08/10/10

By Andrew Colwell, Marketing Director at the b2group

A quick look at the b2b list marketplace reveals a plethora of databases for sale at low prices that continue to drop.
Cheap lists might sound like a great development for those in b2b sales and marketing, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. The low costs means there is little margin available for the owners to add to and update the data. It ultimately means that many of these prospect databases are not up-to-date and lack fresh insight. Also, the majority of these lists have been so over-used that the business decision makers on them have been bombarded to death with communications, which on the whole are of little relevance to them.

These factors have combined to create the tired and unsustainable data marketplace we live in today, which sees b2b list owners facing diminishing revenue from their lists, and buyers witness diminishing returns from their customer acquisition campaigns.

So what is the solution when hunting for data on b2b prospects that will deliver cut through and strong return on investment? Well it’s quite simple: the use of exclusive data sets. They will re-invigorate your sales and marketing efforts.

While the creation and use of exclusive prospect databases is not new, slowly growing marketing budgets and increasingly demanding financial directors are turning the tide in their favour. Both are encouraging those in sales and marketing to focus more on reducing the risk and justifying return on investment from their customer acquisition campaigns.

To maximise ROI from your new business efforts, you need access to strong insight on genuine decision-maker leads in your industry sector; leads your competitors don’t have access to. Exclusive databases can provide you with this access.

They are data sets that are perfectly suited to the b2b industry because you generally sell higher value goods and services to businesses than you would to consumers. Therefore as a business, when you can clearly see the huge rewards they offer in generating new customers, you can be more amenable to investing slightly more of your budget in an exclusive partnership with a data supplier.

There are providers of exclusive data sets in the marketplace who are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial. They offer even greater opportunities for b2b marketers to learn about your prospects, and therefore boost your chances of converting them into customers. These suppliers offer the chance for you to ask questions directly to their prospects. These can be related to contract renewal dates, buying behaviour or new product development, for example. By embracing this opportunity you can generate a very detailed picture of your prospects, which will further have a positive impact on your sales efforts.

In fact in the near future I can see businesses outsourcing their entire customer acquisition process to these exclusive data providers to reduce fixed costs; opening up a wealth of opportunity for smart data suppliers.

There is no excuse for organisations to ignore a relevant exclusive database if they are serious about driving sales and at the same time maximising return on investment from their spend. Data is a means to an end in driving sales, and the simple fact is this: smarter, exclusive data sets deliver cost effective quick sales.