Category Archives: Business Data Management

Try Before You Buy: Data Sampling Strategies

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Becoming a better data buyer: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV Try Before You Buy: Data Sampling Strategies to Keep Your Data Vendor Honest Last week’s post covered the different types of data vendors and the pros and cons of working with each of them. Regardless of which type you use, you’ll want to get a sample data set and put your vendor to the test before you purchase your list. Why sample? Once you’ve identified a few suitable vendors, try to resist the temptation to buy a big list from one of them and blast the whole thing right away. Remember that the goal of sampling is to make sure a vendor has what you need … and it’s also an opportunity for you to do some pre-campaign testing -- to ensure both the quality of the data and the accuracy of any vendor guarantees (such as average delivery rate). Sampling can also provide a window for you to test your messaging before your full campaign launches. But remember, in order to be statistically valid, the only variable at play should be the list itself. And it’s very important to have your vendor create your sample on the fly … even while on the phone with you, if possible. Don’t give them time to “rig” your sample! The three “S”s of smart sampling: Size: In general, the size of your sample lists should be about one percent of the total size of list you intend to buy: ideally at least 100 records per sample. That should be enough to give you a good idea of the data’s consistency, but don’t sweat it if your samples are smaller. Selects: If multiple contact methods, or touch points, are required to execute your campaign (for example, email, phone and mailing address), make sure your list samples include each as a select. This can also help you uncover any “hidden” costs you may incur later, as some vendors charge differently for different selects. Send: For the best results, test each of the contact methods you intend to use. This can be time-consuming for phone and address, but you’ll at least want to test a handful -- say, 10 from each list -- to make sure that direct phone numbers, for example, are indeed direct calls and an IVR (interactive voice response) menu or a receptionist. And if, when you call, you get the “she no longer works here” response, see if you can ferret out when the person left. If it was years ago, you’ll get some insight into the “age” of the data. Track the results and compare them to see if your vendors’ delivery rates are on target with their guarantees. Then determine which list performs the best against your campaign’s goal metrics. Using these strategic sampling techniques will help you choose the best vendor and list. Next week, we’ll look at ways to negotiate pricing with your vendor to ensure that you get what you’re paying for, before and after the sale. Also read "Becoming a better data buyer" Part II: Why You Should Consider the Source When Buying Data Anncy Graziano is ZoomInfo’s Manager of Data Services Operations.
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Accelerate Revenue with Intelligent Prospect Data Management

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Wednesday April 27, 2011 2:00 PM ET Sign Up for the Webinar Now Are you getting the most out of your prospect database? Chances are, probably not. Every working hour 5,769 individuals will change jobs, 240 businesses will change addresses and 20 will ultimately fail. The pace of business transformation is so great that even the most current prospect database will begin its rapid decay if not monitored closely. But how can this vast information change be managed as to ultimately accelerate your company's revenue? Tomorrow join Allison Shaffer, Group Manager of Marketing and Analytics at Cisco Webex and ZoomInfo's own VP of Sales, Brett Wallace, as they present tips for removing the prospect database albatross from your company's neck so that true and measurable gains can be made from square one - the information you have in your database system. Get a sneak preview of the presentation below. [slideshare id=5727945&doc=sales-and-marketing-alignmentebook-101110103203-phpapp02&w=425]

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Resellers, Aggregators, Brokers, Oh My! Why You Should Consider the Source When Buying Data

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Becoming a better data buyer: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV Know Thy Source Last week, I mentioned that it’s important to know the origin of the B2B data you’re buying. In this week’s post, you’ll learn about the different types of data vendors and some things to keep in mind when working with them. 1. Owners: There’s a big advantage when you buy your list from a vendor who owns the data they’re selling: it’s accuracy. We’ve all played the game “telephone,” where information passed from person to person is amusingly distorted by the time it gets to the last person in the line. The same thing happens with B2B data. The Good: Generally speaking, the closer a data vendor is to the ultimate source -- the individual or company whose information appears in your list -- the more accurate the data will be. Here’s why: data owners are responsible for compiling, de-duping, tagging, filtering, verifying and updating their data. Take email addresses, for example. Say you want a list that records that are new (added to the vendor’s database within the last month). Only a data owner has access to such fine details about records. Owners of data are intimately familiar with every aspect of their information-gathering and verification processes. Ask them. They should be more than willing to provide specifics. Lastly, data owners are usually quick to resolve any problems. Inaccuracies that are found can be immediately corrected (it’s in their best interest to do so!), and they’ll have the most flexibility for negotiating make-goods. The Bad: One possible downside of working with a data owner is that many (a professional association that sells its membership list, for example) do not use other sources against which data can be verified. The ideal data owner is one that verifies information against multiple independent sources, such as company Web sites, news articles, etc. And if your list vendor allows individuals or companies to easily update their own data, that’s an added advantage that drives superior data accuracy. 2. Brokers & Resellers: The Good: Many brokers and resellers -- or the middleman between you and the ultimate source of the B2B data you are buying -- offer value-added services for clients, including special tools for uploading and managing data, and dedicated account managers. Keep in mind that part of your purchase price covers these services, whether or not you need or use them. The Bad: A major disadvantage of working with data brokers and resellers is their lack of familiarity with the data. They may not know how often their list sources update or verify information, if at all. And, like in the game of “telephone,” data accuracy may be questionable because the broker has no accountability for the data quality. These data sellers must also mark up list costs to drive their profits. So the same data you’d buy from an owner for $X/name may cost you $X + X%/name via a broker or reseller. 3. Aggregators: The Good and Bad: The biggest benefit of buying data from an aggregator -- which usually includes a plethora of sources -- can also be the biggest drawback. You can buy boatloads of data from aggregators. However, there are often duplicate or conflicting records between aggregated sources, which can dramatically reduce your campaign’s success metrics. Here’s another issue: information obtained from multiple data owners (each fielding, tagging and displaying information differently) is not standardized, making it difficult, if not impossible, to successfully import data to your CRM or SFA system. Additionally, aggregators are often severely restricted in what they can sell. (This is also true for brokers and resellers.) For example, although a particular piece of information may be included in the data set you receive, such as company size, the aggregator may not have the rights to provide that data as an individual select. Data owners and resellers -- from whom aggregators get their data -- protect their own list business by limiting the ways in which other vendors are able to slice and dice their data. Aggregators may also have minimum purchase requirements, and are generally less flexible in their ability to negotiate pricing. So how do you decide if your data vendor is right for you? Stay tuned. Next week, we’ll tell you exactly what to ask your vendor when you buy samples, and give you guide to to keep them honest. Also read "Becoming a better data buyer" Part I: Three Tips for Creating Winning Lists Anncy Graziano is ZoomInfo’s Manager of Data Services Operations.
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Data Buying Triple Crown: Three Tips for Creating Winning Lists

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Become a Better Data Buyer: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV Picture this: You’ve budgeted for a multi-touch marketing campaign this quarter. You’ve got the messaging strategy, the goal metrics … and the sales staff is chomping at the bit to follow up on all of the leads your campaign will generate. The only missing ingredient -- the list -- is also the most important, often the most expensive and (more often than not) the most difficult to find. How do you find the best list, for the best price and get the best results? In this 4-part  series -- the first installment of which follows -- we’ll reveal everything you need to know to become a better data buyer. *************************************************************************** Define Your Goals Having your goals locked down ahead of time is a great first step in finding the best list. Whether it’s net revenue or total sales, with your team’s average conversion rates and results from past direct marketing efforts, you can back out the metrics to determine the size of list you’ll need. But don’t rush out and buy it just yet, you’ve still got to find the right vendor. Keep in mind these three tips when selecting your list vendor and list:
  1. Make sure the source owns its data (many brokers only license the data they sell to you). Owners are responsible for updating and maintenance. So find out how often this occurs.
  2. Get a list sample before you buy data and make sure it has all the selects you need for each step of your multi-touch campaign (i.e., address, email and phone). Ask your list vendor for help choosing selects (owners will be more familiar with their data). Consider keyword-stemming techniques to capture additional results that meet your targeting criteria. Test “mini-campaigns” using sample lists from various vendors and compare results.
  3. Buy from sources that guarantee minimum results. Ask for average rates for bounce-backs and other key metrics. Find out how they handle make-goods. Be sure to track and measure your campaign at each conversion point -- you may need this information to hold your list vendor to their guarantees should the list not perform as expected.
Anncy Graziano is ZoomInfo's Manager of Data Services Operations.
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5 Signs Your Database Is Burnt Out

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If you are a business with a pulse and looking to make a profit, chances are your company has a large and ever-growing database of business contacts. Improper cleaning techniques coupled with the weight of time leads to certain telltale signs that your database in its present incarnation has run its course: 1. Skeletons Year after year names go in, but nothing seems to come out. The skeletons of old contacts keep piling up and cluttering your operations. Contacts who are long gone make the smallest of companies look like they are multinational conglomerates. Larry in Sales retired ten years ago but you are still trying your best to reach him. 2. Duplicates A lead comes in and the name of the contact gets entered into your database. Nothing happens with this lead in the sales cycle and it lies dormant. Fast forward six months and the same contact approaches you at a trade show and he or she goes into the database – again. Duplicate mailings, bombarded email addresses, confused salespeople are just the beginning of what duplicate records can do to ruin your database’s productivity. 3. Dead Ends An email is sent to the wrong contact. A mailer goes halfway across the world. Sales calls end up in customer support. No matter what it is, the wall hit when pursuing a dead-end lead can be difficult for even the most experienced salesperson. 4. Crickets When even your most innovative efforts to connect with business contacts elicit no response time after time, it is time to think about updating. 5. Slammed Doors Customer acrimony is the canary in the coalmine in database management. If your efforts rely on bad data, they will begin to clutter your operations. A certain degree of errors are to be expected, but if they continuously compound on one another to bombard prospective or current clients into ignoring you, or worse speaking ill of you, a drop-off in productivity and ROI can be guaranteed. If any of these apply to your database, it may be time to clean it up. Click the link for more information on ZoomInfo and what we can do to update your database so these signs can be avoided.
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Sounding Off On Community Edition

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In an environment where enterprises are able to grow and thrive, it is imperative that the open sharing of business contacts and information must be able to flourish. This is why last week ZoomInfo officially launched Community Edition, our free offering that trades business contacts for complete access to the ZoomInfo database of 5 million businesses and 50 million professionals. It looks like there are others who agree with us on the open nature of business information, and they seem to enjoy our product as well:

ZoomInfo’s Community Edition is fantastic. It is valuable information to help you zero in on the right company or individual that meets your requirements. I highly recommend ZoomInfo to others, you won’t be disappointed.

- Anjela Mangrum, contract consultant, Littleton Partners

I can say, unequivocally, that ZoomInfo Community Edition has become our 'go-to' source of information. As independent business consultants, we're often seeking various types of distribution partnerships as well as alliances. Community Edition has not let us down.

- Frank Hover, partner, Imbue Partners

I work in B2B funding so my points of contact are CEOs and CFOs -- much of my initial contact with these individuals is by e-mail.  I find Zoominfo a good source of these email addresses -- it saves me time from having to troll the Web myself!

- David Dods, business development, Omni-Rand

My pipeline is full of possibilities thanks to ZoomInfo Community Edition. I have access to numerous contacts where information is up-to-date, and almost always includes direct phone numbers and titles. This information cuts down on the overall time it takes me to find the right connections into a company and start a relationship.

-Sharon Kay, director of business development at Technical Language Service

And our personal favorite:

"ZoomInfo Community Edition has been very valuable for my business as I have used it judiciously to locate appropriate contacts within smaller private companies. Conversely, I reciprocate by ensuring my individual contacts are updated with accurate information. In the long run, the value of what I receive is only as good as what I contribute."

- Armand Gallucci

Keep the good contacts coming and we'll do the same!
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The Dirty Data Pipeline

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Much is made of the negative effects dirty data can have on an enterprise. In fact, we’re in the business of helping others update their data to avoid the black hole that results when business data goes bad. But what are we talking about in the trenches of day-to-day business life when we say “dirty data”? It starts as:
  • A contact record with incorrect information, a name spelled wrong or a bad address.
  • Incorrect company information: name, address or email/telephone contact data.
  • Incomplete records with fields that are empty or null due to poor capture techniques.
  • Duplicate records with inconsistent information, again due to poor capture techniques.
  • Complete fields that contain non-sense data: “TBA,” “TBD,” “TBC,” etc
  • Old and outdated data.
It becomes:
  • An inability to get in touch with contacts period via email or phone.
  • Sales reps are unable to reach or communicate with the correct decision-makers at prospect organizations.
  • Marketers can't target their efforts toward the correct persons or businesses.
  • A waste of the everyone's time because a contact no longer works at the company or a contact that is a bad fit but they don’t know it.
  • Pathetic email response rates.
  • Returned mailing campaigns.
It ends as:
  • Loss of efficiency & productivity as sales teams have to retrace their steps.
  • Lost prospects and thus potential clients.
  • Wasted time and money dedicated towards prospecting the wrong or nonexistent decision-makers.
  • All this precipitates into a decline in revenue and a dismal return on investment.
For solutions to these problems, check out ZoomInfo’s products and services so your business can regain control over dirty data and accelerate its performance.
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Improving Data Quality In CRM

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Guest Blog | Ben Bradley Bad data sucks. It kills CRM adoption. It reduces campaign performance, and it confuses customers. Up to date, accurate data is the lifeblood that keeps b2b sales organizations moving forward. Absent fresh data, it’s hard to find prospects, and then turn those prospects into customers. Here are five steps to improving data quality:
  • Love your data: You cannot delegate intimacy. Understand your data – where it comes from; who touches it; how it is updated and how it performs.  If you love your data, it will love you back.
  • Protect your data: Keep your data safe and protect it from harm. Protecting your data from well meaning people sometimes means you must prevent some people from touching it, or amending it.
  • Have your users worship the data: Something simple like Salesforce.com’s data validation rules force the behaviors you need. If data doesn’t meet standards, use whatever tools you have in your arsenal to make the offending sales people miserable until the data is fixed.
  • Respect your data: If you have the same data in more than one place, mistakes will happen. Whenever information spawns, it is easy to lose track of which version is the correct version.
  • Embrace third-party data: Third-party data gives your team an edge. Mix and match this information with internal data append processes to get insight into purchase behavior or buying cycles.
Keeping your data clean is not a one-shot deal. Keep after it or it will quickly degrade. Make sure you measure data quality on a regular basis. Make data quality a visible marketing metric. When you talk about data quality on a regular basis, eventually the message will resonate with prospects. _______ Ben Bradley is managing director of Macon Raine, a management consulting, marketing, and lead generation company. He can be reached at ben@maconraine.com.
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What is ZoomInfo Community Edition?

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Panning GoldZoomInfo is a leader in the business data industry because our technology enables us to find, assemble and offer business information that is of the latest variety. The 2,000 business and 25,000 employee profiles created on a daily basis are culled from publicly available business information from across the internet. In addition to this we also utilize the contributions of subscribers to our free product offering, ZoomInfo Community Edition,  to further ensure that our data is the most current on the market. The ease of gaining full access to our database is truly unrivaled. With a simple download and installation of the free ZoomInfo Contact Contributor, users gain complete access to ZoomInfo’s continuously-updated, multi-source database of 5 million companies and 50 million professionals. Simply put,  the Contact Contributor accesses your Outlook account and intelligently reads the information about your business contacts. This contact information is then brought into the ZoomInfo database where it is used to create new profiles or to update existing ones. Continue reading
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Why Privacy Does Not Apply to Business Information

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By Yonatan Stern, ZoomInfo Founder, Chief Scientist and CEO As you might have read, ZoomInfo has made public statements about privacy as it relates to business information. In the wake of a U.S. Senate committee hearing regarding online privacy, we’ve taken a position that some might consider controversial: Unlike consumer’s personal and behavioral information, business information (like your office phone number and email address at work) is not private, nor should it be. We’re certainly not against privacy. In fact, we think it has become far too easy for people to discover your personal information — things like your spouse’s name, the value of your home and what kinds of things your family has shopped for online. I applaud the efforts to improve protection of your personal privacy. Continue reading
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