There are many different tools online to help you with your new business / marketing CRM. Some specialise in delivering insights, others focus on data and creating useful contact lists – some deliver a combination of both.
Here are some pros and cons to help you choose which tools (if any) are right for you:
– Products that focus on delivering contact data often have ready-made database functionality that allows you to search, manipulate and extract data (e.g. to build a contact list). Crucially, they also update the data, so you don’t have to!
– Certain products give ‘value-add’ – for example, you can tell the provider which sectors or brands you are targeting and they will send you relevant update emails.
– Some products can act as a one-stop-shop for the latest information on brands; press coverage, appointments, business results, new campaigns – saving you lots of time compared to a Google trawl.
– Some have incumbent agency data as part of their offering. Not only can this give you information on their relationship (e.g. length, main contacts, remit) it can also provide another way in if your agency has something unique to offer that may complement what the incumbent is doing.
– Certain products focus on delivering insights rather than contact details. These insights could give you a way to start a conversation with a brand.
– You rely on other people to keep the data up to date. Generally, they are pretty good but sometimes the data can be unreliable (especially when there are new appointments). Similarly, you can never really tell who are the true ultimate decision makers from the data alone.
– Given that everyone has access to the same information it is likely that lots of agencies are targeting the same people with the same insights!
– Tools like this are usually around the £2000 – £3000 per year mark, which can be quite a lot for smaller agencies.
– Some have limited downloads when it comes to data, so whilst you can see the details you can’t always download a huge list of contacts or add your own notes.
– No one tool does everything so you’ll need to buy two or even three to get full coverage.
The key is not to rely entirely on these databases as your only source. When it comes to insights, your planning team should be using their expertise to really study a target brand and uncover original insights that you can use as a conversation starter. Similarly, double check contact details on websites (often someone else’s email address will give you the format to apply to your contact’s – for example, firstname.lastname@example.org) and check on LinkedIn to make sure they are still in that role. Moreover, keep an eye out in the trade press (Marketing / Marketing Week) for client moves.
Gemma Batterby – July 2013