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Wednesday 3rd December 2014

With B2B data, there are a host of things to get right when sourcing the data for your campaign regardless of whether it’s a postal campaign, a telemarketing campaign or an email broadcast. There are lots of elements that you’ll need to combine to get it right of course, but the key elements are :-

The right business sector – ensure that these types of business are the right fit for your products and services

The right business size – target business that fit your product – small, medium or large?

The right contact – get the message to the right person – who in the business will be interested in what you have to offer? It’s this 3rd element that is often the downfall of any well intended campaign. It’s ok to get the right sector and the right size of business, but if you get the all important contact wrong, then your campaign won’t get you results you’ve worked hard to achieve. The message may be perfect for the business you’re targeting and you know that they are the right size of company for your services, but have you got the right person? If not, it may well fall on deaf ears and you’ll be left wondering why you’ve not generated the interest you expected. In broad-brush terms, the B2B data market can provide 3 types of contact data :-

Senior decision makers

These largely consist of managing directors, proprietors, senior partners, chairmen, senior directors etc. Targeting a senior decision maker (SDM) is often the right fit if you’re targeting smaller SME’s where the SDM is at the centre of most decisions impacting the overall business. So regardless of what product or service you are promoting, there’s a very high chance that these people will pivotal in the decision making process.

Departmental decision makers

These are the people who hold specific decision making responsibility across a range of functions throughout the business such as Human Resources, IT, Finance, Sales, Facilities, Fleet, Marketing etc. In very simple terms, if you are a selling a cleaning service, you’ll probably want a facilities decision maker or if it’s computer hardware that you are promoting, then an IT manager will naturally be your preference. This is often linked directly to the size of the organisation as the larger a business gets, the more requirement it has for specific decision making functionality – the company is too big for one SDM to call all of the shots

Specialist decision makers Often, due to the nature of your business, you need very specific types of decision makers by job title, not just job function. For example, if you are a first aid training company, you may want health and safety decision makers or if you’re a training company, you may wish to contact the training and development managers, and so on.

In general, the more specific your requirement is for a certain type of contact either by job function or by job title, the more expensive the data can be. This is simply down to supply and demand principles.

Data owners and suppliers respond to what their markets demand, so they’ll channel resources into developing data sets that they know will be largely sought after. This makes sense as they want to have good volumes of data available across the key B2B areas where there is popular and widespread demand, much like a retailer stocking up on their most popular product ranges.

However, suppliers know that data isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ scenario, so they have to also invest time and resource into researching more specific data sets.

A large number of big data owners can usually cater for most of the mainstream job titles  such as MD’s, owners, Finance or HR decision makers, but these types of organisations can sometimes struggle with more niche data sets.

For example, it may be easier for a call centre to telephone verify the contact details of more generic senior decision maker titles than it is for them to research and verify who the right contact is for health and safety.

This is where specialist data owners come into play as they have specific focus on a certain area of functionality with the B2B world such as HR, IT or Fleet decision makers or even more specialist such as legal decision makers.

They will have more of the right type of contact titles than the larger, more generic data providers and can provide a unique fit for your more difficult requirements. But because the data set you require may be very niche, you are likely to pay a more premium price.

 Much like a car showroom, there’s a range of products to suit your needs. In most cases though, there is usually a supplier that has the right data for your campaign, however don’t expect to be drowning in volumes if you’re looking for environmental decision makers because there simply aren’t masses of certain types of contacts available.

So, when you’re planning your next campaign, ensure that you talk to a good data broker and they should be able to guide you through the options available to ensure that you find the right fit for your business. Remember, simply buying lots of volume won’t do the trick if you’re targeting the wrong audience – buying a Ferrari is all well and good if you can afford it, but it’s probably the wrong choice if you just need a car to do the school run…

In data, like many other things in life, less is very often more.

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