Public sources versus a generic database. The thoughts of an analyst.
As we all know, access to information has greatly improved thanks to the growth of the Internet. This is a great improvement, especially for people in the sales business: at last, you can quickly find information about prospects. However, it is both a blessing and a curse: ‘everything’ can be found, but how do you know if the information is correct?
Investing in a database?
To overcome this problem, database providers have arisen. Each database has its own data, its own filters, and specific qualities, as well as associated costs. The information comes from various selected sources and is processed in a clear, concise manner. Furthermore, a different organisation assumes responsibility for the correctness of the information itself; quite handy indeed, as you no longer need to worry about that. These advantages are simultaneously the biggest disadvantages:
- You are dependent on the data of a different commercial party;
- You have no influence on how often the data is refreshed;
- Do you even need the filters, or are you looking for different filters;
- Does a database provide all the data you are looking for?
On the other hand, it can also be cumbersome and perhaps undesirable to hire analysts yourself. Is there enough work for one or multiple analysts? Can an analyst find the desired information fast enough? And, understandably, what about the cost?
A different option
For large organisations, this is easier to solve: buy access to different databases or set up your own analyst team. However, there are ambitions, smaller organisations who are unable to solve this issue by throwing money at it. Regardless, I have a number of tips for these organisations:
- There are also databases where you only pay for the data you request, without fixed costs. This keeps the costs variable;
- There are public, objective sources, such as the figures of the CBS;
- Accurately determine in advance what information you are looking for and where you can get it;
- Combine purchased data with your own research. This will also put you on a path toward different, new, relevant information;
- Give an employee with a curious nature the freedom to spend a number of hours figuring out what public sources exist and what data is available. You can also give this person the opportunity to follow a course/training in this area. The hours invested will surely be returned in the form of better prospect lists, qualified appointments, and ultimately, deals.
The world around us is changing rapidly, various markets have been shaken to their cores in recent years due to a disruption. The proper collection of data and processing this data into relevant information will ensure that a company stays ahead; that the company keeps ‘scoring’. That is why freeing up time for analyses and data collection is a sensible investment.
Frank Op den Kamp
(Senior Sales Data Analist)