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Effective B2B Databases - Data Insight and Enhancement

James Crowder | 16 April 2024

The moment has arrived to focus on promoting that new product or solution, the one that the CEO has personally been championing. With everything set in motion, the content finalised and the infographics looking amazing, the question arises - what about the mailing list? Will the one you used a couple of years ago still be ok?

The truth is that it probably won’t, but rushing out to buy a new database is not necessarily the answer. However, sending to a poor quality, outdated or badly targeted mailing list is also a waste of time and money. A more cost effective and less time consuming solution could be to enhance your current database.

How do you want your data to work for you?

We’d all like to think that our database is healthy and well maintained, but the reality is that unless you’ve had a dedicated resource looking after it, then it probably won’t meet all of your requirements.

Do you know your database well? As an example you may have a large database bursting with prospects, but can you segment them by sector, job function, number of employees or turnover? This can be crucial considering that most people receive dozens of sales emails or phone calls every day. You need to ensure that the message you are sending is specific to the prospect...but tailoring your messages can be very difficult if you don’t have all the information you need about the prospect.

You may already have most of the information you require and all you need is the last crucial piece of the puzzle, such as the number of employees the company has, in order to make the campaign work.


Choose the correct data provider

If you don’t have a dedicated resource to look after your database full time, choosing a dependable data partner or agency is essential. A reliable data partner will evaluate your database and help you decide when to enhance what you currently have, and when it’s more beneficial to cut your losses and buy new data.

Although it's difficult, try not to focus on the financial aspects of fixing up a database. It's important to remember that, especially for telemarketing and postal campaigns, the cost of postage or time spent on the phone to the wrong contact will be greater than enhancing that contact now.

So, how do you choose who to work with when there are hundreds of data providers out there, all of them promising the world? Ensure that you do your research and give a prospective provider as many details as possible. Explain the problem you are trying to overcome and listen to the solution they suggest. A sign of a good provider is that they will ask you for more detail and also make suggestions on how to maximise your potential data pool.


Test and evaluate

The initial stage of the enhancement process is to match your existing data against the provider’s data. Some providers may charge for this service, so it’s best to check this before you send your file for matching. However, don’t expect a 100% match rate; a good range to aim for is 60-80%. It's also important to check that the provider can get you the specific enhancements you require for the matched data, for example, turnover or SIC Code. After all, it's no good matching 80% of your data only to find that the provider doesn’t have SIC codes for all that data.

It's often the case that different providers have better coverage in different areas, so always get counts from multiple vendors before you commit to one, or find a trusted data broker to do that job for you.

A word of caution; only send your data to a data provider for appending if you are certain they can be trusted, and always ask for a Non-Disclosure Agreement.


Fueling Insight

By just adding a few fields into your existing database, you will be amazed by the insight you gain into your customer and prospect base. Adding the right fields could ensure a better understanding of your core sectors and identify areas for potential growth in the future. From your own data, you can assess what type of companies provide the largest orders and what type of companies may show low interest.

With ever mounting pressure to show tangible ROI across all business functions, the ability to offer valuable data and insight on the advantages of successful marketing campaigns becomes increasingly crucial.

We explore this further in our guide 'The essential guide to boosting your marketing with optimised data'.


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