If you’re trying to tie up some new business, databases and tools that serve up contact information can be investments that deliver incredible return on investment. But not if they’re inaccurate.
Hitting roadblocks because you’re making prospecting calls from a call sheet that’s full of bad data is frustrating, especially when those numbers are pulled from your business lead software. Here are some ways penny-pinching sales intelligence tools cost you more than you save by buying on price.
You waste time chasing people who no longer exist in the target company
When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? When you got your current job? When you left your last one? How about before that? The truth is that social profiles like LinkedIn are almost always months—if not years—out of date, so why would you rely on them to tell you whether your prospect is the right decision maker to target. Corporate websites are rarely better maintained, with About Us pages regularly featuring inaccurate, incomplete or out of date information.
If you have a sales enablement tool you’re already more likely to be getting better intelligence, but even then, many of these software tools simply “scrape” social sites and web pages, and rely on users reporting bad data every day (which is why they say the data is updated daily). If you’re looking for a business contact list for your prospecting efforts, try to find one that uses humans to proactively update and verify its database.
You waste time chasing companies who don’t have budget right now
There are two boxes to check for sales:
- does your prospect have the need for what you’re selling?
- do they have the financial capability to purchase it?
For B2B, the purchase usually needs to be budgeted somewhere, which means you have to reach the decision maker at a time when they’re planning their goals, looking at what resources will help them beat their goals, and how those solutions will fit into their budget. That time can vary from company to company and from brand to brand. Some plan in Q4 for the next fiscal year, some, particularly outside the U.S., might use a financial or tax year budget process that doesn’t always begin on January 1. Not everyone you might reach in an organization will know their planning periods, and those that do might not be willing to share that information with you. There are other places to mine that data, but it can be time consuming to find, and may still be inaccurate.
It’s doesn’t help you understand if you’re a good fit for their portfolio
If you’re an agency, knowing which brands use services you offer is the most effective way to focus your new business development efforts. If you’re on the other side, it’s good to know which agencies provide the services your brand needs. You’ll be happier if you can prioritize the relationships that can be most beneficial for both parties. Beyond that, it’s not unusual for agencies to specialize in a specific area beyond their focus discipline: multicultural marketing, consumer packaged goods, retail, technology…a mutual understanding of the space and how competitors shape up helps both sides decide whether the relationship is worth pursuing. Being able to disqualify early leaves you open to pursue other opportunities that fit your brand’s goals and portfolio.
It doesn’t help you understand who the actual decision makers are
Sometimes the decision maker isn’t who you think. In a lot of organizations, software—no matter who the beneficiary department—is under the purview of the IT director or VP. So if you’re selling accounting software to the finance department, that’s great, but it could be that the IT guy has the final decision.
If your sales enablement software doesn’t help you find that person, what good is it? If you’re determined to track down the person in the veep-suite who’d be most likely to use what you’re selling, you might end up with a great business relationship with someone who can’t authorize the purchase without other authorizations.
It causes frustration and demotivation among your sales team
Your sales team make their money by selling. Every time they call a dead number, every hour they have to spend researching better call lists…those are precious minutes when your company’s lack of a reliable contacts database is hitting them in the pocket. As those minutes add up to hours, they also add up to lost commissions that are easily blamed on a lack of investment in the right tools. Maybe another organization will be more willing to invest a few more dollars, knowing it will make a huge difference to whether they limp past their sales goals or have them crushed and recycled by the end of Q1.
Whatever sales intelligence tool you opt for, buying on price is a bad idea. The resources needed to human-verify tens of thousands of records every year doesn’t come cheap, so make sure you demo those solutions thoroughly and compare them to each other.
If the difference is a few hundred thousand dollars in unrealized sales, it’s worth taking the time to be thorough.