When it comes to growing their pipeline, salespeople will generally invest most of their time in prospecting. And, in an effort to prospect successfully, those salespeople will generally be looking for something specific, targeting companies based on certain characteristics.
In our experience as a company data provider that has helped hundreds of sales organizations find more and better leads, we’ve found that there are three company characteristics that pretty much every salesperson will refer to when describing what they’re looking at when prospecting. They probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but those company characteristics are:
- Company size
Now, there’s nothing wrong with these data points—they’re tried and tested data points. That said, their popularity isn’t necessarily only due to them being meaningful characteristics to focus on. It may also in part be because they have been the most readily available data points historically. The reason for their widespread availability is that many countries have a local authority that collects this sort of basic company information when a company is registered.
When registering as a local business entity, companies are assigned a business ID. Those companies then need to provide an address for the company and choose their industry from the standard industry classification list available. Company size is generally derived from the annual financial reports that these companies will have to submit yearly. And all of this information is saved and stored by the local authority, which company data vendors, like Vainu, then access.
These are usually the data points that most sales organizations will have available in their CRM systems, either by manually adding them or using an integration from a data vendor to automatically populate those data fields. Which leaves us with some big questions: If these are the only data fields at our disposal, are our current prospecting or segmentation processes mediocre? And could we potentially have more precise and telling data fields for this type of information? The short answer: Yes. Read on to find out why.
Local authorities only collect and store information about local business entities, which leads to a potential issue: It becomes hard to distinguish between a local company and an international company with a local entity. So, if you want to filter and target companies based on the location of their HQ, which is information local registries do not include, you’re in for a tough ride.
Of course, you could manually review each company one by one to double-check, but that’s a time-intensive task, and the mental effort would probably be better off spent doing something else. A more effective solution would be using website information to ascertain a company’s location(s).
When registering with the local authorities, the business entity must choose their industry from the standard industry classification list available in that local country. This may not seem like a problem on the surface, but it does have some limitations:
- You can only have one official industry, despite the fact companies are likely to be involved in several activities, e.g., Teamtailor and Joblyon are building recruitment/hiring software, which means both software and recruitment would be relevant industries.
- Industries are self-reported, so there’s no external objective system allocating companies their industry, which leaves room for human error.
- Standard industry codes aren’t all that detailed or telling, especially when compared to other taxonomies, such as Vainu Custom Industry.
Company size data
Compared to location and industry, company size is a factor that is much more likely to vary with time, which presents an interesting issue. Typically, official employee count numbers will only be published in the annual financial reports that the company has to file with local authorities. This means that, for fast growing companies, that information can be severely out of date—potentially even up to 2 years old, as these financial reports are not required to be submitted at the end of the fiscal year, which could lead to significant inaccuracies.
Besides that, the financial reporting that is done is specific to the local entity and their in-country metrics, which could be an issue if you would like the employee count of the entire organization and not just its office in the local country.
How can you avoid these limitations?
So, how can you avoid the aforementioned limitations when it comes to the classification and identification of companies without having to check each company one by one? By using website insights. On average, Vainu analyzes and categorizes 400 websites every minute according to our AI-based industry classification model, Vainu Custom Industry. This translates to us analyzing over 25,000 companies every hour. Each company is assigned an average of 7 relevant industry verticals. On top of that, we do the same analysis for office address detection and employee count predictions, improving the accuracy of all the big three data points.
Website insights use cases
Of course, simply having data is not that important in itself, you need to do something about it. You need to be able to convert data into real insights and then act upon those insights. That taken into account, here are five use cases of website insights for you to consider.
Bring data into your CRM
It’s a hassle not to have everything you need in one place. Since sales and marketing people often start and finish a lot of business-related processes, such as prospecting, segmentation, marketing campaigns, etc., in their CRM, it’s best if all the data they need is accessible there. Vainu’s CRM Connector can help make that happen.
Find more Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) companies
As we’ve previously established, size, location, and industry are popular and powerful data points to use when identifying ideal customers, but your ICP description might often be somewhat “off” if you rely solely on standard industry data. Fortunately, website information includes many other data points, such as website rank, top keywords on a company’s website, or the company’s website-based tech stack.
Create more accurate audiences for ABM campaigns
A simple line of argument for the value of data is as follows: More data fields when creating your target lists allow you to create more precise segments, which gives you the opportunity to personalize your messaging to a greater extent, which will lead to improved conversion rates.
Since many ABM campaigns occur on LinkedIn, we’ve added LinkedIn links as one of our data fields. This way, your marketing team can easily upload a list they’ve created to LinkedIn’s campaign manager and target those companies with personalized ads on LinkedIn.
Allocate the right accounts to the right teams
Quite a few sales organizations have geographic- or company size -specific teams, making effective lead routing a priority. Lead routing can only be effective if it is based on accurate data. For example, if lead routing decisions are based on HQ locations, it’d be wrong to base the decision on standard industry codes and local authority data, as that would not necessarily provide the actual HQ. The same idea is true for company size, with there being a significant difference between local business entities and global business entities, a difference local data does not take into account.
Find international cross-sell opportunities
Another use case for website information is cross-selling opportunities. By looking at existing customers, you can see if they have local entities in other markets that you operate in at scale and, since you’ve already sold to one of their entities, be more likely to capture them.
Web insights will change the way we look at company profiles. The data points we can extract from company websites seem to be more accurate, more real time, and more global by nature than alternatives. If this is of any interest to you, then contact us via our chat or consider signing up for a free trial.