4 mins read

Data Provider Selection Blog Feature

The Marketing And Sales Data Providers B2B Landscape, Q4 2023: How to Select the Right Provider for Your Needs

Data has long been the fuel that powers our most groundbreaking technologies and strategies. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in today’s Generative AI craze and the massive appetite that large language models, or LLMs, have for training data.

Be it software solutions, artificial intelligence, or go-to-market (GTM) strategies — the common thread behind the value is quality data. In GTM, data helps businesses find the right people and companies to sell to and make sure they’re reaching them in the right way. The right data underpins everything from building target account and contact lists to fueling sales prospecting and cleaning existing databases. And with buying centers more fragmented and buyer journeys more complex than ever, B2B data must go beyond mere lists of contacts and companies to include things like buying intent and existing tech stacks. 

This is why I was pleased to see Demandbase’s inclusion in Forrester’s recent landscape report on B2B marketing and sales data providers. At a time when data quality and privacy compliance are top of mind for B2B leaders, and generative AI is transforming the way companies use data, the report offers practical guidance on the changing dynamics in the B2B data provider space and how to evaluate potential partners.

Key Capabilities to Look for

Forrester defines B2B marketing and sales data providers as: Solutions that offer comprehensive data, insights, and data management services to optimize marketing and sales efficiency and effectiveness.

Every business has unique goals and challenges, and the report suggests you begin by understanding the key capabilities required for your highest priority scenarios.

There are two categories of capabilities to evaluate. First, the accuracy and completeness of the data across all key data types, and second, the core capabilities of the provider. 

The core B2B data types include:

  • Account Identification: Match unidentified signals to accounts and interpret patterns of engagement
  • Company data: Pinpoint the companies that matter most with information like industry, size, location, and news.
  • Contact data: Connect with decision-makers using data such as name, title, email, and phone, plus social profiles and connections.
  • Technographic data: Know what technologies a company already uses and what they’ll buy next, so you can identify accounts that are the perfect fit for your business.
  • Intent data: Determine which accounts are in-market for the products you sell.

But how do you assess whether a provider can deliver accurate and complete data at scale? Don’t take the provider’s word for it. Don’t just think about the volume of their data — think about the quality as well. In order to select a vendor of choice, you need to get hands-on with sample data sets. Conduct apples-to-apples comparisons with the accounts and buying groups you know best. And ask questions about compliance and privacy practices, especially around contacts.

Forrester recommends evaluating other capabilities as well, including real-time search and import of data, matching capabilities, and native / API integrations. The key is to match the capabilities you need to the use cases you have. 

For example, if sales prospecting is critical, prioritize providers with seamless CRM integration and tools that put AI-driven insights directly into seller workflows. If you’re focused on ICP profiling or territory planning, look for robust firmographic and technographic data you can slice to uncover market potential. And if data unification and quality are top of mind, you’ll focus on API-level integration with CDPs, data lakes, and data warehouses as well as data hygiene capabilities and value-added services.

View Your Data Provider as an Ongoing Partner 

B2B data partnerships can’t be one-and-done purchases. The technology and depth of data you need will change over time. Expect to collaborate closely with providers on privacy standards, product innovation and more value from your data. At Demandbase, we make large investments in these collaborations because they directly strengthen our customer relationships and ability to drive growth. We also don’t try to trick our customers into automatically renewing with complex agreements and overly-aggressive opt-out periods.

In today’s landscape, data providers must be strategic advisors that actively guide customers into the future. Forrester’s report emphasizes the increasing importance of this consultative approach.

Key Takeaways for Selecting Your Next Data Partner

As you dive into vendor evaluations, keep these recommendations from Forrester’s report in mind:

  • Thoroughly vet potential new primary providers, as switching later causes major disruptions.
  • Conduct extensive side-by-side comparisons using sample data sets.
  • Align capabilities to your core business scenarios and requirements.
  • Ask detailed questions about privacy practices and opt-in data collection.
  • Expect significant integration and training investments when changing providers.
  • Seek long-term, consultative partnerships that enhance data value over time.

With the right data partner, your marketing and sales teams will be equipped to identify your total addressable market, refine target account selection, engage elusive prospects, and exceed revenue goals. The data landscape is more complex than ever, but by approaching partnerships strategically, you can thrive in today’s B2B marketplace.

To gain access to the full “The Marketing And Sales Data Providers For B2B Landscape, Q4 2023” report (available to Forrester subscribers or for purchase), visit here

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Jon Miller

Former CMO, Demandbase

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