The Ultimate Guide to Company Data 2021
The Ultimate Guide to Company Data
Are you certain you’re managing your accounts as efficiently and effectively as possible? Have you been searching for ways to improve your acquisition of new prospects, to prioritize and personalize your sales pipeline, and to keep your current customers happy? Company data might be the answer you’re looking for.
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Read on to find out how to unlock the full potential of your marketing and sales teams by incorporating company data into your business.
What is Company Data?
Company data is information that offers insight into a company’s characteristics and performance. The data could be an evaluation of the company from an internal Customer Relationship Management (CRM) point of view, or from the perspective of external data like firmographics (the company’s characteristics) and technographics (the company’s technology stack and online presence), and even intent data (signals the company is looking ready to buy).
Company data can be used for analysis that can then inform your decisions and improve the performance of your business. There are two main types of analysis when looking at company data:
Descriptive analysis: the interpretation of raw data to determine a company’s current performance.
Predictive analysis: the prediction of a company’s future decisions and performance based on collected company data.
Analysis informed by company data can greatly assist you with Account-Based Marketing (ABM). This may include managing the priority companies you should be working with, as well as identifying those of less importance; how and when to communicate with these companies; and how to ensure they remain long-term customers.
The Key Attributes of Company Data
The key attributes of company data can be divided into firmographic and technographic-based data. Depending on what type of information about a company you require, you will rely more on one or the other of these two. With the use of these two types of data you can build an extensive company contact database of those companies most suited to fulfilling your company’s needs.
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In general, company data will have the following attributes:
What is Firmographic Segmentation?
Firmographic data is data specific to an organisation. Just as demographic data focuses on individuals, firmographic data focuses on the organisation. B2B businesses can use firmographic data to help with market segmentation by using variables to categorise firms. Firmographic data can tell us which industry an organisation fits in to or its location, for example.
Company Name and Address
It goes without saying that you need to know the name of the company you’re engaging with. Along with that, it’s helpful to have the address of the head office of the company, as well as the addresses of their branches in any countries you’re interested in. By having access to a company’s address or addresses, you can make informed assumptions about their behaviours, whether they be influenced by the geography, climate or regulations of the area.
When using firmographic segmentation to categorise firms, firms can be attributed an industry label. This indicates the firm’s primary activities, whether that be the type of services they offer or the products that they produce. When trying to target a particular firm it is crucial that you take into account which industry they operate in. For example, a company that operates in the environmental sector is unlikely to be seeking the same resources as a company that operates in the high-street fashion industry. Not only is it important to take industry labels into account to ensure the appropriate resources are delivered to those firms, but also to help you to sift out those firms that are not involved in the particular industry you are looking to work with.
Company Size and Revenue
Company size is typically divided into two attributes: annual revenue and number of employees.
A company’s revenue is a key consideration in firmographic segmentation. It is little use targeting a company that doesn’t have the funds to afford what you’re offering. Taking into consideration factors such as whether a company has experienced considerable fluctuations is their revenue over the years or where they fall in terms of being a small start-up or whether they’re listed on the FTSE 100 is vital to ensuring a successful deal.
Having data indicating the number of employees a company has is one of the most helpful pieces of firmographic data you can have. The number of employees indicates whether they’re a small start-up, medium sized company, or even a large multinational company. Ultimately, these numbers will greatly influence how you go about targeting these companies. The way you would approach a small, local business is completely different to how you would a large business with bases in multiple countries.
You can also expect the company database to delve into employee information in detail. This data generally consists of the names of the employees, along with their role in the company. It should also include the department of the employee and their seniority. Being aware of individual employees and their roles helps you to gain an impression of who best to contact and target within the company.
One type of firmographic data that is often provided when purchasing company data is information on the various products and services offered by the company, both those currently being offered and past ventures of the company. This can help with finding potential cooperation and for performing product analysis. If you can detect an overlap of your products or services with another company or observe that they are offering something your company is lacking this can provide great potential for collaboration.
It is also possible to discover information on a company’s current level and sources of funding, as well as to get an idea of their potential budgets. Funding information can give you a clearer idea about the growth of the company and when and how it might spend its finances. If a company is heavily reliant on one source of funding you might wish to take this into account before targeting that company. A company reliant on one source of funding, particularly a source that might be vulnerable to fluctuations or losses, may not have a very stable or secure future, making it a company that may prove to present future financial difficulties.
Another attribute that can be used in firmographic segmentation is a company’s legal status. For example, a company could be operating as a Public Limited Company (PLC), a privately held company, a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or a partnership, just to name a few. Being aware of the legal status of a company is of importance, whether you’re looking to invest in the company or target your marketing towards them.
What are Technographics?
Technographic Segmentation, otherwise known simply as ‘technographics’, is the profiling of B2B prospects based on their ownership and usage of technology. This is referred to as their ‘technology stack’. Technographic segmentation is one type of market segregation, just as firmographic segregation is, too.
Having access to data on a company’s current technology stack allows you to build up a profile of that company and how they operate. You should also expect to be presented with when these technologies were acquired, helping to form a timeline for this profile. When it comes to technographic segmentation, there is often an element of assumption: a company may rely on a certain software, leading you to draw conclusions about the company’s operational methods. These conclusions, however, are more often that not, very accurate if you have an understanding of either the technologies used or an understanding of how companies of that size or in that industry generally operate.
For example, a company may use marketing automation software such as HubSpot or Moosend. This indicates that they have invested considerable time and funds into the marketing of their services or products. With 75% of marketers currently relying on marketing automation software, it is becoming increasingly relevant to take note of which software a company is utilising to boost their marketing campaigns. Those companies investing in marketing automation software tend to be larger businesses with a wide reach.
Let’s apply this information to a B2B marketing example. Your business might be selling a product or service that works in conjunction with marketing automation software. Through technographic segmentation, you will be able to identify and target those companies already investing large sums of money in that particular software.
Another relevant example would be to use technographics to identify whether a company relies uses cloud servers or in-house software. This can tell us a lot about a company’s operations. A company using cloud servers is more likely to be a large business, potentially with employees and customers spread across a country or countries. Using cloud servers is generally an indication that a company is making a conscious effort to stay up-to-date with technological developments. On the other hand, you can assume that a company that uses in-house software is smaller, with only one location and, therefore, less need for remote access. You might also interpret this as a sign of attention to data security.
As we have indicated, technographic data is concrete and objective. However, any assumptions made based on this data is subjective.
Online Presence and Social Profiles
Almost every company nowadays dedicates time to maintaining its public presence through blogs and various social media profiles. Company data effortlessly collects and summarises information from these platforms for you. As well as this, it can offer an insight into how a company behaves online, including specific social media posts, job postings, and online searches.
This information can add context into how the company functions and wishes to present itself. Collecting information from social media profiles or blogs is reasonably easy to do and, as companies turn to these platforms more and more, they present an increasingly relevant source of information about a company and its behaviours.
Intent Data Attributes
Indepth company data may include information on the company’s more recent acquisitions and services the company has recently stopped using. It could also even contain information on what the company has been searching for online or on comparison sites.
What are the sources and collection methods for Company Data?
Because it incorporates many overlapping data types, company data comes from many sources. These include whitepapers, company registries, company social media posts, company webpage source codes, and phone calls.
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Due to the comprehensive nature of company data, collecting it alone is a massive investment of time and resources. For this reason, many organizations turn to third-party data providers to collect company data on their behalf.
Here’s some of the most common sources for company data sorted by their collection methods.
What is Scraping?
Scraping is the extraction of relevant data from a source, such as a website or document. This extraction is usually performed by a computer programme. This software is able to identify any important or relevant data and retrieve it for the company to put to use to inform them about that targeted company. In some cases, scraping allowed you to collect code from a website, indicating which technologies a company is using. It is more likely that you will be able to collect this data if the prospective company is using marketing automation software because it is often the case that the website’s source code presents evidence of it.
The whitepapers published by a company or an external party not only have the description of the company’s products and services, but they also contain details about the company itself.
These whitepapers can be a good way of finding out in-depth information about the company, including, potentially, their funding information and the names of the important company members. Very often, the size of a company can also be found in these whitepapers.
The best part about this collection method is that the information provided here is completely accurate. However, this source of database collection does not provide all the attributes needed for compiling the company database. Moreover, whitepapers are not published very frequently, so unless they are regularly updated, their information can be somewhat out of date.
You can expect a company to publish reports, roughly every quarter, about the company’s net growth and revenue. These reports can be very helpful in collecting financial information about the company.
These reports offer accuracy, but like with whitepapers, they only offer information about selected fields and it is likely that, only shortly after publishing, the information is outdated and, therefore, not entirely accurate.
Webinar registrations are a good way of finding out detailed information about a company’s employees and interested customers. It combines the high accuracy of methods such as event registrations, without requiring the hard labour and effort needed for the physical collection methods.
The pandemic has resulted in a significant change to the way businesses are able to operate and interact with their employees and clients. Between February and March 2020 the number of B2B webinars offered by US based B2B brands grew by 36%. As a semi-permanent shift to online work has been felt across the globe, data collected from webinar registrations is becoming increasingly relevant and reflective of companies’ behaviours.
Social Media Activity
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook offer a great way to gather company data. Platforms such as LinkedIn are growing increasingly popular among professionals and businesses. Employee information can be easily found here, along with details such as company size and revenue.
If there is a specific department or employee you wish to target and contact, LinkedIn is quickly becoming one of the first places to turn, with easily accessible and cheap data. With a membership of more than 738 million individuals at the beginning of 2021, LinkedIn’s significant role in recruitment and as a hub of cross-company communications is clear.
Job postings can offer insight into the direction a company is expanding in, or their particular area of interest. For example, if a company is advertising the posts of two more designers, it’s a safe bet that they’re either looking to improve their current product or they are creating a new one. This information can then influence how you perceive the company as a competitor or supplier, which influences how you’ll interact with them.
Event registrations are one of the major sources of company database collection. The professionals of a company attend business events such as boot camps, trade shows, and training events.
Database collection agencies can collect the information of these attendees at the event itself. Through these, the people can be sorted by the company they work for, and assigned to a particular company database.
As is always an option in the B2B world, a simple phone call can be used to gather more information about a company and to verify any existing information. Besides the manual effort required, the main downside is that there is no guarantee of them providing the information. Moreover, you run the risk of actually putting the company off any potential deals, as many people will view this method as intrusive.
While the information collected through this method can be more accurate and recent compared to the other company data collection methods, it requires a lot of manual labour and is thus not very scalable.
Lead Capture Tools and Surveys
Marketers employ many lead capture tools such as landing pages to attract the attention of professionals. The data entered by professionals here is compiled and shared by data collection agencies, for the purpose of crafting thorough company data.
While data collection through this medium does not require physical labour, this method often involves many inaccuracies. When filling out surveys and landing page forms, people often provide irrelevant or inaccurate information, or even forget to complete the entire form. Therefore, you cannot rely too heavily on this source of company data. It is a better tool for drawing more general conclusions.
How can I assess the quality of company data?
To assess the quality of company data, you need to evaluate its accuracy, recency, relevancy to you, and avoid any incomplete data.
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Many factors can impact the quality of a database and it is for this reason that you should always ask the data provider to supply you with a sample data set so that you can analyze the data and test it out in your intended use case.
Here are some more details on the factors you should look out for:
First of all, it is important to check if the data that you are considering has high accuracy. If the data contains false information it is going to waste the effort of your sales and marketing teams.
There can be many reasons for inaccurate data in a database, although, it is often the result of flaws in sources and collection methods.
The variables of a company are constantly in flux: revenue changes from quarter to quarter; new products are released; employees can change jobs or transfer to different branches; and new branches may be established.
At times, sudden market changes can affect the value of the company drastically. Similarly, companies often go on a hiring streak and get a flux of new employees in a short time period. Therefore, it is important to ask if your company database is updated regularly enough to include information from these changes.
The database that you are looking for needs to be relevant to your business. While all the entries present in the database might be from your industry they may not be from the niche or location in which you are looking to market your product.
Moreover, a company may not be ready to be engaged and, if you can find that out before purchasing data, this can save you time and effort.
A company database of high quality will have very few missing fields. A poor quality database with many missing fields will create more work for your teams in the long run.
This is because if there are incomplete fields in a database, your marketing team or sales team would have to do the extra work on their end to fill in the missing details.
Ensure the company data you’re looking to buy contains all the information you need to avoid this potential drawback.
Evaluating Where Quality Matters Most for You
In general, no database will be of completely perfect quality because of the real world limitations of data collections at various sources. However, you can make sure that the data you are acquiring is of the right quality for your purposes.
To do this, you need to take the various factors that we’ve just mentioned, and evaluate which factor is of the greatest importance to you and which factor you are more willing to make compromises on.
For example, most people value the accuracy of a database more than the missing entries in the database. This is because they can direct their sales and marketing teams to fill in the missing entries.
However, inaccurate data would lead to wasting resources chasing wrong leads, since there is no way to know which entry will be accurate. Even if you follow a verification process for each data entry, this process alone will consume a lot of resources.
In general, having relevant data is a good factor to weigh on. This is because the relevant data is going to mean more qualified leads, which will be profitable in the long run.
In the end, you will need to weigh the quality metrics based on the needs of your business. It is a good idea to do this after discussing with your sales and marketing teams.
Who is using company data?
Company data can be used by almost all businesses and the various segments of each business.
In general, these are the roles that benefit most from company data:
Company data helps in defining the trends and growth rates of the audience, allowing you to create a business plan based on these. Managers can incorporate company data into their insights to foresee sales in the future of their own products and services.
As mentioned earlier, company data can also include buying signals, which can be used by managers to define potential customers. These buying signals are clear indications that the company is going to need your product right now. For example, some of these buying signals can include:
- Traces of product comparisons based on online behavior
- Webinar sign-ups
- Whitepaper downloads
Marketing teams use company data to define what their ideal customer would look like and, therefore, who they should be targeting. Since the company data has all the information about a company such as their revenue and size, marketing teams can select the businesses they want to attract based on these parameters.
Furthermore, since company data also comes with employee information, the marketing teams can direct their effort in a particular direction to make the most out of their resources.
Because the company data contains the geographical location of the companies, marketers can apply filters to the areas in which they would prefer to focus their campaigns.
Sales teams make the most use of the company data by securing the potential candidates that qualify for the business. Since the company data has the contact information of the employees at important job roles, the sales team can contact these employees to push forward their product.
Company data is a great help for the sales team because, without it, the team would have to spend extra hours themselves trying to qualify and prioritize the customers that fit in the ideal customer profile. Even when the customer is identified, they need to find ways to contact the customer and pitch their product.
A company database provides all this information directly, thereby, saving precious hours that could be spent in devising better sales strategies and implementing them.
A Salesforce report found that 21 per cent of the time of a sales professional is spent in research. In fact, sales prospecting, in general, can consume 50% of the daily work hours of a salesperson. As such, company data can help save these hours and direct them towards securing clients.
How can I use company data?
Company data can be employed by your business in more ways than one. As mentioned in the previous section, there are a lot of departments of your business that are going to benefit from the company data. Therefore, it should be used to its full potential to make the best out of your marketing and sales campaigns.
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Here are the few ways in which you can use company data:
Account Based Marketing
Company data can come in very handy in all stages of ABM, from identifying a new account, to nurturing it, to closing the deal.
Identifying New Accounts
Analyzing company data to evaluate your key clients can inform you about the key things you should be offering when looking to acquire a new account. For example, you can find when the right time to reach out might be by using intent data, and find a good point of contact via contact data. This can help you properly nurture the new account and prepare it to close the deal with the sales team.
Lead Scoring and Prioritization
There are countless companies that will qualify as a potential prospect, but they’re not always all a priority. Company data not only allows you to identify these companies, but it also helps you to filter them in terms of when is the best opportunity to seal the deal.
For example, firmographic data can show the expected length of a company’s sales cycle and this can help to better prepare your sales team.
In other cases, many businesses prefer their clients to be in close proximity to them. A company database can help you to filter the companies by their locations. You might just find the perfect fit right around the corner!
After you’ve found a client account that is interested, nurtured them and identified when they are interested, the final step is then ensuring you engage with them in terms that they relate to. Company data can help your sales teams to speak in the right way and deliver the right message to the account of interest, which is especially vital when securing the final part of the deal-making process.
Analysis is, arguably, the one of the most key uses of collected company data. The data alone means very little. It is only with analysis that the data holds value to you and your business.
Descriptive analysis provides you with an overview of what the company of interest is and how they perform. This shows you the current and past situation of the company, and is primarily based on firmographic, technographic and intent data. Descriptive analysis includes the process of looking at past data to identify trends.
Predictive analysis will help you in preparing for future trends by analyzing the growth rate of a company and its revenue charts. These can be helpful in adjusting your marketing strategies likewise.
Prescriptive analysis takes the aforementioned predictions and suggests actions. In other words, it is about handling the various situations anticipated by predictive analysis. For example, if predictive analysis talks about opportunities for your business to sell a product in a new market, the prescriptive analysis will talk about how your salesperson can pitch it.
What are the challenges of Company Data?
The common challenges when purchasing and using company data relate to data recency, analytics, consistency, and scale.
Challenge #1: Maintaining Data Recency
Having the most up to date data is very crucial when it comes to company data. The company often sends out buying signals, which need to be acted upon quickly by the sales team since they are the best time to pitch your product.
For example, a company might have hired a new CTO to upgrade the company’s technology and implement new ones. If your company data reflects these buying signals, it would be a great chance that you will secure them as potential clients.
If you do not maintain the data recency, it is a good probability that you are going to miss these buying signals when they could be taken advantage of. Therefore, overcoming this challenge is crucial.
Overcoming the Challenge:
Acquire a sample of the data that you are going to get beforehand. If a vendor is reluctant to provide you with a data sample, it is wiser to look elsewhere.
Furthermore, you can use data matchmaking services like Datarade to find you company data online vendors that provide the latest databases, no matter which ones you might be looking for.
Once you have the data sample, you can have your research team process it and find out if the information it reflects is the latest one, and the recent changes have been taken into account
Challenge #2: Analytics
Company data is very useful for creating powerful analytics and predicting a trend that can be very helpful for your business. These analytics are generally done by creative business managers.
However, while most companies provide their marketing and sales team with the company data, they do not use it for assessment purposes and therefore do not use it to their full advantage.
As mentioned before, company data is very helpful for buying signals, predictive analysis, and prescriptive analysis. These play a key role in the growth of your own company.
Therefore, incorrect analysis of company data may lead to you not utilizing potential resources.
Overcoming the Challenge:
To overcome this challenge, you need to make sure that you are also equipping your managers with the company database. Business managers must be well trained in analysing the database in order to draw conclusions from the data. These can, in turn, be forwarded to your sales and marketing teams so that they can implement them in their strategies.
Challenge #3: Consistency
Consistency is very important while implementing a new B2B company database. Consistency means that all the data in the database must adhere to the same rules and follow the same style.
When companies add new data, they simply inject it into the existing database modules. Since the different databases will be created on different rules and in different styles, this will end up infecting the present data which is already clean, while also reducing the efficiency of the new data.
The benefit of using consistent data is that your marketing and sales team can define a preset strategy for the entries in the database. Since the database is consistent and follows the same fashion, one strategy will more or less be equally useful for each prospect.
However, if they have inconsistent data, they will need to devise new strategies over and over, since the entries in the database are organized on different rules and styles.
Overcoming the Challenge:
In order to overcome this challenge, it is important that the company should try to acquire all their data from the same vendor and only then merge it into one. This is because a database from a single vendor will generally follow more consistency than a database created by merging data from different vendors.
Challenge #4: Data Scaling
As your business grows, so too must the database that you are using. In order to ensure your sales team doesn’t run out of prospects, more companies must be added to the list on a regular basis.
However, many businesses do not realize the importance of data scaling before choosing a data vendor. It is often the case that they do not take this factor into account when selecting a data vendor. Therefore, after exhausting the data they are stuck with the challenge of acquiring a new database from a different vendor. The new database may have duplicate information.
Overcoming the Challenge:
Carefully evaluate your data needs for now as well as the future, and choose a data vendor accordingly. Make sure that the data vendor offers scalable data, so you can increase your options as your company grows in the future.
How is Company Data priced?
There are various factors that influence the cost of a company database. These are mainly dependent on what you are looking for. For example, if you need a database with more depth and width, it is going to cost you more.
It is not only the quantity of data that determines the price tag of a company database. The quality of the data is also very important in determining its price. A database of high quality is going to cost you more, whereas, a database of low quality can be very cheap to acquire. The difference in prices among the data of various qualities is substantial.
It is also important to consider that if you are choosing a cheaper data of poor quality, you will have to make up for it with your sales and marketing teams consuming extra hours to fill in the missing information or correct the inaccurate fields.
Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate whether you will find it cheaper to spend more on data of high quality or you would prefer cheaper data and spending more on work hours of your sales and marketing teams.
Other factors like the industry you work in can also affect the price of company data. For example, data can be hard to collect in certain industries where there are more restrictions. In such cases, you will have to shell out more for a limited database.
By now it should be clear how implementing company data could improve your business. Company data can be used to benefit marketing teams, sales teams, and could even be used for analytics, in every case helping you to make use of that extra edge.
The next step is making sure you choose the right company data set for you. Check out the list of company data providers and products on Datarade for easy access to the company data you’re looking for.
Who are the best Company Data providers?
Finding the right Company Data provider for you really depends on your unique use case and data requirements, including budget and geographical coverage. Popular Company Data providers that you might want to buy Company Data from are BoldData, IDMerit, FrescoData, Bright Data (Formerly Luminati Networks), and Alqami.
Where can I buy Company Data?
Data providers and vendors listed on Datarade sell Company Data products and samples. Popular Company Data products and datasets available on our platform are BoldData - Private Company Database (300M+ private companies) by BoldData, Bright Data | Business Data - Global Coverage - Company Data, Employee Profiles, Job-related Datasets by Bright Data (Formerly Luminati Networks), and Above Data | Global Employee and Company Data (covers 70% of all employees) by Above Data.
How can I get Company Data?
You can get Company Data via a range of delivery methods - the right one for you depends on your use case. For example, historical Company Data is usually available to download in bulk and delivered using an S3 bucket. On the other hand, if your use case is time-critical, you can buy real-time Company Data APIs, feeds and streams to download the most up-to-date intelligence.
What are similar data types to Company Data?
Company Data is similar to B2B Leads Data, Firmographic Data, Technographic Data, Business Ownership Data, and B2B Intent Data. These data categories are commonly used for Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and Company Data analytics.