As data availability has increased, so have the number of providers. How do you determine which one will provide the highest return for your company? The answer isn’t black and white. There are many factors in determining which data provider is the best choice for your organization. We believe addressing the following 5 steps will help you focus on what matters the most.
Size and type of data
The breadth and depth of data points should align to the purpose for the data. Do you need specific locations, companies, methods of contact, account information or behaviors? Is there a volume of records to effectively gauge trends or satisfy lead counts for marketing and sales teams? Just because a provider has a large number records, doesn’t mean the majority of those will be the ones you need. Ask for a percentage breakdown by industry, target market, occupational title or any other specific demographics required to meet your objective.
How many meetings have you attended where the conversation ends without a decision due to data inaccuracies? It is a constant challenge and while no one is perfect, look for the providers dedicated to frequent updates. They will be closest in accuracy. Typically, these are the companies with a contributory database model where files and information are continually flowing into the system. During your research process, ask about data refresh and contribution to get a sense on how confidently you’ll be able to make decisions on the information provided.
While many data providers are focused on simply selling data lists and reports, the more advanced players have woven in capabilities like predictive modeling and artificial intelligence. Sure, it’s great to have the right contact information, but there are endless additional benefits when you know even more about the contact. What if you could analyze what has already taken place and what may happen in the future? For example, Cortera predicts the health of a business through analysis of its spend; this helps their customers identify the best opportunities for revenue growth while mitigating operational risk.
Innovation and support
As with any new system, there will be a learning curve for those using it the first time. Important questions to ask your provider is if they have a training program and/or what self-serve tools are available? Is there a dedicated point of contact for questions along the way? You will want quick wins. How fast will you be able to yield results and how simple is the integration? Also, you’ll want to understand how dedicated they are to ongoing innovation and enhancements. Do they have a product roadmap? How do they communicate enhancement plans? Is there a mechanism for customers to provide comments or ideas?
Pattern of growth
In order for a database to stay relevant, it needs to continually evolve and expand. Take a look at how far your potential provider has come over the past 5, 10+ years, and make sure there has been significant growth. If they haven’t proven success in expanding over time, you may find that while they are an option today, they may be unable to deliver future results as your business continues its data evolution.