Lisa Smith It Takes Data

It’s Ironic: It Takes Data to Be Personal

By Lisa Smith, InsideView

It’s a well known fact: buyers today don’t have the time or patience for generic marketing messages and sales pitches. They want — and expect — an experience that’s tailored to their needs, with just the right information at the right time.

It’s ironic that to deliver such a personalized experience, sellers and marketers need data —  a lot of data. Why? Because you need to know as much as you possibly can about your prospective buyers, their challenges, and their readiness to buy to be able to meet them at that magic moment when the right solution arrives at just the right time.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of data available today — in fact, an explosion of data. Over the past 10 years, the amount of data generated has grown 5000% and, according to IDC, in the next three years it will grow more than in the previous 30 years.

What type of data are we talking about? The type of data B2B sellers and marketers need to get personal. Let’s break it down.

First Party Data

There are two primary types of data — first party and third party. We’ll start at the logical beginning with first-party data.

First party data is the information you already have about your accounts and leads, data you collect in your CRM and marketing automation systems, data about their responses to your advertising, email and other marketing campaigns, and data about web visitor activity – much of which is anonymous.

It’s highly valuable, but your first party data has weaknesses. It only tells you about the companies and contacts you already know or who have already found you. What about all the companies and contacts you should know — those who aren’t in your database that you should be targeting?

What about your behavioral data? It’s helpful if you know who is behind the data, but much web browsing is done anonymously and you only know those who fill out a form.

Lastly, what about the quality of your first party data? It was probably fairly accurate when you first gathered it, but B2B data is constantly decaying, as much as 70% per year according to one study by Biznology. And first party data is notoriously incomplete, lacking critical pieces of information, such as company size, revenue, industry information, job titles, contact information, and more.

To get a complete picture of your ideal buyers — who they are, what they need, and when they need it — you need to augment your first party data with high quality third party data, and there are five kinds that the modern B2B seller should have.

Third Party Data

Firmographic data

Firmographic data is to companies what demographic data is to people. It’s information about a company’s industry, number of employees, revenue, location, and financials. You use firmographic data to make a first cut at which accounts you should be targeting.

Are your ideal customers a certain size, in certain industries, or geographies? Firmographic data can help you find prospects that look like your ideal customers.

Firmographic data can also include unstructured data such as news and social insights that give you a glimpse into what a company is currently doing and thinking about. Perhaps you only want to target companies in a high growth phase. News about expanding operations can help you narrow your list of prospects to those you really want to target.

Some data providers also offer corporate family trees (or account hierarchies) that show you how companies are related in terms of ultimate parent, parent, and subsidiary. This information can be extremely valuable for unearthing upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Technographic data

If you sell technology products or services, technographic data is a goldmine. It tells you about the technologies already installed at a company and it’s another filter you can use to find more companies that match your ideal customer profile (ICP) or to narrow a list and eliminate those who don’t.

Does your solution only work with certain CRM systems and not others? Wouldn’t it be great to know which of your prospects use the complementary systems? Armed with that knowledge, you can focus on prospects who can actually use what you offer and, just as importantly, weed out those who can’t. What a time saving!

The best technographic data takes “install base” data one step further, offering insights into future technology needs, predicting the next technology purchase, IT spend, and more.

Our own data scientists have determined that there’s as much as a 95% correlation between technographic data and accounts that are in your ICP. What does that mean? It means that when you add technographic data to your ICP filters, you have a 95% chance of getting your targets right, making this type of data a top priority for technology companies that want to grow rapidly, at scale. And who doesn’t want that?

Account Identification

Back to the earlier point about most of your web traffic being anonymous. Account identification data maps those unknown visitors to their companies, so you can begin targeting those interested accounts before they raise their hands.

As we’re all painfully aware, today’s buyers are well along in their buying journey before they’re willing to speak with a sales person. You can get ahead of that curve by identifying the accounts they belong to, so you can feed them top-of-the-funnel information that’s non-intrusive, but relevant to their interests. It’s one powerful way to tailor your outreach to match their needs and timing.

Intent data

Intent data is like your first-party web visitor data on steroids. It informs you about the content your potential buyers are consuming, not just on your website, but all over the web and it can indicate that they are getting ready to make a purchase. For example, a company might be reading articles and whitepapers, listening to podcasts, and consuming other web content about data management topics — data management best practices, data management strategies, data management technologies, etc. If you’re a data management technology provider, like we are, you would be interested in knowing who these companies are.

More importantly, when a cluster of people who work at that company show a sudden spike in activity around that topic, that’s an even stronger signal that the company is shopping for a data management solution, and you’d be very interested in knowing who they are. That’s the definition of intent data.

Intent data helps you personalize your outreach by signaling the right time to reach out, so you can show up at just the right time with the right solution to create that magic moment. 

Contact data

Finally, once you know which accounts you should be focusing on, you need to know the people to target within those accounts. Contact data includes job titles and job levels to help you identify the individuals who may be interested in your offering and also others who are likely to be on the buying committee.

Contact data also includes essential information to help you engage, such as location, social handles, email addresses, office and direct phone numbers. What good is it to know who you should contact, if you have no way to engage?

Wrap up

Want to deliver an irresistibly personalized experience to the best possible buyers, just when they need to hear from you? Get your hands on these five types of data and learn to use it. It will guide you to the right companies and people, the right sales motions, and the right timing.

Data will eat the world, as our CMO, Jon Miller says, and the companies that will win are the ones that take best advantage of the data. 

Need help getting started with your data strategy? InsideView data consultants are here to help.

Lisa Smith Headshot Circle

Lisa Smith

VP Growth Marketing, InsideView

For more than a decade, Lisa Smith has been driving revenue growth through innovative marketing with a laser focus on measurable impact. She views sales as her customer, and alignment with sales as a critical element of success.