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3 September 2013

Importance of up-to-date B2B databases highlighted

Content team

Firms in the business-to-business sector have been reminding of the importance of creating and maintaining an up-to-date database of marketing contacts and information.

It was noted by Ruth Stevens, customer acquisition and retention consultant and teacher of marketing at Columbia Business School that this is arguably the most important tool at a marketer's disposal. She explained that without a comprehensive repository of business information on customers, it will be almost impossible to make good decisions.

"Your database is the roadmap for your B2B marketing; it's the recorded history of the customer relationship," she stated

Ms Stevens noted that for B2B firms, there are a number of challenges that do not exist for consumer-facing firms. For instance, while in B2C businesses, the decision-maker and the buyer are usually the same person, business marketers have a wide range of people that they need to factor into their strategy.

"In the mix are employees charged with product specification, users of the product and purchasing agents, not to mention the decision-makers who hold final approval over the sale," Ms Stevens said.

B2B databases also need to carry information at multiple levels. They should give users details on the enterprise and parent company as a whole, data on the location of sites, offices and warehouses, as well as a range of individual contacts within the organisation.

Another problem is that much of this data will degrade much faster than consumer information, at a rate of between four and six per cent a month. Therefore, it will be essential to keep a constant eye on databases to ensure details such as job titles, email addresses, company moves and company name changes are up to date.

Ms Stevens also highlighted several key elements that company information databases need to contain in order to give marketers to best chance of success. In addition to contact details of key individuals within target firms, they will need to know information such as their latest revenue and sales figures, number of employees, credit rating and financial and purchasing history.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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