It’s all about the data, right? But how are you getting your data? Is it the right data? And, is there a difference among data providers and vendors?
These are big questions marketers must answer today. Fortunately, DemandGen recently spoke with Mark Godley, President of LeadGenius, who has been in the lead database and lead generation market for majority of his career. During the DemandGen Radio podcast, David tapped into Mark’s experience and expertise, asking about the state of database providers and some best practices for sourcing top of funnel leads and data enrichment services.
David: What is your perspective on the explosion in data and everything happening around the data stack?
Mark: It’s a blessing and a curse. The blessing is, if you go back 5-6 years ago and ask a B2B buyer what data vendor they use, they would name one vendor. But the ability to get very granular has allowed specialty vendors to pop up that can augment traditional data such as name, email and phone numbers with more qualitative information. That’s the blessing: We can understand buying behavior and interests more intimately. But here’s the curse: Because there’s been an explosion of vendors, it’s hard to understand how to build a data stack that will enable a meaningful go-to-market strategy.
David: When people make the comment, “It really doesn’t matter where you get your data because everyone is getting data from same sources,” what’s your response?
Mark: There’s some legitimacy to that. There are two major ways to build company or individual data from a vendor perspective: 1) Build it yourself through web crawling or brute source, or 2) aggregate from third-party data. When you talk to a data vendor, ask them how they build their data, because if you follow your data back to the source, there are only about a half dozen vendors who build their data for resale to partners. It’s infuriating when you find out the data vendor who you have a relationship with actually buys from vendors you’ve ruled out before because of poor-quality data. On the other hand, there are some extremely sophisticated vendors out there that only build proprietary data. The trick is to find the subset of vendors that do that, then go for a low-cost commodity purchase in the segments of data that are ubiquitous across vendors.
David: If you were giving advice to yourself as the head of a company looking to buy lists, what would that be?
Mark: First, go deeply on how they are building their data. Second, find out if they license any data that’s blended into what they build. Third, sample before you buy. When you do, give them the “seeds” of the sample. There are a lot of grey-market mystery-meat vendors. Don’t fall victim to them skimming the subset of their data that is pristine, then buy and find the rest isn’t high-quality. Give them companies or people to append emails to. If you can control the subset of their sample data, or have them do contact appends to your data, you can make sure they don’t unethically juice the results to make them look better than they are. Also, don’t go to a website for information. Talk to your peer group and get a first-person referral.
David: The sourcing of data used to be the responsibility of a role within the organization. In this day of full-stack marketing, we’re not just pulling in lead management data (net new records) but data from all of our MarTech tools. So, the role in marketing operations that’s responsible for data sourcing and hygiene is an overlap.
Mark: Data buying used to be the responsibility of whoever manages an SDR team as the primary buyer. Then marketing automation came in and lead nurturing above the funnel became prominent. There’s a lot going on in the customer success area, as well, such as looking at influence centers at companies. The need for accurate, relevant and comprehensive data across the entire buying center, from pre-evaluation and unknown prospects all the way through cross-sell/up-sell and renewal, is the purview of data-centric organizations. The concept of data operations that covers the spectrum will become much more the norm in the years to come.
David: What does demand generation look like at various stages from a president’s perspective?
Mark: I have been fortunate to be part of pre-revenue organizations, so I’ve seen the full spectrum. I’m happy to say I’ve had mostly positive outcomes. What’s interesting is the concept that demand generation really does change and can be different in each one of those phases. Pre-revenue, you’re trying to see if people will spend money for it. Before I had kids, I used to climb a lot of mountains. When you’re doing that, you can’t think about the summit too soon, because you have immediate risk in front of you. That’s how I became an incrementalist. In the startup world it’s similar. Start-up pre-revenue is about getting big logos and funding. Post-revenue you’re finding a target market fit and replicatible process for getting more mid-market logos. When you get to B-round funding, it’s about expanding within your target accounts. My point is, in every stage, demand generation looks different.
David: The natural path to ABM in a small start-up, in which sales and marketing have a close relationship, is to march to the same beat and trying to get clients and products out the door. In larger organizations, those functions drift apart, and spray and pray becomes more prevalent. As companies need to get to the next level, they get back to ABM and bring in a different type of sales leadership. Makes sense.
Since you are relatively new to LeadGenius team, what changes are you bringing about there?
Mark: LeadGenius is building a fast hybrid data service that I think is the future of where the data relationships are going. It encompasses the concepts of multiple layers, having someone manage those relationships on behalf of the client and provide additional data on top of third-party data. One of the mistakes we’ve made is we’ve been riding the coattails of the more common buzz words (ie. predictive, analytics, ABM). Lead Genius has been jumping on those bandwagons. All of the MarTech companies are doing a disservice to buyers by not being precise and concrete. It takes too much time to figure out the real value, and our buyers are overwhelmed, frustrated and confused. Internally, I’m getting us all aligned on our differentiation — where do we compete and where do we align? I’m testing messaging with some of our most trusted advisors and asking for their advice. Alignment across stakeholders, clarifying messaging and being respectful to buyers will help us cut through the clutter.
About DemandGen Radio
DemandGen’s PodCast Series features interviews with top industry experts, thought leaders, authors, marketing technology firms and senior marketing leaders from around the world about their methods and technologies for high-performance marketing. A replay of the full podcast with Mark Godley can be found here.
Find out about our next and other upcoming podcasts at www.DemandGenRadio.com.
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