A strong data provider will do more than just give you a list of contacts. They’ll partner with you to understand what you want to achieve and provide support along the way to help ensure success.
The next time you’re evaluating a data vendor, ask these 10 questions to ensure you get what you need:
1. What problems can you help us solve?
When selecting a data provider, pick one that understands your team’s goals and can go beyond merely delivering data. Seek out a vendor who can craft a strategy that is rooted in achieving what’s important for you.
In addition to being goal-oriented, a data provider should be able to synthesize key business patterns and trends, to uncover new opportunities, help identify your best target accounts, and provide a full view of each customer. Make sure your vendor understands how to look at the right data, in the right way to produce results.
2. How often do you refresh your data?
Over 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years (Source: MediaPost). Imagine how much information we’ll have two years from now. Most vendors refresh account and contact data monthly. In that timeframe, a lot can change. Select a vendor who uses the latest AI technology to keep pace with such rapid growth more frequently. And if you’re integrating intent data, look for it to be refreshed weekly.
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3. Where do you source your data from?
Legacy data forces buyers to pick between having a small volume of highly accurate information or a large amount of unreliable data. But the trade-off is avoidable with a modern approach to data. Make sure you partner with a modern data vendor who can ingest data from all sources without sacrificing accuracy.
4. How often do you match and scrub your data?
It’s important for business leaders to find a vendor that leans heavily on machine learning to produce the highest match-rate possible. Leveraging AI technology can resolve matching errors rapidly and at scale. (Bonus points if their machines are trained for B2B 😉 ).
5. How many account signals do you follow?
The more wide-ranging attributes your vendor can offer, the more comprehensive a view you’ll get of your target accounts. Choose a vendor that offers a diverse set of signals. Bonus points if a vendor can give you things like marketing sophistication, whether the account is B2B or B2C, growth index, and recent industry news. With that, you can personalize meaningful messages for a much more effective go-to-market approach.
6. Can your data integrate into my existing CRM?
If you can’t import your contact data into your existing CRM, then you’ve got nothing more than a contact list. A study by Software Advice found that “26% of CRM users say that their primary challenge is with system customization and integration”. Be sure your data provider can integrate well into your CRM.
7. Can you track buyer behavior (intent)?
Most sales team knows the frustration of contacting a prospect, only to find out they bought from your competitor a few months earlier or they are just researching with no plans to purchase soon. Understanding a buyer’s intent is super important for any modern sales and marketing team. Very few data providers can actually tell you when people are interested in purchasing a solution, so make sure your provider can offer intent data.
8. What kind of post-sales support can you offer?
When you’re incorporating a new data provider, the data is just the beginning. Support is critical to success, so make sure your vendor is committed to helping you achieve results. Ask how they will collaborate with your company ongoing after the sale is made.
9. How quickly can we implement your system?
Organizations with 80% or more of projects being completed on time and on budget, waste significantly less money from poor project performance (Source: PMI, 2017). Implementing a new system can’t take weeks and months. Today’s data solutions have got to integrate into existing business systems fast and pain-free. Be sure to get crystal-clear on your vendor’s implementation timeline… and be sure it doesn’t take too long.
10. What kind of proof-of-concept do you offer?
Sure… testimonials and demonstrations are great but a confident vendor will give you a pilot period to test out their data IRL (‘in real life’). This pilot is an important step in building confidence it’s the right solution for your team. If the vendor won’t provide a proof-of-concept period… the answer is simple: Pick. One. Who. Will.
Consider this pilot period a ‘stress-test’ for the data. Make sure it is performing as you expected. Don’t proceed until you and your team are comfortable using the various features within the platform. Make sure the tool delivers the kind of accuracy and results you need.
Bookmark This! Snag The ‘Data Buyer’s Guide‘
Clearly, there’s a lot that goes into choosing a data vendor. Asking the right questions before you make any purchase, can ensure you get what you’re after. Keep these 10 questions handy to help safeguard your business against the shortcomings of data providers that just don’t fit your needs.