Few people can afford to be as overindulgent as to buy something just for the sake of it, especially if it is a product or service that they have no or little use for themselves. Of course, some people will buy clothes that are a few sizes too small in the hopes of losing weight and one day fitting into it, but no woman in her right mind will shell out money on a pair of expensive shoes that are three sizes too small for her feet.
Yet, when it comes to buying data for the purpose of generating leads, going for "shoes that will never fit" is exactly the type of mentality that some businesses display with the type of data they buy. Many companies appear to be simply buying data to populate databases with e-mail addresses and telephone numbers so that they can send out the e-mails and make the calls.
Quality over quantity
Not only is buying data merely for the sake of it a waste of money, but also of time and effort. It is also completely counter-productive, because chances are that you are only going to end up with the incorrect information and have a lot of outdated data on your hands after spending all that time and money and going to all that trouble. Less is more. When it comes to data, quality over quantity is important.
Indeed, research from a study conducted by CSO Insight revealed last year that 42% of sales reps found that they don't have the right information before they make the call, and said that they were spending 20% of their time doing their own research on prospects to try to make sense of the information they had on the prospects.
But there is more to data than just getting hold of the right person at the right number or e-mail address. Even if the contact information is correct, you might catch your prospect at the wrong time. Say for example that your prospect has just bought enterprise software for all his company's computers. If you call up a few weeks later, with the same product, he is obviously going to say no. That doesn't mean he won't be interested again in one year's time, or whenever the license on the existing software expires. But he will not be telling you to call back in a year's time. He is simply going to tell you that he is not interested and it will be your job to find out if that meant a full out rejection, or if his company does indeed buy those products and that he therefore might be interested later, and if so, when?
When to contact prospects
It might seem difficult, but there is a way to answer those questions, and it's called behavioural intent data collecting. In a nutshell, this is data that can help marketers determine exactly when to reach out to prospects with exactly the products or services they are in the market for based on their past and existing purchasing behaviour. Business to consumer (B2C) marketers have been employing this method for a while already. It is only just recently that business to business (B2B) marketers have caught on that it will work for them too.
And work is the key word here. At the end of the day, when you combine all the information you have on your prospects, it ought to work for you and generate a result: which is a sale. And that is when you know that you have the right information and that you are utilising it correctly.