Data is a constant in today’s business ecosystem. While most businesses want data, many do not know how to understand it. Nonetheless, data is drastically reshaping the B2B industry, causing marketers to adopt new strategies and evolve away from reliance on outdated methodologies and metrics.
In the simplest terms, data can be defined as: distinct pieces of information, usually formatted in a special way. Large, undefined data sets are usually referred to as big data. Over the last few years, big data has been increasingly recognized as a resource for making better-informed business and operations decisions. However, with the onset of big data there has also been a fundamental change in the way data has to be viewed and managed. It is often so large and complex, that –lacking a team of data scientists—most marketing teams lack the understanding of how to apply it, rendering it relatively useless. 
Everybody has it, but what does it mean?
Data is everywhere. B2B marketers require comprehensible and applicable data in order to improve their results and ultimately drive growth for their company in a profitable, predictable and repeatable way. However, a large issue with relying on data is the quality of the information available.
According to Dun & Bradstreet’s 2016 B2B Marketing Data Report, the quality of data varies quite a bit. Seventy-seven percent of B2B marketers surveyed claimed their databases were missing industry info, 87% were missing revenue info, 86% were missing employee info, 62% were missing phone numbers, 82% were missing website domain and 45% were missing title info. All of this information is necessary in most cases to make a proper determination on quality of leads. Furthermore, 41% cited inconsistent data across technologies as being their biggest challenge.
Clearly, it is imperative to find a MarTech solution that will give you the right information and allow you to harness it so that you can get ahead of the curve and capitalize on your marketing efforts.
Why data, why now?
Properly implemented data can build predictive models. We can make more than just educated guesses; data actually fully empowers a business to get insights that were not previously possible. Data also helps to eliminate the blanket cold calling that has made people shy away from ever answering their phones and leaving sales reps to play phone tag, instead of actually calling the prospects that matter and are in-market for their product.
So why data?
According to a recent survey conducted for predictive intelligence platform 6Sense, 43% of respondents used predictive analytics to get insights about where prospects are in the sales funnel. Furthermore, Forbes Insights reported that 26% of marketing executives in North America said that a benefit of predictive marketing was better funnel conversions. Data is the driving force behind these insights. With data you can peak behind the curtain and gain a visibility that was previously not possible and was left up to crafty guesswork.
Making data work for you
Ultimately, B2B marketers are looking for a solution that will help them drastically improve their sales cycle and produce a better return on investment (ROI) than the solutions that they are currently or not currently using. This is why account based marketing has come storming back in 2016. With new developments and better understanding of data, B2B organizations are creating powerful solutions that are driving sales.
In particular, intent data is proving to be the most reliable new form of data that has been introduced to B2B marketers in the past few years. B2B marketers have always wanted better insights to understand their customer segment and now that technology is here. However, your intent data will only truly be effective when mixed with an even balance of 1st party, 3rd party, firmographic, demographic and cross-channel data.
With an account based marketing solution that is powered by multiple data sources, B2B marketers can know who their prospects are by what content they are interacting with and as a result, be able to better understand when they are in market. You get the right people at the right time when they are ready to buy.
To learn more about how an intent data account based marketing can power your B2B marketing efforts, watch this short video.

Nick Price

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