Qualifying data for your marketing campaigns, outbound sales, and business development efforts is much like peeling an onion. There are many different layers of concern. This article will help you understand some of the things you’ll need to be on the lookout for.
There are mainly two aspects when it comes to B2B data: how segmented/ targeted and accurate is the database that you are purchasing, or your in-house database is.
Data goes out-of-date at a rate of about 25-30% every year, because of job changes, personnel moves, promotions, etc. Consequently, it would be best if you thought of data as a “living” source of information. Because there isn’t such a thing as “ready-made” data, organizations must use various methods of software for segmentation and data validation. But those methods also must be paired with human intervention because such tools as predictive modeling and AI and software will never give you the best results.
In our experience, the human factor in ‘validation’ can enable data to perform as much as four times better, in terms of accuracy in both individual and firmographic (company) data. If you are looking for opens, clicks, conversions, closed/won opportunities, and even ROI, it all starts with the quality of the data you are using.
Methods of Segmentation
Segmentation is another word for focus. But it enables you to focus in multiple directions, which is a skill that can help you add scale to your marketing and sales efforts.
There are many ways that segmentation can work. Several of these may include:
This is often one of the most important components of company data. For example, you will not want to approach a technology company in the same way that you would approach a medical organization, and you will want to take a different approach yet if you are reaching out to financial organizations. By “Standard Industrial Classification” (SIC) Code. This is a classification system that may be broken into four-, six-, or eight-digit classifications, depending upon how finely tuned (and how personalized) you would like your message to be. The NAICS (“North American Industry Classification System”) coding system is used by the US federal government to allow for easier comparisons among North American companies. You may want to include such fields as a specific industry and broader verbal description. This may be important in case you are going to share the list with individuals in the company who are not familiar with the previous two methods of identification.
There are multiple things to consider. Text-based titles will give you the ability to include this information (as an aid to personalization) in any deliverable content. If John Smith is the Senior Vice President of Marketing Operations, you don’t want to address him only as “Vice President.”
Your organization may be limited by geography, such as a particular metropolitan area or even states, multi-state regions, countries, or broader categorizations such as North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Asia), or APAC (Asia Pacific).
Typically, companies may be segmented either by total revenue or number of employees.
Verification and Other Considerations
Again, because data degrades over time, it is vital to put any data you will use through a thorough verification service.
Predictive Modeling is a statistical tool that was in fashion several years ago. Predictive analytics is largely a statistical process that can, based on past performance, find individuals or organizations that are more likely to buy, to find what they are likely to buy, how much they are likely to buy, and can even find such things as potential lifetime value.
Intent Data takes that a step further and provides real-life associations. Intent data can tell you if an individual (or individuals in an organization) has been searching for products in your category. That may give your team a leg up on any competition that does not have that information.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest software-based method of analyzing a particular data set. AI can find associations that other means may not be able to see.
All of these methods are useful and can add value to any data that you may purchase.
In many ways, Data Verification is the final and the most important step. A predictive model that says “John Smith is most likely to buy Product X” is not very helpful, if John Smith has moved out of his present position.
In that regard, data that has not been verified recently can be very much out of date. In many respects, this is the most important part of the equation. Verification can be accomplished in a couple of ways:
Each email address can be “ping’d” – that is it is possible to send a ping to an email address, to verify whether it is live or not.
Sending an Email
In some cases, it may be possible to send a third party email to verify if the address is still good or if it will either ”hard bounce” or “soft bounce.”
This is the most useful form of verification. Once all the other methods of segmentation and verification have been completed, humans can do spot-calling and verification of data.
There is more to data than most people understand. Having customized data that has been appropriately segmented and verified can be the difference between success and failure in any particular campaign or sales effort.
The more effort you can put in upfront to understand, to segment, and to verify your data, the better your opportunity for success. On the other hand, generic data comes with many pitfalls and an increased chance for failure.
But with the proper methods, such as segmentation and human intervention, can raise your data quality to the highest level of quality.
IBCConnect is a worldwide leader in Database Management with operations all over the world. We work with over 17% of the Fortune 2,000 firms to fulfill all of their database-related needs for successful marketing campaigns. Our team works with you to build your brand and create market awareness for your business. IBCConnect brings you the best data services, which focus on quality, and market coverage.