You don’t need a data vendor. You need a data partner.

By January 8, 2019
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I bought a new TV recently. I met with a salesperson and came home with a top-of-the-line model. It’s nice, but I’m not kidding myself. It’ll be out of date in no time.

Until recently, B2B data was like my TV: a rapidly aging commodity, incapable of updating itself. And B2B data vendors? They were like that sales guy: around long enough to sell me that commodity, and then… on to the next buyer.

Not so anymore.

How to recognize a modern data partner

Modern data is different. It’s “modern” because, unlike my TV, it’s a living representation of reality that changes with time, not an object capable of decay.

That’s why a traditional data vendor selling a traditional commodity won’t cut it these days. As organizations find themselves navigating intensely competitive markets, they need expert guidance, not a ream of Excel spreadsheets that require superhuman effort to ingest. What these organizations are looking for is less “vendor,” more “member of a team.” Less “transaction,” more “relationship.”

In fact, modern data buyers don’t call their vendor a vendor at all. They call them Bob or Mary or Matt, because a good modern data partner becomes just as integrated in an organization as the guy at the next desk. Just as invested. Just as clear on corporate objectives. They work within their buyers’ organizations to operationalize data across dozens of teams, each with different priorities, use cases and proprietary workflows. Somewhere along the line, they simply stop feeling like a vendor and start feeling like a key part of the organization’s success.

On a micro level, this partnership helps each team within an organization learn how to leverage data in a way that’s relevant and meaningful for their specific wedge of the enterprise; on a macro level, this is a partnership that helps enterprises move faster, make smarter decisions, and build resilience against competitors.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if I don’t have the most up-to-date TV. As long as it plays Grey’s Anatomy, it does what I need it to do.

Not so with data. If it isn’t up to date and seamlessly operationalized within your organization, the consequences matter. That’s why I urge you to stop shopping for commoditized data. Instead, build a relationship with a modern data partner. Every team within your organization will thank you, and your competitors will wonder how you suddenly got so good, so fast.

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