What Data Does a B2B Need?
Who run the world? Data. It’s no secret that modern businesses need data to compete effectively in the marketplace. Data tells businesses what products consumers want, how consumers buy and where consumers are. Even B2Bs benefit from collecting a bevy of data on their business clients, such as who within the company makes purchases and how individual purchasing cycles progress.
However, because most information about data collection and analysis focuses on B2Cs, many B2Bs simply don’t know what types of data they need to identify, pursue and convert their business clients. This guide to the best B2B data (including what it does, where to find it and more) should fill that void.
Account data consists of critical information about a company, such as its name, its markets, its industry, its size, its products, its funding, its background etc. This data is useful because it helps B2Bs identify potential future clients. A B2B’s first step in using account data should be to create an ideal customer profile. This profile will serve as a detailed description of the best type of business client — the type that needs the B2B’s products or services and is likely to make a purchase. Then, B2Bs should compare the profile against account data gathered to ensure sales teams are tapping the right companies as leads.
This type of data is relatively straightforward: It is what B2Bs use to get ahold of their business clients. Often, one business client will have multiple methods of contact, to include email addresses and phone numbers of a handful of employees. Through the use of contact data, B2B sales teams can create targeted sales campaigns to win over the individual contacts within their business clients. It is important that B2Bs organize this data in a cohesive way, so the contact data can be appropriately leveraged.
Perhaps the first type of data on this list that many B2Bs don’t already collect, intent data serves to inform a B2B about a prospect’s intentions. Typically, intent data is gathered online; using internal or external sources, B2Bs can collect intent data by looking at keyword searches, page visits, social media participation and other digital behavior. Intent data helps illuminate the buyer’s journey, so B2Bs can identify where certain business clients are in that journey and take the appropriate actions to facilitate a sale.
Engagement data is like intent data but a step further. Instead of just tracking how likely a prospect is to convert in the near future, engagement data provides additional insights into how prospects think and how they behave when confronted with different types of stimuli, such as various forms of communication from B2Bs. The data usually includes information about previous sales to a client, the account’s activity and ongoing communications with contacts. Thus, instead of measuring intentions, this data measures a business client’s engagement with B2B marketing and sales efforts.
Technographics data includes information about the technologies that business clients use or are looking to begin using. According to one report, most businesses spend about 3.2 percent of their revenue on IT, but that amount has been steadily increasing every year as tech has become more and more integral to business strategy and success. It’s useful for B2Bs to understand their prospects’ technographics because often B2Bs are peddling tech-based solutions, and even those B2Bs that exist outside the tech industry should be able to communicate and cooperate with the tech their clients use every day.
As demographics are to people, firmographics are to businesses. To be clearer, firmographics consists of basic information and characteristics that help B2Bs categorize accounts, such as:
- Number of clients
- Number of locations
- Number of employees
- Number of products or services
Having this sort of data is valuable for several reasons. First, it allows sales and marketing teams to develop unique strategies for attracting and selling to different types of companies, which increases the likelihood that each type will convert. Secondly, firmographics could serve as the foundation of account data in the future, should a prospect convert and become an ongoing client.
Business clients are complex — perhaps even more complex than consumers. B2Bs need to arm themselves with the right types of data, so they can avoid wasting resources hunting down leads and converting prospects.