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Data First Approach: the importance of data in B2B marketing

12 August 2021

Rachie McCarthy

2 mins

blog

Strip back all of the layers on any B2B marketing site or strategy, and you’re left with the foundation for its success; data. Using a data first approach is crucial to reaching the targets you want to reach, instead of casting a very wide, very useless net that catches no fish at all. Databases are invaluable assets to store information that you can use again and again, updating it as your strategy evolves. Let’s take a look at why using data in an effective way is so critical to B2B marketing success.


Firstly, let’s think about your target audience. I talked about the importance of knowing how to market to your target audience in my blog post a couple of weeks ago, but now let’s talk about how to manage those targets in a strategic way. For email campaigns, inmails, physical advertising and anything else you can think of where you’ll have a very long list of contacts receiving said advertising, databases are one of the most useful ways to lay out those contacts in an easy to control way. Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of forming a spreadsheet filled with the contact details of over 300 people, working for 4 different companies, with a multitude of different job titles. It was a little daunting to say the least. Now, at the end of it I certainly had a very sexy looking alphabetically sorted 4 page spreadsheet, but without the access I had to a database filled with information, I wouldn’t have got very far at all.


There is a wealth of databases out there full of crucial information to find the right contacts that your business will be looking to target. You might shy away from the fact that a lot of them require payment in return for access, but trust me, the pros far outweigh the cons. I myself was utilising an online database site called Zoominfo, where all you need to do is type in the name of the contact, company or job title and it will provide you with the information for that person/people. Now it’s definitely not perfect, as it is still growing a lot of names are not on there (that on top of a lot of people’s information is simply kept too tightly under wraps to find), however, it certainly does make the job a lot easier.


Online database sites aren’t the only places you can find potential leads’ information. LinkedIn’s sales navigator tool also allows you to place your own filters to find the right people you need. Whilst it doesn’t hold the same information as a database, such as emails and phone numbers, it is the best place to find up to date information. People regularly update their LinkedIn’s to show their current employment status, title and company, whereas a database might not update that information as frequently. My trick is to use LinkedIn to find the targets’ names, current company & title, then run those names through Zoominfo to find their contact details. This is a highly effective way to gather data whilst having the hard parts of the process done for you.


But now you know how to gather the data, you’re probably still wondering why it is so important to B2B marketing specifically. When I talk about a data first approach I’m not solely speaking about gathering data to more easily extract the information you want, but it also provides the crucial opportunity to analyse the data and adapt whatever you’re doing to match. Not only can it help you build up your ideal customer profile and increase lead generation, but after the release of a new campaign, email, social media or otherwise, you can use the data to analyse the reception of that piece of marketing. Seeing who opened emails, who clicked through on a social media post and how many impressions a piece of marketing made allows you to figure out what works and what doesn’t, changing future strategies to improve on those results.


B2B is all about building long term relationships with leads in order for them to become clients. A data first approach is not only a great first step in identifying these leads, but keeping up to date with their details and reactions to your strategy gives you a very valuable edge in your business. Now I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg, but data definitely came before any successful B2B marketing campaign.

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