Fact: Data is key to a successful telemarketing campaign

Data is the lifeblood of any B2B telemarketing and lead generation activity. An inaccurate or off profile database can result in an underwhelming telemarketing campaign and a wasted budget.

A professional B2B telemarketing agency will always assist its clients in the data buying process, but ultimately the process is collaborative and the client must ensure that the data selection reflects their prospect profile.

Obviously the accuracy of data is crucial; however there are some more subtle considerations to be borne in mind when purchasing or collating a dataset for telemarketing. Here are some key factors that should be considered.

data 2Image Source – r2hox (CC License)

Data Quality

By quality we mean the accuracy, not the relevance of the data. The accuracy of the data is a different matter and is a result of two main factors:

• The “recency” of the data (when was it last updated)
• The accuracy of the information captured at the time of last update

Both points are important – in B2B data the rate of data “churn” is frightening. A database, which was updated only last year, might be 30% inaccurate. The more recently updated the data the better – best of all is a freshly cleaned and profiled database. Even if you pay for the cleansing before campaign start, it will pay dividends in the long run, when it helps drive a successful campaign.

The accuracy of the data that was entered at the time of last update is also important – data updates come from a variety of sources. The truth is that no database is perfectly accurate, but a good telemarketing company will know who are the best suppliers and will source the most accurate data for your budget and selection criteria.

Match target customers
Beyond the core contact details, most databases also offer the ability to select by, and purchase, other key data, including anything from SIC code, to number of employees, to turnover and IT information. Again the accuracy of this information is never 100% and the sources of inaccuracy are manifold. Despite this caveat, selecting by and then buying profiling fields is probably the most important element in ensuring that your database fits the “ideal customer” profile.

Job Titles
Generally speaking, suppliers can provide key job titles such as those listed below:

  • IT Manager
  • Managing Director
  • Financial Director
  • Owner
  • Director

Other, more specialist job titles may be available from niche data providers, but often it is more sensible to buy data with one senior contact and use this to help establish the name of the correct person through calling.

Completeness, Wish Lists and Database Buying
Generally it is not possible to purchase a list of companies just by providing their names. However, a list like this can be used to build a database from the ground up (something we do regularly for clients) using the web and phone to build anything from a basic list of names, job titles and contact details right the way through to a full company profile.

Standardise database formats
Data from different sources will be in a variety of formats. Our processes can standardise your data sets into whatever format your CRM system requires.

Prospect segmentation
If you have multiple target customers, your prospect records needs segmenting into the correct industries. We use our auditing skills to build a properly divisioned database, allowing you to accurately target each sector.

Size does matter
We generally suggest purchasing data from the supplier with the biggest catalogue of records, which match your profile. This is important because you may want to buy further data in the future – expanding the geographical scope of your database, for instance. If you buy from the same supplier this is straightforward. However, if a different supplier has to be found, it becomes extremely difficult to “top up” your data without buying duplicates of records you already hold.

It is important when you are buying the data you pre-define what you are going to use it for. If you want to use the data for direct mail as well as Telemarketing, for instance, you will need to be advised which license to buy on the right license terms.

Normally a telemarketing company will buy or advise to buy single site, head office records. This approach minimises the instances of records where decision-making authority is not held on site. For instance, if you are marketing to restaurants, you are unlikely to want to buy a database full of the branches of high street chains.

Email addresses
Bought in email address lists can be of wildly differing quality. The first thing to consider is that most email addresses that are bought and sold are not personal, but rather to addresses like “info@” or ”sales@” . These email addresses have very high “deliverability”, in the sense that few should bounce, but the emails are rarely seen by the individual you are trying to contact. There are some sources of high quality, individual opt-in email addresses, but they are few and far between. The best approach to rectify this is to plan for the telemarketer to call as part of the campaign to update and verify email addresses.

De-duplication against existing clients
This should be the last step before you use your data – but remember to allow the time and some budget for a proper de-dupe against the organisations you are already engaged with before marketing to your new database as if they have never heard of you.

If you would like to learn more on how VSL can help you build or source the right database to help generate leads and appointments for your sales team. Call us on +44 (0)1403 788480 or email us at: sales@virtual-sales.com.

Andy Dickens

Andy Dickens is a veteran of IT Sales, used to leading by example. He is the CEO of Virtual Sales Limited (VSL) who offer telesales, telemarketing, lead generation and appointment setting services to B2b businesses. He previously was Sales Director EMEA for Red Hat and before that ran sales at Visio before it was acquired by Microsoft.