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Do Your Sales Prospects All Look the Same?

14 November 2012 by Sami Jajeh

This blog entry was highly plagiarized (with permission, of course!) from my good friend Gary Brooks, CMO for Cortera. Cortera has built the first ever B2B purchasing data database. For the first time, companies can now have critical sales intelligence about who actually purchases the product they are selling!

The old way isn’t good enough…

Since 1937, we’ve used Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes to determine what companies do, but unfortunately, these classifications can be inaccurate, misleading or lack the granularity needed to truly determine which business a company is in.

We typically associate a company’s size with revenue, which is relatively easy to find on the 15,000 U.S. public companies, but near impossible to find on the 5,985,000 companies that are privately held.  To compensate for the lack of data on private companies, we make assumptions and build sophisticated models to estimate revenue which is also fraught with inaccuracies.

But, does this traditional data actually improve your sales and marketing efficiency? As you process this waterfall of inaccurate data on customers, prospects and suppliers, how much more do you really know—even about companies with whom you have frequent business transactions?  Does this information—which is costly to acquire and manage—significantly improve your sales and marketing efficiency, boost your revenues, or reduce your risks?

The answer is almost certainly “NO”. Conventional business information tools provide too much information, irrelevant information or simply lack the key information needed–especially on private companies.  The image of our customers and prospects that emerge are incomplete and reveals very little about a company’s true financial value to you– now, or in the future.

It is time to take a page from the B2C marketing playbook!

With the use of credit and debit card data, retailers have employed increasingly sophisticated methods for capturing and analyzing consumer purchasing habits.  Through data mining, pattern detection, “market basket” analysis and other techniques, they have dramatically improved their ability to identify premium customers, improve cross-selling opportunities, predict future purchasing behavior and enhance overall sales and marketing effectiveness.

For instance, marketing and sales professionals can correlate a customer’s purchase of a minivan with the purchase of diapers, car seats, and a constellation of other child-centric products and services.

Imagine the same advantage in the B2B world

As with consumers, the manner in which companies spend their money speaks volumes about their priorities and direction.  If you had a view into that behavior you would ideally see purchasing data for raw materials, shipping services, and an array of business supplies and services.

The details and trends revealed in these spending areas can tell you if a company is experiencing growth or decline… if it is expanding and adding personnel, or contracting and treading water financially.

Such spending data simply hasn’t been available until now.  Fortunately, Cortera has opened this treasure trove and made it accessible to growth-minded companies for the first time.  To learn more about the power of B2B purchase insights, visit our good friends at Cortera, www.cortera.com.

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