“My prospect data is rubbish,” is a common complaint from Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) around the world. It does not matter if you are an SDR in Paris, London, California or Sydney, Australia this is a burning issue for SDRs. You need to make sure your data strategy adds value to your sales development program, rather being an inhibitor to success.
Common sources of prospect data include:
Old prospect data found in your CRM.
For many organisations it makes sense to clean and update their prospect data found in their CRM. The major challenge with updating data in the CRM is it is hard to know how current the information is and therefore the quality of the data. In turn, a substantial part of your time is spent finding and replacing decision makers details, making it a super labour-intensive process.
Old data sources may include former marketing campaign data, whereby the sales team has not followed up the leads, former employees’ contacts which have not been reassigned to another sales executive, contacts from lost deals and so on.
The best thing to do is review a reasonable sample of your data to come to a considered view if it is worth building out and updating or not. You never know, you might find some “diamonds in the rough” making the exercise worthwhile.
Purchase a list from a reputable List Broker.
After reviewing a reasonable sample size of your CRM data you might come to a considered view, that your CRM is not worth updating. Then, you have the option to purchase the data from a reputable list broker. You can purchase prospect data off the shelf, which is substantially cheaper than trying to manually build it.
A good list broker will have a 360-degree view of the data market and all the data sources available to you, rather than dealing directly with a list vendor that only provides its own data set. I have personally used list brokers for years for the simple reason that you can obtain very targeted data, including a general telephone number to get started. As trivial as it sounds to obtain a company’s general contact number, it is so much cheaper to pay 50 cents (ex GST) AUD for a record including a general contact number rather than paying an SDR to build their own record from the ground up, having to use multiple data sources, like Google, company’s websites, Lusha, LinkedIn, etc. Also, increasingly many organisations are not publishing their local head office number on their company’s website. Even worse, when a company serves the consumer market it probably only publishes its customer service number on the website. This means you need to speak to a customer service agent to be transferred to your contact (which is often a fool’s errand because the success rate is so low, particularly when speaking with an offshore contact centre).
You can specify your target market in terms of:
- The number of employees. Whereas, if you filter records by revenue this can limit your data count because private companies are not required to report on this.
- The industry.
- Decision maker type.
- Geographical area. This is important when you have limited resources in certain metropolitan areas, for example, Sydney metro only.
Naturally, buying the data off the shelf is not 100% correct but it is a big step forward compared to having to manually build the data from the ground up.
Manually build prospect data from the ground up.
Some propositions are so specialised that you cannot buy data off the shelf from a reputable list broker and thus need to manually build it. This is often done by starting with a company name, finding the company general telephone number, reviewing LinkedIn to find a contact, and then calling the receptionist to confirm the key contact information, and building out the record accordingly. The nature of the target company, the ability to access a general contact number online, and the receptionist’s willingness to provide personal contact information will dictate the number of completed records per day. This could vary between as little at 10 records to over 150.
Marketing Generated Leads.
At the other end of the spectrum is using prospect data from the marketing department which has used organic or paid advertising to generate a marketing generated lead. Marketers will grade the marketing generated lead to determine if it is ready to be passed to the sales organisation. If it is too early, the marketing department will continue to nurture the lead, until such time as it is ready. Once the lead is Marketing Qualified then it is ready to be handed across to the Sales organisation and Sales Executives accordingly.
The challenge many marketing departments face is their sales organisations do not follow-up the marketing generated leads properly. A sales development capability can help manage this common problem.
As a result of the gap between sales and marketing there is another category of prospect leads, called Dead Leads. These are leads which the Sales organisation has not followed up letting them “die on the vine” or the sales organisation has tried to action these leads, albeit unsuccessfully. Often the leads are a great source of data to prospect on for an SDR when compared to manually building the data from the ground up.
Sales organisations are always trying to find the path of least resistance and are looking for prospect data sets that give them a high chance of success. For example, lost deals are a terrific source of prospect data – if it is kept current. Your Sales Development Representative can help do exactly that.
Alternative Data Sources
Tools like LinkedIn can help you identify the potential decision maker, but you need to connect with the contact to access their contact information. Another way to close this gap is use online sources, for example, Lusha (www.lusha.com) who publish LinkedIn contacts’ email addresses, general phone numbers and direct mobile phone numbers. Naturally, the data in Lusha is not 100% correct but it makes the job of a Sales Development Representative (SDR) that much easier and more enjoyable.
To give your sales organisation the greatest chance of success you need to make sure your data strategy is an enabler, setting up your sales development team to be successful. Decision makers and Senior Executives that are buyers are bombarded with online sales messages throughout their day. Also, with the explosion of communication channels across LinkedIn, Facebook, SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, Work Email, Personal Email, General News, Trade News, etc it has become even more difficult for outbound prospecting to cut through the “noise”. Empower your Sales Development team with good quality prospect data.
David Barlow, Founder & CEO, Ascendia Works, is passion about our clients experiencing outrageous success with their outsourced sales development program.