Data is now the key to nearly every business process, operation, and design. There’s just no way to thrive without it, and more importantly, without real-time data that allows for near-instant reactions and decisions.
Most discussions about data center around the B2C space, however, barely touching upon B2B as an alternative. We know what successful and valid B2C data looks like because we’re constantly hearing about it. B2B, on the other hand, is still a mystery in many ways.
Not anymore. This quick guide is going to explore the various types of B2B data that are important to day-to-day operations, as well as where it comes from and how it can be leveraged.
Why Is B2B Data Different?
Simply put, B2B data has everything to do with the separate nature of the market. Providers are expressly dealing with other businesses and operations as opposed to consumers. Already, that alone calls for a very different approach, but when you consider the additional requirements that exist, the differences become even more apparent.
When you look at how consumers make purchase decisions, for example, it’s easy to see there’s a lot of emotion and personal experience involved. B2B players, on the other hand, rely on logic, value, and proven results. The obvious impact this has is changing the role of marketing. Any promotion or marketing campaign must point out the value of a product when features and uses it has, as well as an expected ROI.
Therefore, B2B data should be used to strengthen this technique, but also to find new “micro-markets” where a product or service must see lucrative opportunities.
Common Forms of B2B Data
Here are some of the most important forms of B2B data:
Account Data – This form of data is similar to a customer or consumer profile in that you’re amassing relevant information about an organization and its needs. The idea is to build an accurate profile or representation which can be used to glean potential business opportunity. It includes information such as the name of a company, total size, service markets, products it offers, funding, performance, and more.
Contact Data – This form of data is simple yet incredibly important. It highlights business contacts who are a direct node to a potential client. In other words, each contact is a method of communication, be it via email, phone, or chat services. It’s also important to understand that a single organization has different points of contact, so all relevant parties may appear in such a database even if there are multiple options at a single company.
Intent Data – The expected or estimated intentions of a B2B prospect belong here. Because of the broad definition, it means that a swath of data types may be included. Intent data may deal with online behavior, past communications and queries, keyword searches, page visits, social media participation and more. Basically, anything that helps the sales team discern the needs of a prospect or client fits within this category.
Engagement Data – Similar to intent, engagement related data is about behavior and patterns but it mostly deals with overall interest and strengthening that investment. The key to building engagement is to understand the client or party in question. How do they react to certain comments, events, and actions? What makes them more likely to participate, or adversely more likely to walk away?
Technographics – This subset of data deals with the tools and technologies that a client or prospect is currently using, plans to use or may avoid entirely. This may not apply to all B2B providers, but in today’s landscape, most B2Bs are trying to sell a tech-based solution or product. Understanding what a client uses currently, what they’re looking for and what they’re not willing to implement is key to building a relationship. A client currently using location intelligence tools is not going to swap to something without them, for instance. The same is true if they’re planning to introduce AI solutions or any number of advanced and innovative platforms.
Firmographics – This category of data can basically be described as business demographics. It includes the basic information that can be used to characterize and differentiate B2B prospects. Things like the number of total clients, geographic reach, total number of employees, how many products and services they have, or even what’s in the works.
History and Performance Data – This category of data applies to the B2B itself, as opposed to potential clients. B2Bs must be able to show an established presence in the current landscape, which includes how many past clients were successful, how helpful products really are, and what a quantifiable ROI is. It’s not something that can be presented without proper sourcing and documentation.
B2B Data Is More Complex
As you can see, most of the data that holds value in the B2B market is much more complex. It deals with identifying potential clients, servicing and supporting them properly, and really tapping into the kinds of solutions and tools they need. It’s not unlike B2C-focused data in that you’re building a customer profile, you absolutely are, but the resulting information is much more expansive, telling and sophisticated.