The Importance of Data In Sales Development

Data is the most valuable commodity that a sales development team can have.  And the ability to leverage that data, as well as maintain its quality and completeness, lays the foundation of sales development success.  It’s what enables greater personalization as well more targeted outreach to the companies that are a better fit.    

The Importance of Detail

Developing an account and contact data structure that is robust and provides your sales development team with a high level of detail is imperative.  The rise in availability of information has given sales and marketing teams the opportunity to better understand their target market and more efficiently focus their efforts.  However, the challenge is that while there is a plethora of sources and tools for gathering this information, building a strong data profile takes a significant amount of effort and must be ongoing.  And the reality is that the majority of sales and marketing teams fail to deliver this level of effort and consistency and end up with data that includes very little detail, and is often inaccurate and incomplete. 

Personalization is no longer just important - it’s expected.  Gone are the days when basic account information such as company location(s), industry / vertical, company size / revenue, and history of previous interactions, is sufficient.  Important information in the form of relevant news and trigger events, technographic data, changes in senior leadership, company growth trends (increase in number of employees, funding, acquisitions, etc.) plays a critical role in giving sales development teams the ability to deliver the most pertinent messages and offerings to the most appropriate prospects.

Maintaining Consistency

Maintaining a consistent level of effort when it comes to expanding your database of accounts and contacts, or keeping existing data up to date and accurate, is a critical aspect of the overall sales development picture.  It’s not something that can be viewed as a one-off project; rather, it should be an ongoing initiative supported by dedicated resources, procedures, and processes.   

As a rule of thumb sales development teams should have one full-time data resource  for every ten SDRs.  Whether this role falls under the umbrella of sales, marketing, or sales enablement, or is outsourced, is moot.  The important thing is that a dedicated resource must be in place to ensure ongoing, consistent expansion and stewardship of your account and prospect database.

Integrate

Dealing with the challenges of disparate data sources is an incredibly common theme across most industries and holds true in sales and marketing as well.  Collecting standard account and prospect data from a single source and importing it into your CRM will no longer cut it.  Three-dimensional data that incorporates technographics, company news, and senior leadership changes will almost always come from multiple sources.  Integrating that data into a single location (your CRM) and creating a “dashboard view” displaying critical account and prospect information, will have a substantial impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of sales development reps.

Develop Account and Contact Taxonomies

By developing a taxonomy that classifies accounts and contacts based upon variables such as industry, company size, technographics, previous interactions, and even trigger events, sales development teams can more effectively deliver personalization at scale.  By segmenting accounts and contacts that fit a certain profile and building email templates and messaging that speak directly to a very targeted group of decision makers, personalization and effective engagement will begin to occur at a higher volume.

Understanding Coverage

It’s critical to understand for what percentage of your target market you have sufficient data.  And even more importantly, in an account-based sales development model where a team is executing plays targeting specific accounts, what does coverage look like at each account?  Better data coverage always equals greater effectiveness.  Assuming you’re building a program that’s targeting an addressable market of ,000 companies and ideally you want information for a minimum of 4-6 decision makers per account, then you can use those figures to establish a target and measure your existing data coverage against that. 

Understanding data coverage should also be broken down by vertical or account profiles in order to develop a better understanding of what areas require more effort than others.

Data quality and quantity is something that is often overlooked.  But it’s an element of sales development, and the overall sales and marketing ecosystem for that matter, that is vital. Organizations must therefore make the necessary investment to ensure the quality, completeness, and coverage that is so critical to sales and marketing success.