As more companies embark on account-based or named account marketing efforts, the importance of contact and account data moves front and center. The more you know about the target audience, the more impactful and efficient the marketing. The challenge is determining which data sources are best. Consider this: If a financial planner suggested putting all your money into a single investment, you’d know it was bad advice. It’s simply not prudent to go “all in” unless you’re playing poker and holding a Royal Flush.
Now, apply the same analogy to marketing data. While it might seem convenient to get everything from a single source, a “bet the farm” model for sources of contact and account data will work about as well as the average single-stock portfolio. Instead, build a balanced portfolio of internal and external information sources that provide the most complete insights about your market as well as the companies and prospects you need to reach. Here are some resources to consider.
Internal Sources. Start by taking an inventory of what you have. Marketers can build a wealth of account knowledge using their available resources and incorporate them into planning, including campaign message and tactic development. The goal is to create a rich understanding of accounts and contacts so that marketing can get the right message to the right prospects at the right points in the buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle.
External Sources. Different resources contribute different information. The key is understanding what you need and who best provides it. Shop around inside the company as a first step, both for references on quality and value as well as possible shared access. Beware of overlapping investments that drain budgets, especially if you can get access to the same tools that other groups in the company already have.
The bottom line for data is that it always pays to put multiple resources to work. The key is having the right mix to deliver the right information at a reasonable cost to support your objectives. If you do your homework to learn what’s available internally and externally, and then weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each source to address your specific needs, you’ll make a smarter investment.
Megan Heuer is Vice President of Research at SiriusDecisions. With more than 20 years of industry and professional services experience, she has worked both in – and for – organizations to build a wide variety of collaborative sales and marketing deliverables that drive systematic, predictable growth. Follow Megan on Twitter @megheuer.