Sales Tech Simplified with @Katie_E_Bullard: How to Eliminate the Problem of Data Decay

November 16, 2017 Jennifer Wyne

In this series, we ask tech executives to describe the why and how of their solution. We call it Sales Tech Simplified.

This week I interview Katie Bullard, Chief Growth Officer of DiscoverOrg.

Nancy: Why does the industry need your solution?

Katie: You may have heard terms like sales intelligence, marketing intelligence, intent data, predictive data, or similar: They generally refer to the same thing, which we refer to it as marketing and sales intelligence, and it’s revolutionizing the B2B industry. It is now a must-have for any competitive business in the marketplace – and refers to any and all company, contact, and behavioral data sales and marketing teams rely on to execute effective sales and marketing campaigns.

While many forward-thinking companies are heavily investing in the space – most buyers fail to realize how different the quality of the data can be coming from different providers – both in breadth and accuracy.  Nor do they realize how costly bad data can be to their success.

It’s like the old saying “Time is Money.” Well, in today’s world, sales and marketing team productivity is hindered most by the endless administrative hours and program ineffectiveness caused by working with inaccurate, incomplete, and missing data that comes from today’s typical “list provider.” Sales reps only spend 1/3rd of their day actually selling. The rest of their time is spent doing research, reporting, administrative, and CRM-related tasks. Because building, cleaning, and maintaining marketing lists can be a full-time job – marketers struggle to find the resources needed to personalize campaigns and execute ABM at scale. It is these manual processes that are sucking the time out of the workday and providing businesses with little value in return.

While some companies turn to purchasing more lists to increase revenue and efficiency, simply buying more data does not solve for any of these problems. Forward-looking companies are realizing that if that data is not accurate, actionable, continuously updated, and integrated into your everyday tools and processes, you’ll just be generating MORE work for your team and wasting more resources. This is why choosing the right data provider is so important – and why DiscoverOrg has so quickly disrupted the industry. Because DiscoverOrg backs our proprietary technology, tools, and integrations with a 200+ person in-house research team, we’re able to ensure our database is constantly growing, and more importantly, constantly being cleansed, verified, and updated.

Ironically, the problem of data accuracy is being continually perpetuated by the same data providers who claim to solve for this. In short, these providers take the low-cost route to obtain the data you rely on in the form of web-scraping and crowdsourcing. This data is typically limited to what you would find on a business card – and is delivered to you in a way that almost always requires additional administration to operationalize. Most importantly, these methods simply can’t keep up with the continuously evolving nature of B2B intelligence. You may have heard that roughly 1/3rd of your sales and marketing database decays each year.  This is also true for most data providers today. This is why companies can never seem to have a highly actionable database despite continually purchasing new information from data vendors. DiscoverOrg is the only data provider that has the technology and verification practices that truly eliminate the problem of data decay – and our integrations with all of the major CRM, marketing automation, and sales development platforms means that you get that data delivered to you right where you’re working every day.

Lastly, DiscoverOrg is unique in that we seamlessly combine contact data with a continuous stream of real-time predictive intelligence. In a single tool,  we can help you build an ideal customer profile, find lookalike target accounts, identify the right buyers and demand units within those accounts, craft personalized messaging, and engage at the right time based on ideal fit and real-time buying signals. Unfortunately, most teams are paying for multiple tools to accomplish these tasks independently in siloed systems – ultimately sabotaging workflow and misaligning sales and marketing teams.

Nancy: Why should it be prioritized above other options?

Katie: Data is the fuel for all of your sales and marketing tools. I was speaking with sales consultant Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group, and she said “I’d buy great data before I bought any other tool.” No matter how sophisticated or robust your tech stack is, it will only ever be as good as the data feeding it. Moreover, if your sales and marketing tools aren’t utilizing the same data, they are effectively operating in a silo and creating misalignment and wasted efforts. For these reasons, investments in data should always be priority #1. Imagine taking away all of your sales tools (including dialers, scheduling tools, content management systems, and even your CRM) and you only left phone and email in your tech stack. What’s the one thing you can’t live without to begin generating pipeline and revenue? Its data, every time.

Nancy: What are the symptoms that indicate an organization would benefit from your solution?

Katie: If you’re a B2B company that wants to hit higher and higher pipeline and revenue targets and crush the competition, you’d benefit from DiscoverOrg.  It’s as simple as that.  If you don’t want either of those things, you might want to rethink your current career!

What’s really interesting is that often sales and marketing leaders experience “symptoms” of bad data, without knowing data is in fact at the core of the problem. A common scenario we encounter are Sales Development leaders who are convinced that hiring additional headcount is the solution to generating more leads or booking more appointments. In reality – for less than the cost of an SDR, DiscoverOrg can easily double the productivity of the existing team.  Or the flipside, sales development teams with high turnover rates – sometimes because the SDR reps are frustrated by spending so much time sifting through bad data.

Nancy: Where does your solution fit in the Hierarchy of Revenue Needs™?

Katie: We  most strongly align with “knowing who to sell to” and “engaging with prospects.”  We very clearly and simply help our customers find, connect, and sell to their target prospects more effectively.

Nancy: How mature is a typical organization’s sales stack before adding your technology?

Katie: Customers of all sizes and levels of sales stack sophistication benefit from better data, so we often find it is one of the first 3 tools they invest in. Some of our smallest customers don’t even have a CRM yet – and invest in DiscoverOrg first because investing in data that allows you to effectively find, connect, and sell to prospects generated higher return than anything else. Most often, we see customers invest in a CRM tool to manage and optimize their sales activities, a marketing automation tool to effectively engage with prospects, and data to fuel both systems.

Nancy: In what ways is your solution complementary to others that might be in someone’s sales stack now or in the future?

Katie: Again – because data is the fuel that feeds your tech stack – any tool will benefit from better data. We integrate with all of the major CRM, marketing automation, and sales development tools on the market and the majority of our customers leverage our data through these integrations.  Though our integrations, we aim to unify your tech stack and maximize the ROI you get from any tools relying on sales and marketing intelligence.

Nancy: What are some challenges your solution solves for Marketing/Sales?

Katie: By deeply embedding our data intelligently into the daily sales and marketing prospecting workflows – we help teams find the right buyer at the right account at the right time and with the right message. Because the pipeline generation process has so many moving parts – we end up directly or indirectly solving for multiple challenges along the buyer journey.

  1. The first challenge in the sales and marketing process is defining your target market and knowing what your ideal customer looks like. This stage is crucial because knowing who your best customers is key to determining who your best-fit potential customers will be. We provide all customers with a feature called “AccountView” that provides a highly accurate “DNA” of account lists, allowing you to interactively hone-in on specific criteria, and generate a list of look-alike companies on the fly. When our customers focus their sales and marketing efforts on prospects who will have a need for their solution – cost to acquire new customers goes down, while conversion and retention rates increase.
  2. After a target market and buyer profile have been established, the next challenge is to identify the key contacts you want to engage with within your target list of accounts. We do this by allowing users to create prospecting lists with hyper-granular search and segmentation filters that can’t be found elsewhere. They can do this in our platform, or within their CRM (such as Salesforce and Bullhorn). Our research team uncovers hard-to-find info such as job responsibilities (which aren’t always clear based on job title) that allow our customers to laser target every possible influencer within a target account – ultimately enabling Account-Based Marketing and Sales campaigns.
  3. Once a target list of contacts has been established, the next challenge  in maximizing efficiency is prioritizing outreach and identifying opportunities by propensity to buy. Spray and pray does NOT work anymore – if it ever did. Our native predictive engine ranks your prospects in real-time by combining data we capture around an account’s firmographic and technographic profile with detailed data on buying signals and intent activity.  This means you can in real-time prioritize both accounts and contacts with the right PROFILE to buy who also have the right INTENT to buy.  For Marketers, this real-time intent data allows for more sophisticated lead scoring, nurture, and segmentation activities.
  4. After users have narrowed their search to the best prioritized opportunities, the next challenge is to craft relevant and personalized messaging. Because we have provided a list of account/contacts that are good fits and have an apparent need/benefit for your solution,  teams can now afford to put more time and strategy behind personalizing their outreach, knowing that each outreach has a higher possibility of converting. We make personalize messaging at scale incredibly efficient by providing company and contact profiles containing all the data you need in one place. This includes but is not limited to; installed technologies, financial/budgetary data, current project and initiatives, reporting structure, geographic details and more. It’s these hard-to-find data points that sales reps a significant portion of their day finding. Whether that be jumping around websites, popping in and out of Linkedin, or filling in blank fields in their CRM – none of these activities are revenue generating. We feel that your most expensive assets (your sales people) should be paid to sell – not research for the data they need to do their job.
  5. Finally – once relevant messaging has been crafted to the best contacts at accounts with the highest likelihood to buy – realize that none of this matters unless you have a direct line of contact. For instance, I’ve heard from so many sales teams that marketing sends them loads of companies that have buying intent, but the sales reps can’t ever connect with the prospect because they don’t have their phone number or a good email address. The actual act of engagement is where our highly accurate contact data (including direct dial phone numbers and verified email addresses) and integrations with engagement tools really allow sales and marketing teams to amp their results. We had one customer tell us that just by adding direct dials to their sales team’s arsenal, lead-to-demo conversion rates went up a full 17 percentage points.

Nancy: What are some good resources if someone wanted to learn what questions to ask, what others are doing, or purchase considerations?

Katie: We’re big fans of the work that TOPO is doing on the sales, sales development, and account-based marketing front.  Their research and best practices are actionable and on point!

Previous Article
The Best Event for Sales Enablement Leaders at Dreamforce Wasn’t Even on the Official Agenda
The Best Event for Sales Enablement Leaders at Dreamforce Wasn’t Even on the Official Agenda

One of the best experiences from Dreamforce 2017 was not on the official Dreamforce agenda - the Sales Enab...

Next Article
How Finding the Common Revenue Thread Simplifies Executive Decision Making
How Finding the Common Revenue Thread Simplifies Executive Decision Making

Oh, year-end analysis. How I love thee and hate thee. Let me count the ways… This is the time of year wh...