Building a Sales and Marketing Database
So you’ve been asked to build up and deploy a sales and marketing database for your company, sounds daunting doesn’t it? Particularly if you have no experience of how to start the process or a set of relevant criteria markers to set you on your way. How and where should you be looking for the right prospects? Will the data be sufficiently accurate? And after all the time and resources spent, will building a database from scratch really be worth the time and effort invested over other options?
These are exactly the type of questions you should be asking yourself as you build your database. This blog will help you on your way to realising that building your sales and marketing database doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think.
Before we get on to explaining the ‘how’ of building a dataset however, it’s important to consider the ‘why’. Establishing a set of measurable criteria before starting this process will ensure a smoother process.
What am I trying to achieve through my Sales and Marketing Database?
As with most tasks in business, it’s much easier to reach your goals if you’ve set yourself measurable indicators and realistic target specifications. In our case, different objectives will dictate the type and depth of data required in order to achieve success.
When asking yourselves the ‘why’ of building your respective datasets, there’s a whole plethora of considerations you should be undertaking:
- Who will you be supplying the data to within your organisation?
- Are you building a specific marketing list for a campaign or event? Or will you be regularly contacting them with updated product offerings?
- Will the data be processed for an internal or external sales team? What sort of access or view will they have? Exactly how will the data be used?
- Once you compile your marketing list, how will this evolve your data strategy going forward?
- How big is your target market? Are you initially looking at a smaller segmented niche audience? Or are you looking for lists with broader contact numbers and information?
- Will the initial database be used as a test sample? Are you trying to test out potential markets that you haven’t explored before? Will you use different marketing strategies to observe how your messaging is received within a new audience?
- Or is this list designed to augment your market presence within a core business segment you already dominate?
- Are there any legislative or regulatory concerns you should be taking into consideration around purchased data?
All of these questions should be going through your head as you go through the process of building your new database. Now, without further ado, let’s take you through the process of ‘how’ to exactly create and bolster your sales funnel.
Option 1: Purchasing Contact Databases Directly
Without doubt, the easiest most efficient method of building a sales and marketing ready database straight off the bat. There are plenty of options out there when it comes to purchasing B2B data. Many companies already promote datasets that include direct dial phone numbers and verified email addresses within the range of market segments that you’re targeting.
Of course, with greater ease of use and accessibility comes a higher variance in price ranges. Much will depend on whether you’re looking to purchase technology-generated marketing lists or human-verified ones that are likely to provide greater accuracy and contextual information such as intent data. Another aspect that will factor into pricing is how much data you’re looking to purchase.
If you’re looking for a database that you can instantaneously market to, with the right number of prospects and relevant accompanying information, this is the best option to take. Providers like ZoomInfo already offer high quantities of potential leads that include attributes that will further help you to segment your search, such as job titles, internal company functions, corporate hierarchies and more.
Option 2: Manually Building your own Sales and Marketing Database
If you don’t have the funds to spare or find that the companies you target have publicly available data and you’re willing to absorb the time and effort, then building your database manually may offer you a better alternative.
This option presents a better framework for small to medium-sized businesses that have a wide variety of data collection points available to them. It’s optimal in terms of cost-effectiveness, as it requires greater inputs of time over money.
It does however, present its own drawbacks in areas that we’ve already mentioned above, time and resources. The compilation of suitable data on the right leads and prospects is a time-consuming effort and that’s if it’s done correctly to begin with. Aside from the man power required in trawling online for individual accounts, it’s also extremely difficult to gauge the quality of data that you’re adding to your lists at any one time. Therefore, if enough care is not taken, you could end up spending weeks or even months collating data that has no end user worth at the end of the process. This is where tools like NeverBounce prove their worth as they allow you to verify email addresses and show those that are safe to contact and those that are not.
In summary, this is an option that requires a certain level of preparation and careful planning, when done correctly it presents a cost-effective option. However, it does pose a greater burden on time and resources, at least initially. As with all datasets, it’s of utmost importance to keep on top of your leads and prospects account information as data will tend to decay and lose relevance over time.
Any marketing professional will tell you that maintaining accurate data is crucial to outreach and prospecting efforts. Therefore it’s vital that you periodically monitor and update your accounts to maintain the reliability of your database.
Option 3: Pay for individual contacts or ‘one-off’ lists
If you’ve looked online, chances are you’ve come across companies that market options to purchase individual contacts or ‘pay per account’. Similarly to building your own dataset, these options are good places to start if you’re keeping a close eye on expenditure and need a few contacts to phase out some marketing activities or are looking to extend product offerings to very select market groups. Research suggests that, on average, you can expect to pay around £1 per contact or account for good B2B data.
While this may seem like the most attractive proposition in terms of ease of access and expenditure, it should be noted that ‘pay per contact’ data tends to be less reliable than the data purchased from ready built databases. While it will provide you with a good group of contacts to action some marketing activities around, the depth and volume of the data will probably be insufficient to build a sales funnel lead generation strategy around.
If you have doubts around any of the marketing lists you’re looking to buy, always make sure to check the legitimacy of the company you’re looking to buy from, either from LinkedIn or review sites like G2 Crowd.
Option 4: Building a good Inbound Marketing Strategy
Ultimately, this is the best and most organic way of gathering and collating new contacts to your marketing lists. In order to obtain a good inbound marketing strategy, it’s important to publish thought provoking content that will grab your target audience’s attention and persuade them to subscribe to your gated content, be it through blogs, podcasts or webinars.
While this approach will only cost you the price of a good copywriter, it requires a significant time investment. Attracting a consistent target audience will not occur instantaneously. In addition, opt-in marketing lists are built over a much longer cycle and at a much slower rate. So pinning your hopes on generating a sales-ready pipeline on organic traffic is unlikely to reap dividends, at least in the short term.
Inbound marketing is a useful tool to augment your list building activities and should be used at every available opportunity. However, any returns you’re likely to see from this approach will take time to bear fruit. As such, you should not be solely depended upon during the initial phase of building your datasets.
Remember to update and validate your database on a regular basis!
If you purchased a database that offers full-cycle sales intelligence, make sure you receive data that has been updated periodically. Companies such as ZoomInfo erase outdated data through the use of connectors and integrations that plug-in to CRM or Marketing Automation Systems in order to keep their databases clean and up-to-date.
Aforementioned tools such as NeverBounce are also helpful additions when it comes to verifying the validity of email addresses in your datasets.
Finally, if you do decide to build your database manually, remember to develop a method that will help you to update your data at least every 90 days, removing customers who are no longer active or relevant. This will ensure that your sales teams are able to perform optimally as they won’t waste time contacting accounts that hold inaccurate data.