What is Company Data & How to Use It
Table of Contents
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 about a company’s characteristics and behaviors. The data could be an evaluation of the company from an internal 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 using company data: Descriptive analysis, which explains a company’s current situation, and predictive analysis, which uses this information to suggest what the company will do in the near future.
This analysis from implementing company data can help you greatly with account based marketing (ABM), including managing the companies you should be working with, how and when you should reach out to them, and how to retain them as long term customers.
The Key Attributes of Company Data
The key attributes of company data can be divided into the firmographic and technographic sides of things. Whether you’re looking for more firmographic- or technographic-based data will affect the characteristics you want, as will the company of interest itself.
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In general, company data will have the following attributes:
Company Name and Address
It goes without saying that you need to know which company you’re actually engaging with. Along with that, it’s often helpful to have the address of the head office of the company, as well as address of branches in countries you’re interested in.
Similarly, you need to know the industry of the company to see if it falls into the range of organizations that you’re interested in working with.
Company Size and Revenue
Company data will contain the size of the company based on the number of employees. It can also show its revenue, if the company is public.
The company database also delves into the 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.
It is possible that company data could include contact information for these people. However, for that you’re better off making use of some B2B contacts data.
Company data can also include information on the various products and services offered by the company, both now and over the years. This can help with finding potential cooperation and for performing product analysis.
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.
Information on a company’s current technology stack means knowing the technologies and softwares currently being used by the company, as well as when these technologies were acquired.
Online Presence and Social Profiles
Every company nowadays has a blog and social profiles where it maintains its public presence. Company data effortlessly provides this information for you. As well as this, it can also offer 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.
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 comprehensiveness 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.
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 to find 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.
Every company publishes regular reports (generally every quarter) about the company revenue and net growth. These reports can be very helpful in collecting financial information about the company.
These reports are good when we talk about accuracy, but like with whitepapers, they only offer information about selected fields and could potentially not be entirely accurate a short period of time after publishing.
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.
Social Media Activity
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook are a great way to gather company data. Platforms such as LinkedIn are specially used by professionals and businesses. Employee information can be easily found here, along with details such as company size and revenue.
Job postings can offer insight into the direction a company is looking to grow. For example, if a company suddenly wishes to hire two more designers, it’s a safe bet that they’re either looking to improve their current product or being 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, training, etc.
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.
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.
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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Since many factors can impact the quality of a database, 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’s 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 has wrong information, it is going to waste the effort of your sales and marketing teams channelling their effort in the wrong direction.
There can be many reasons for inaccurate data in a database, though it is often caused by 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 even 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 lot 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. However, while all the entries present in the database might be from your industry, they may not be from the niche or location where 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 on it, this can save you time and effort.
A company database of high quality will have very few missing fields. Similarly, if a database has a lot of missing fields, it is a poor quality database.
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 were just mentioned, and evaluate which factor matters to you more and which factor can be compromised.
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, the roles that benefit the most from it include:
Company data helps in defining the trends and growth rates of the audience, and create a business plan based on the same. 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. Since the company data has all the information about a company such as their revenue and size, marketing teams can sort out 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.
Also, since the company data contains the geographical location of the companies, marketers can filter out 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 has 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 stated 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 to secure 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 tell you about what you need to offer when looking to acquire a new account. For example, you can find when the right time to reach out might be 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 which 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 in filtering them in terms of when you should try 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 in filtering the companies by their locations, and you might find an ideal fit just around the corner.
After having found an account that is interested, nurtured them, 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.
Descriptive analysis gives you an overview of what the company of interest is and how they perform. This shows you the current situation of the company, and is primarily based on firmographic, technographic and intent data.
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 make full use of it.
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 non-utilization of 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. Further, ensure that your business managers are well suited for analyzing the database and make various conclusions that can be drawn from it. 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
When your business is growing, the database that you are using needs to grow with you. There need to be more and more companies that can be added to the list, so your sales team does not run out of prospects.
However, many businesses do not realize the importance of data scaling beforehand. They usually do not take this factor into account when choosing a data vendor. Thereby, after exhausting the data they are stuck with the problem of acquiring a new database from a different vendor. The new data may have duplicate information too.
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.
Further, the quality of the data is also very important in determining its price. A data of high quality is going to cost you more, and 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 that if you are choosing a cheaper data of poor quality, you will have to compromise it with your sales and marketing teams consuming extra hours to fill in the missing information or correct the inaccurate fields.
Therefore, you should take it into evaluation if 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.