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How to Be Successful by Not Following the Herd

Big numbers are good, right?

A data company that aggregates technology data across 30 million companies sounds really impressive. But, what does that number actually mean?

Are those vetted companies or just a registered website on GoDaddy or BlueHost? Are the attributes provided for all of those companies valuable and actionable information?

And where did this data come from anyway? The point to all of these questions is that while the amount of data is certainly important, the detail and precision within the data set is equally important. You need both to make the biggest impact on your sales and marketing efforts.

Getting both voluminous and precise data can be a daunting task, and it’s even harder to come by if you follow the trail of marketing hype.

With that in mind, here’s a peek behind the curtain at one data company that has blazed their own trail to bring B2B marketers and salespeople firmographic data that helps target corporate prospects at scale.

In a recent interview, Mark Godley, CRO for HG Data, explained why and how HG Data’s data aggregation methodology is different from traditional methods.

Why it’s different

HG Data actually sprang from a brand which built the largest database of major donors in the philanthropy sector. The founders realized that the model they had used to build that database could be repurposed to work in the B2B marketplace.

Traditionally, the sort of granular attributes provided by HG Data came from phone conversations. For decades the prevailing method was to have someone in a call center dialing around to have prospects answer survey questions.

In the age of nearly limitless information on the internet, that method just doesn’t make sense anymore.

Think of it this way: in the B2C arena, companies can track every time you swipe a credit card, open an app on your phone, or traverse the internet. All of that data can be aggregated to form extremely granular profiles of individuals to better market and sell to them.

If that level of insight is possible with individual consumers, why not corporations?

Clearly, the traditional method of call center surveys needed an overhaul.

There are more efficient ways to collect firmographic data than brute force call center tactics. Specifically, instead of using call centers to gather supremely basic information, it’s more efficient to use machines and computer code.

After all, a sales call down the line will be way more effective if the prospect can tell that you’ve taken the tiny extra steps to find out more about their company. 

"There are better ways to collect data than brute force call center tactics."

How it’s different

Of course, the logic of using machines to gather data isn’t the completely revolutionary part. Many data companies gather data across the web to create their databases.

The real difference is in the types of data that are collected. Traditional firmographic data relies on information like company revenue and number of employees.

HG Data looks into more modern firmographic data like technology installs and attributes that might not be visible at a glance.

The code aggregates sources of material that are in the public record. These are things like press releases, federal filings, RFPs, job postings, case studies, and resumes.

Firmographic data is important for understanding how to most effectively market to and sell to corporations just as demographics are important for effectively selling to individuals.

It’s a way to see into the real heart of prospect companies to seek out the best targets.

The part that some data companies struggle with is providing data that has both volume and precision. It’s much easier and cheaper to produce a database that has unnecessary or even redundant attributes.

Don't be caught up in the big data hype; ask critical questions." - Mark Godley


The best firmographic data has both volume and precision, but to achieve that blend, the company providing the data has to know where it’s coming from. And, it can’t be just from the usual suspects.

By using code to gather data previously gleaned from phone surveys and looking for types of data outside the norm, HG Data has developed a system of intelligent database creation that defies traditional expectations and actions.

Sometimes to be successful you can’t follow the herd.


This episode is based on an interview Mark Godley, CRO at HG Data. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Corporate Data Show.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

Don’t be caught up in the big data hype; ask critical questions.