You’ve probably heard the term ‘data’ before. You’ve also probably heard that this thing called ‘data’ can help you make better and more informed decisions, as well as improving your performance. But have you ever been told what exactly business data actually is? Or what different types of business data are? Or how to implement its use? But, before we even get to that stage, have you ever been told where to find this data?
Even if your answers to any of these questions were no, then there’s no need to worry! These are all questions that this article will help you find an answer to so that you can become confident on the topic, more data-driven in your work, and see an improvement in your performance.
What is business data?
Business data is a term that does exactly what it says on the tin. It refers to information about businesses and it can include, but is not limited to, the industry that the business is in, the number of people the business employs, and what, if any, marketing automation tools it utilises.
Obviously, this definition is casting a wide net. If business data refers to all information there is about a business, then me just telling you that business data is important and that you should focus on using it to achieve growth might not be so useful. So, an obvious follow-up question would be: what type of business data is relevant for me?
What are some examples of business data?
There are undoubtedly many ways to categorise business data, with any potential differences likely being semantical in nature. Across the board, there are six primary business data categories that are widely applicable for businesses.
Basic data provides the bare-bones story of the business. It helps you build a generalised understanding of the organisation and uniquely identify each business. It includes:
- Business ID
- Founding date and year
- Official name
- Auxiliary name, and more
Location data builds upon the foundation that basic data established, telling you more about where the business is operating. It includes:
- Stress addresses
- Postal codes
- Company headquarters
- Other office locations, and more
Industry/category data continues to expand on the descriptive elements of the business, informing you of the type of business activities it conducts and helping you create more detailed company domains. It includes:
- Official industry classifications
- Other category classifications, and more
Technology data is more behavioral in nature, giving you more information about the technological platforms, products, and services that the business uses. It includes:
- Email server
- Content management system
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
- Marketing automation
- Payment methods, and more
Financial data provides greater insight into the business’ financial situation. It includes:
- Income statement line items
- Balance sheet line items
- Common financial KPIs, and more
Social Media data
Social Media data explores the business’ presence on social media platforms. It includes:
- Engagement, and more.
The combination of all these distinct types of business data deliver a unique and unified view into customers’ minds and needs. For this reason, technology, such as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), that assembles all of these types of data are becoming increasingly popular- which is why they are one of this year’s sales trends.
Even though you now know more about business data, the different business data categories, and the types of information that these different categories encompass, you might still feel a little unsure on how to implement this data. To get a little more hands-on, we’ll be discussing the ways in which practitioners actually use business data in their daily operations.
How salespeople can use business data: real-time sales
To be successful as a salesperson, you first have to understand your potential customers’ needs, wants, and desires. Then you have to show your potential customer that you understand, which you can do by sharing relevant content, and communicating with them in a personalized manner. Business data is essential for the success of this process.
Real-time sales is a sales methodology that uses real-time business data to help inform salespeople of who they should be talking to, what they should be talking about, and when they should be reaching out. The first step in the successful implementation of a real-time sales methodology is defining who it is you want to sell to – your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Without business data, your ICP will not have a leg to stand on – it’ll be based on nothing more than hunches. By introducing business data into the mix, you won’t be making the same baseless assumptions and you’ll actually be able to accurately define your ICP. With access to all the aforementioned types of business data, you’ll be able to establish a precise and comprehensive profile of your best-fit prospects.
For example, you could discover that your ideal customers are construction companies in Helsinki that have over 10 million in revenue and that use a CRM system. Even a simple profile like this would require several business data types, specifically industry data, location data, financial data, and technology data. But, by getting these different data types and creating a profile like this, you’ll be able to focus your energies on the businesses that are the most profitable for you. This is just a single simple example of the impact that business data can have in your sales process.
To get more into detail about real-time sales, check out our guide!
How marketers can use business data: account-based marketing
Marketers can also derive significant value from the use of business data. One way in which they benefit is the ability to implement more comprehensive and customisable marketing strategies, which require advanced segmentation. Account-based marketing (ABM) is one such strategy. ABM recommends the concentration of company resources on the acquisition of high-value customers. ABM proposes that the best way to do this is with highly targeted and personalized campaigns, which are based on specific attributes of a potential customer. There is substantial support for the use of ABM amongst practitioners, with an ITSMA survey finding that 84% of companies believed that ABM delivered higher ROI than other types of marketing (ITSMA).
So, how do you implement ABM? Well, first, you need business data. How else would you know who your most high-value customers are? Or what attributes they share? Without an accurate depiction of your potential customers, you won’t be able to personalize your content and communication, and specificity is what makes ABM ideal for B2B businesses.
To find out more about ABM, check out our guide!
Where you can find business data
With the Internet at your fingertips, finding relevant business data is not as arduous a search as you might expect it to be. Simply searching the name of the business will likely get you several sources that can tell you all about what the business does, what its products or services are, where its offices are located, and who the team is.
There are a multitude of online resources at your disposal that can help you compile business data and create useful company profiles. Such resources include:
- Company websites
- News sites
- Social media sites
- Official registers
However, instead of scouring the Internet and manually searching for business data on as many companies as you can find, you could use a database to help you build your list of potential customers and fill it with relevant business data. These databases will be a great starting point on your aggregation of business data and cost you nothing to use:
As the disclosure requirement and availability of data varies significantly from country to country, the use of local databases may prove to be a more effective tactic, in your quest for business data. For a more comprehensive list of potential local databases, check out our article on where to find lists of companies in Europe for B2B.
Now that you know what business data is, how it can be of value to you, and where you can find it, the next step is to do it – implement the use of business data in your organisation. A good starting point for finding business data is vainu.io/search, where you’ll be able to find comprehensive company profiles for the Nordic countries. While searching, you’ll be able to apply numerous company filters to make sure that the companies you find are relevant for you. These company profiles are just a small part of what Vainu has to offer.
To see the full extend of Vainu's capabilities, request a demo.