August 22, 2022

The Big Guys Are Using Data… Why Aren’t You?

Amazon knows you. Target knows you. Disney knows you. Netflix knows you.

They know what kinds of products you buy, they know what you like to read on social media (and who you’re connected to), and they know how often you shop.

This isn’t even news anymore.

Remember when it used to feel like an imposition? When they’d send you coupons for exactly the stuff you were looking for?

Or that their ads followed you around the internet?

Or that they knew when your birthday was, without you ever telling them?

It used to feel like an imposition.

And while to some people it still does, I think it’s safe to say that most Americans and Canadians, at least, have become comfortable with keeping the window on their lives open – in the bigger interest of making our lives easier.

Look in your wallet or purse.

How many “valued customer” programs are you a part of? How many loyalty cards do you use because you get points every time you make a purchase?

Probably quite a few.

And it’s no longer just the Amazons of the world that know about you.

The Prometheus Effect: Bringing Data “To the People”

In 1971, the HP 3000 business computer cost $95,000.

It’s difficult to imagine that the world would be what it is today if that cost never came down.

The first computers were inaccessible to most people; now, we carry them in our pockets and largely can’t be without them.

This is the nature of technology. The first microwaves were $5,000 (in 1950’s dollars). The first flat screen TV, introduced in 1997, was $15,000. Inaccessible to most.

Data has followed the same path.

For a long time, it took the resources of an Amazon or Walmart to have access to this magic.

But not anymore.

We have entered a new age where any business has access to the same kind of data that the big guys use.

Your business might not have teams of experts to analyze the data that’s accessible to you like they do, but we’ll talk about that in a bit.

For now, it’s important to understand that the power of data has been made available to any business trying to grow.

It comes in different forms, from purchasing lists to subscribing to data platforms to simply utilizing the tools that social media platforms have put in place but, rest assured, the kind of targeting that the biggest companies do… Is now within your reach.

More than Just “Lists”

The easy lift here, and one that many businesses have taken a shot at already, is purchasing a list.

If you’re building a prospecting target list – whether you’re in search of customers, donors, suppliers, stakeholders, voters, etc. – it’s actually quite easy to secure a good list from one of the big data companies.

If you done that, and if you’ve used it, you know how valuable it can be – and the data companies provide excellent targeting capabilities.

But, in the end, a list is a list.

You purchase a list of 250 prospects, while you get some good information on them, such as key contacts or whether they’re good payers, it’s up to you to take it from there.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t.

For them, the list is exactly that – a call or e-mail list.

I can guarantee you, you’re not getting the most out of the list that you can. And should be.

That’s where we come in.

Our data makes your list better.

Now, it might be something that you and your sales team are currently doing manually: when you make a cold sales call, or bump into a lead at a networking event, whatever you learn about them, you punch into your CRM.

(Please assure me you’re doing at least that. Whew!)

What we do is use the algorithms we’ve developed to find those connections that are so valuable to your sales process for you, to enhance your target list.

In fact, we’ve gotten on the radar of the big data companies (who in many regards are competitors of ours), who work with us because we make their data better for their customers.

The list is not the important part.

It’s the story that the list tells that is really the key to meeting your goals.

Three Ways to Get Going with Data

Now, while we think know that whatever data you’re working with, we can make it better… We believe that you should be using data, no matter whose you’re using.

In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that if you’re not using data in 2022 to inform ANY moves you’re making, whether it’s sales, expansion, fundraising initiatives, etc., you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Data is how the world is running, and that’s not going to end soon.

Yes, we understand that intuition and instinct are important in business, and great leaders make do-or-die decisions every day that end up yielding results…

But, let’s just say, you’d better have some damn good intuition if you’re going up against a competitor who’s using data to drive their decision-making.

So, how do you get started? Here are three ways:

  • Curate Your Own Data

Whether you’re engaging in list purchasing or subscribing to analytics like ours, you should be growing your own data bank every day.

Your team is talking to customers, prospects and contacts and gleaning information from them in every interaction.

That needs to be captured. It’s critical.

Now, be forewarned, this is a touchy subject sometimes with sales teams, because entering data into a CRM can be a pain.

It gets put off until the next day. The next week. “Takes too much time.” “I need to be selling and not at my computer.”

Well, nowadays, data is selling.

As a data company, we encourage you to make this aspect of the job a top priority – to the point of not doing it being a fire-able offense.

Because, one, all it takes is one salesperson to leave your company without their knowledge in the CRM for you to see how important it is, and…

Two, if you don’t have reliable information on the people you deal with, you’ll have a much more of an uphill climb landing your prospects, and keeping your customers.

  • Purchase a List

We talked earlier about the benefits of purchasing a curated list.

This is a great place to start, especially if you understand who you’re targeting.

There are generally two ways to do this:

  • Select specific parameters (location, industry, size, age, etc.) and have a list produced
  • Provide your data provider a small list of your top targets, and have a “lookalike” list created

Both of these approaches will get you much, much closer to your target prospects that you’ll get on your own.

But the key here is… Use the list.

Use it a lot.

Backwards, forwards and upside down.

Think about your process you use for a tube of toothpaste.

You use it a new tube as part of your daily practice, until it starts to get low.

Then, you use your thumbs to push the toothpaste toward the spout.

When that doesn’t work anymore, you start rolling the tube, forcing out every last bit of toothpaste before reaching into your medicine cabinet and opening another.

Admit it – you put your muscles into squeezing out that last little bit onto the toothbrush.

THAT’S how you use a data list.

Use it until you’ve squeezed out every last outcome possible

  • Engage in Analytics

This is the area where rel8ed can help you most, and where, we know, you’re going to get the best results.

We design algorithms to take either your targeting parameters or your actual list and make them much, much stronger.

We do it by making connections.

Our AI approaches find synergies in your data that lead to new doors opening.

And a variety of tools we’ve developed offer you a more definitive path forward that a simple list could never provide.

This is where you really start to act like the big companies, and gain a much more thorough understanding of your customers and prospects… and your world.

Using Data Effectively is Actually a Value to Your Customers

Go back where we started this article, and this transition we’ve all had – getting more and more comfortable with companies having our information.

How’d it happen? Why do we put up with it?

Think about this…

People allow companies like Google and Amazon to put actual listening devices in their living rooms.

People who go do Disneyworld voluntarily (and with glee!) strap a bracelet on their wrist that allows Disney to track every decision they make while on their property.

People willingly put a government-funded transponder in their car to pay tolls.

Why are we willing to have someone we don’t know… Know SO much about us?

Because Google and Amazon help us find things we need (or didn’t know we needed), just by saying them out loud.

Because Disney’s technology enhances our experience with the products and services we use.

Because automatic tolling services like E-ZPass, SunPass and FasTrak make things SO much easier, and lowers costs for us.

We’re willing to give them information about us because in some way it makes our live more convenient or enjoyable.

So, how does this play into YOUR business using data more effectively?

Wouldn’t it have the same effect?

Using data to target is no longer an imposition on people.

What if your outreaches were being made to people who wanted to hear from you?

What if you had insight on what made them tick, so your marketing team could design content specifically to help the people you’re targeting?

What if your sales outreach was so well-tailored that every prospect on your list was already an “A” prospect?

That’s how the “big guys” see the world.

It’s time for you to see it that way, too.

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