A 'magical' crystal ball for marketing and sales?

Yes, it really exists
Joël van Vugt
March 14, 2024 - Reading Time 6 minutes

Perhaps you were expecting a story about fortune-tellers, divining rods, or hocus pocus, but the opposite is true: this is a story about hard data that works like a magical crystal ball. And about how you can use this data in such a way that your marketing and sales processes will never be the same again. Welcome to the world of third-party data in your CRM. 

Some context before we start

Most marketing and sales departments work more or less the same way. Marketing casts a (online) net, attracts leads through web forms, and after qualification, passes them on to the sales department. They then eagerly call or email to persuade the leads to become paying customers.  

So much for the theory

In practice, qualifying leads is quite a big challenge for a marketing department. And that's quite an understatement. The reason for that is simple: to be able to assess something or someone, you need information. And that's not readily available.  

The easiest way for a marketer to obtain information is to request it in the form on the website. Secretly, every marketer would prefer to have twenty fields filled in. In practice, it often remains limited to name, email address, company, and with a bit of luck, their position within that company.  

And of course, you can then set up a fantastic nurture campaign, through which you can precisely check how 'engaged' someone is and then decide based on that whether this person is qualified or not.  

The only problem: that's not what the sales department wants.

The typical salesperson is a bit stubborn and prefers to decide for themselves which companies are suitable to follow up on. And especially in a B2B company, where leads don't come in abundance, they bristle at the idea that potentially valuable leads are left hanging in the opaque marketing system.  

Moreover, and this is the most important aspect, sales doesn't look at the potential of a person. Sales Looks at the potential of a company. And that's a huge difference.

If you really want to make sales happy as a marketer, then you provide them with this information: 

  • A clear overview of how this lead came in and what he/she wants
  • The contact information (name, address, and website) of the company.
  • The company's annual revenue
  • The number of employees at the company
  • Whether this company is already a customer
  • A telephone number for both the company and the person
  • Preferably also an email address

In practice, salespeople often search for most of this information themselves and theoretically then enter it into the CRM system themselves. In theory, because in practice, most salespeople dislike administration and particularly dislike keeping track of systems.  

Interesting read: Using data to run lightning-fast marketing campaigns

The magical crystal ball

A much easier way to provide really good information to your sales department is simply to retrieve this information from a database, such as that of Altares Dun & Bradstreet. The screenshot below shows how this works. 

typeahead

As soon as someone starts entering their company name, a pop-up appears in the form. Then you make a choice from there.  

When you then submit the form, an API fetches information about this company from our database and then sends it together with the filled-in information to your marketing system. It looks like this: 

Then, in collaboration with sales, you can decide for yourself which rules to apply to incoming leads. For example, you can choose to forward all leads, or only leads with a certain revenue and number of employees. All this information is included in your CRM and further enriched with, among other things, credit information, the company's family tree, and its DUNS-number.That is a unique code for every company in the world, which allows you to precisely track which activity belongs to which account.  

And the sales? They only need to pick up the phone.  

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