Playing The Field: How B2B Firms Buy Data And Email Addresses

Oh, those inconstant B2B marketers. A study by Openprise shows that most firms use multiple data suppliers, not just one. And those that do sleep the best at night.

Of the 175 U.S. B2B marketers surveyed, 32% plan to use three providers this year, 14% will use four, and 23% will use five. That means 37% will use four or more. Only 12% will stick with one.

And here’s the warm and fuzzy part: Those that buy data from multiple suppliers are the happiest. Among the companies using four or more, 80% say they are very satisfied, and 16% say they are somewhat satisfied. That comes close to a 100% satisfaction rate.  Moreover, 80% of those using five providers are also very happy. As Openprise writes in the study, out today, “the more the merrier.”

Overall, of course, small companies are the most satisfied— 67% say so. Larger firms — those identified as “enterprises”—are far less sanguine: Only 31% say they are.

This is a critical issue for B2B firms that use the email address for sales and marketing, and as an identifier. Half of the respondents buy data to fill in missing field values like the email address and phone number.

Indeed, missing field values constitute the biggest data shortcoming — 39% say so. Another 41% say missing contacts are the biggest problem, and 20% say incorrect the biggest challenge is field values.

Still, it takes more than that to develop good leads. “Getting the real email address is only a small piece,” said Allen Pogorzelski, vice president of marketing for Openprise, a firm that provides data automation services, in an interview.  

What’s important is “being able to segment before you fire that offer so it really is personalized,” he added. “If you send the wrong offer, it takes one click to opt out, and they’re gone forever.”

Openprise found that 62% of the respondents use data for identifying new contacts within target companies, and 52% for finding new target firms. In addition, as indicated, 50% buy data for appending missing field values, and 37% for cleaning data 

The marketers in this survey do seem a bit primitive in some respects. Of those polled, 40% do manual updates one record at a time. Another 47% perform manual batch updates, and 50% rely on continuous, automatic updates. Five percent are not sure.

What’s more, less than half “leverage third-party data for their Account-Based Marketing efforts, the survey states. “This is perhaps a reaction of the fact that marketers still need time to acquire the techniques and technologies necessary to succeed in ABM.”

Now we come to the fun part: listing the most popular data suppliers. Let’s be clear that we’re talking about one survey here — you may have different favorites. There are no endorsements implied. But with all that said, Zoominfo is the winner. Here are the rankings in terms of usage (again, according to this survey):

  • Zoominfo — 41%
  • InfoUSA — 36%
  • — 35%
  • Salesgenie — 31%
  • D&B/Hoover’s — 30%
  • Leadgenius — 28%
  • Thomson Data — 27%
  • — 25%
  • Mattermark — 23%
  • Avention — 23%
  • Clearbit — 23%
  • Lead411 — 21%
  • Rainking — 20%
  • Syntho/Social 123 — 19%

Now let’s look at enterprise-size companies (5,000 or more employees)

  • Zoominfo — 61%
  • InfoUSA — 44%
  • Salesgenie — 33%
  • — 28%
  • D7B/Hoovers — 28%
  • Lead411 — 17%
  • Leadgenius — 17%
  • Leadramp — 17%
  • Avention — 11%
  • Clearbit — 11%
  • — 11%
  • Inside view — 11%
  • Rainking — 11%
  • Thomson Data — 11%
  • None of them — 11%
  • Mattermark — 6%
  • ORB Intelligence — 6%
  • Synthio/Social 123 — 6%

Does this imply a certain chaos and conflict between companies? Hardly. Pogorzelski noted that they all work together very well. And, overall,  56% are very satisfied with their data supplier(s), and 38% somewhat so. A mere 3% are somewhat dissatisfied. But they need to integrate the data from various sources, Pogorzelski added.

Here's a case in point. Quantcast offers a measurement tool that helps advertisers target more efficiently online. But that expertise didn’t necessarily carry over into its B2B marketing to customers.

“We couldn’t properly segment people,” said Jeff Canada, manager of global marketing operations for the company.

So Quantcast turned to Openprise, and with its help developed personas for segmenting people. In addition to the personas, it has a “generic track for people for whom we don’t have an initial inferred data point,” Canada said. “If there was no job title, they would go into the generic track.”

The result?

The generic track pulled a 1% cickthrough rate, but in the persona-based tracks, “we were getting 5% of the people to click through—sometimes 10%,” Canada said.  

The company sends 500,000 emails per month, and close to five or six million over the course of a year, Canada said.

Quantcast uses multiple data vendors. Why? Because they are good at different things. For example, one supplies “the direct dial phone number that the sales team always wants,” Canada said. “:But its firmagraphic information is bad.”

Openprise helps Quantcast integrate it all. “It’s like a washing machine for the data,” he said. “We run it through and standardize it and homogenies it before I put it into my production system.”

Is Canada happy using multiple vendors, as the survey suggest? “I’m never happy,” he laughed. “But I’m more content the state of my database than I was a year ago when I started.” 

Openprise is about to introduce a product called Data Marketplace that will help companies “work with multiple providers aorchestrate the proses and normalize the data in  a way that is appropriate for their database,” Pogorzelski said.

There are many things to get right when sorting through B2B data from multiple sources. Identifying the right people is one. But you also have to have the right company size — one list might say 1,000 to 2000 employees, and another. 5,000, Pogorzelski said. There’s a running joke in B2B about a company that listed over 200 U.S. states. “When they hit California, they got ten filters to make that work,” he laughed.

Here’s one more key finding: that “only one in three marketers tap data providers for data cleansing purposes,” the study states. “This could be that overall, compared to third-party data, marketers have more faith in data entered by their sales team and captured via web forms.”

Who owns the relationship with data providers? For 58%, it’s marketing. For the remainder, it’s IT (16%), sales (11%), operations (9%) an finance (6%). 

Next story loading loading..