A Simplified Guide to Sourcing Good Sales Data

guide to sourcing good sales data

Every good marketer knows that one of the fundamentals of a successful marketing campaign is selecting a targeted audience. Who targets an eskimo with a bottle of suncream? But quite often marketing campaigns fail because this part of the planning is overlooked, so much time is spent creating a great visual and too little time is spent researching and compiling a great list of target customers. Find out more about data

A definitive data list with details that meet your exact audience criteria increases the effectiveness of your marketing efforts which in turn results in your sales teams getting high quality convertible leads rather than wasting time on poor confused customer responses.

But with so many data providers out there, how do you know which one is going to support your requirements best.

With this in mind let’s discuss what you should consider when you’re shopping for data:


What Do You Want from Your Data?

Before signing up with a data service provider, be clear in your mind what you want to get out of your data what are your key campaign objectives?  This will help the provider to guide you in your selection and ensure that you only pay for what you really need. A common pitfall is marketing to the masses; target your audience with a defined message rather than one generic message to a huge amount of people.

Before buying anything, check your internal database do you have any potential prospects in here that you may wish to target too? A data refresh can sometimes be the best place to start for your campaigns or combine internal data with external to create one robust list.


Setting data objectives:

  • Who are the buyers or users of the product/service that you’re offering?
    • What profiles are they?
    • Why do they want to buy your product or service?
    • Do you need to pick certain demographics of buyers?
  • Logistics – how can the audience buy your product or service?
    • Do you need to target specific regions?
  • What form of response are you looking for? This will determine the data channel that you wish to go for ie: telephone, email, address, do you want multi-channel lists perhaps?
  • What are your metrics?
    • How many responses do you expect to get? This will help determine the number of prospects you need to find in your list building. There are lots of standard conversion stats around each medium that you can look at for guidance.



Ask the Right Questions

Now that you know what you want to accomplish with your data, you can start shopping!  Here are some handy questions to help you quiz your prospective data service:

  • How does the provider collect their data – are they data aggregators (gathering data from others) or do they collect their data direct from source (known as proprietary data)? Direct from source data is always the best quality of data as
  • How “clean” is the data? Do they provide any quality guarantees on their data? eg: TPS/EPS/spam checked
  • How is the data maintained, and how frequently is it updated and cleansed?
  • How is the data priced? Can you purchase in segments or is it a one size fits all approach?
  • Do they provide “samples” of their data or a trial? (Samples let you test the accuracy and functionality of their database).
  • Can they provide deduping services – enabling you to dedupe the external list against your customer base so that you do not face embarrassment by marketing to your own customers as new business prospects.
  • Once you have purchased the data how quickly do you receive it and in what format?
    • Can you import it directly in to your CRM system?
    • Do you have to send directly to a mailing house/or third party to handle?
    • What are the terms of the data usage? Ensure you follow these and don’t put your company in breach of the data terms.


Do your research

Shop around

Beware of bucket shop providers – the old adages, “buy cheap, buy twice” and “you get what you pay for” ring true where sourcing data is concerned. There are lots of data providers in the marketplace but only a handful are data owners and collect their data from source.

Why does that matter?

As a business you can potentially put yourself at risk by using harvested data (site scraping subscription forms). Data needs to be verified and compliant adhering to the relevant country regulations.

Collecting data in its correct form and adhering to legislation is a time consuming and expensive process therefore the cost to purchase the data should reflect this. Ie: If it’s cheap then it’s likely to not be very good.


Less is sometimes more

Most sales people prefer you to buy large amounts of data so that you spend more money with them. Do your research and objectively analyse whether it is actually worth buying large vats of untested data. It’s much more cost effective and sales responsive to choose segments of  data and send targeted marketing to individual groups rather than en masse untargeted generic advertising.


In summary

Don’t forget to follow UK and international direct marketing laws (think of the ethics and brand implications of using poor quality and/or illegal marketing data).

There are lots of useful articles and in-depth guides on this subject so do research your market and data providers simultaneously to ensure you choose the right approach to sourcing data for your company and your customers. It will pay off in the long run.


Useful links and further guides




Disclaimer:  Please note that this blog only contains general information and insights about legal matters.  The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Kompass.com

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