As the martech landscape continues to explode, far too often, B2B organizations that invest in the next “big thing” are left with empty promises and sunk costs. While the reasons why may vary, in a vacuum, marketers are constantly looking for the next best solution to help identify and scale existing and emerging channels, engage buyer personas, and measure impact; yet the same professionals have overlooked the importance of contact and account data management.
And make no mistake, contact and account data – information about people and the companies who work for them – is the fuel that drives widely adopted applications (think CRM & Marketing Automation platforms) and creates a singular language between disparate technologies. In other words, you need contact and company information for accuracy, completeness, and uniformity to execute campaigns as well as to understand what’s working and what’s not.
According to Forrester Research’s report, Vendor Landscape: B2B Data Providers, Q3 2017, 84% of organizations admit that the accuracy of marketing data was one of their top marketing weaknesses. “B2B marketers struggle with data because the proliferation of data sources, types, and solutions has outstripped most B2B marketers’ data management skills.”
At the same time, marketers who’ve figured out the data management predicament have a fix: 79% of “very successful” data-driven marketers partner with B2B contact data vendors to optimize data quality.
This is a lot to take it – we get it. Before taking action (don’t call up just any data vendor yet!), we recommend you first boost your overall data management IQ.
Understanding the ins and outs of data management comes down to knowing the current state of your data. This handy glossary reviews the ten key terms that explain the impact of poor data hygiene, how to assess the current state of your database and ways to build an infrastructure that helps manage existing and incoming contact and account information.
1. B2B Data Erosion: Forget all of the hazards around incoming information your marketing and sales efforts yield, B2B data decay of existing information creates significant problems for organizations. Consider that, on average, data decays about 2% per month, which means more than 20% of your data will become unusable in a year. ZoomInfo research found 87% of marketers admit their database needs improvement; yet half of the same organizations say they have neither the time nor the resources to manage outdated information.
The ripple effect is clear: Data decay affects everything from productivity to email sender scores to ROI. Every time a job title, email address, or direct dial phone number changes, sales and marketing professionals have their hands tied.
2. B2B Data Vendor: In essence, the job of your B2B Data Vendor is to help you validate, update, normalize and segment new and incoming contact and account information flowing through your applications. But not all such data is created equal. Likewise, not all data vendors can provide you with both the quality and quantity of data you need to effectively fulfill your marketing purpose.
3. Data-as-a-Service (DaaS): A subscription-based partnership with a B2B Data Vendor that delivers data appending and validation capabilities to an organization’s technology stack on an on-going basis via webhooks and APIs. For example, DaaS vendors can help organizations manage accurate contact and account data directly within a company’s preferred CRM workspace, both in real-time and periodically scheduled “clean” jobs.
4. Usable Contact Inventory: Contact data is a dime a dozen; but contact data that’s truly usable –personalized, actionable, all while seamlessly fitting into your particular marketing workflow – is a whole new ball game. B2B Data Vendors help ensure your contact data is usable, both as it enters your application(s) and over time.
A vendor’s ability to do so depends on their internal Usable Contact Inventory, which is the pertinent coverage of buyer personas in your Total Addressable Market (bonus term!) that has been verified within at most 12 months. This relevant form of data includes necessary details such as contact information (email and phone number), job function, management level, and so on.
5. Usable Account Inventory: Similar to Usable Contact Inventory, Usable Account Inventory refers to account data that accurately reflects the coverage of buyer personas in your account universe. This type of data includes a thorough representation of account firmographics (characteristics of organizations such as revenue, territory, department structure and company size) as well as account technographics (deep insights into the tools and technologies a company uses, such as CRM tech organizations use to power their initiatives).
6. Data Normalization: If lead generation, reporting, and measuring ROI is important to your marketing team, then data normalization matters. A lot. In simplest terms, data normalization is the process of creating relativity and context within your marketing database by grouping similar values into one common value (think: standardization).
As for what causes a lack of normalization – most often, three common means of data collection can lead to issues: web forms, live events such as trade shows, and manual or “batch uploads.” And because necessary marketing initiatives, such as real-time personalization, lead scoring and routing, and reporting depend on standardized data sets, data vendors that are can normalize (i.e. make your data more usable) are essential.
7. Database Audit: As much as 40% of all B2B leads contain bad data. In an ideal world, a data vendor will conduct a complimentary Database Audit that uncovers holes in your existing database and identifies trends within your customer base. The report should walk you through, on a field-by-field basis, precisely what information within a contact or account record a vendor can help append, update, and confirm.
8. Match Rate: Following a database audit, it’s preferable for a data vendor to reveal their Match Rate or the rate at which the vendor can match information in their database to the database of the customer. Not all “matches,” however, are created equal. Establishing the match rate is critical for knowing precisely which fields a vendor matches to and if the correlation between databases brings in new information that meets your needs.
9. Cost Per Match (CPM): Similarly, not all “matches” are priced equally. The Cost Per Match (CPM) is the actual cost you are spending per updated record, with a vendor’s match rate directly impacting the cost per match.
10. Prospecting Intelligence: One of the defining functions of marketing is to assist sales in closing more deals with the right prospects. For sales to do so – faster – it’s paramount to adopt a continuous prospecting strategy to find potential buyers through various methods, including cold calling and email outreach.
This is where a marketer’s ability to ensure and streamline Prospecting Intelligence comes in. As the term implies, Prospecting Intelligence augments outreach efforts with detailed information on a specified contact record, including accolades, certifications, employment history, and more. Through quality conversations with qualified consumers, this level of intelligence via granularity enables sales reps to be more effective and productive. It’s an all-around a win.
So, where do you go from here?
If you’re in the market for a data vendor, look to the terms outlined in this glossary and use them to ensure your data can be all of properly appended, updated, confirmed, and segmented in real-time.
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