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b2b data Company Start Date

Limited Companies

For Limited companies the Incorporation Date is derived from Companies House.

Note: this is the date that the company was incorporated at Companies House. It may not have been trading since this date because Directors can register a business at Companies House and then not start actively trading until a later date.

Likewise a company may have been trading for a number of years, and decide to change their company name. In this case they will get a new incorporation date reflective of the company name change.

 

Non-Limited Companies

For non-Limited companies, the Year Started on the b2b data universe is captured via the data source’s call centres.

When making contact with the business, it’s the business that confirms the date they were established. So this date has nothing to do with Companies House, and is reliant on what was said during the call.

If the call centre is unable to make contact with the business, the “established date” becomes the date the business first appeared on the file. This means they are usually a new business, having not appeared on file previously.

 

New Branches

New branches of national chains (Tesco, Barclays, Starbucks etc) are regarded as new ‘companies’ also. i.e., they are new premises. These can usually be excluded by having a high branch count however.

 

Start-up Companies

It should be noted that start-up companies (i.e., having been established / incorporated within the last few months) are generally very small businesses. The vast majority are sole traders seeking to expand. Many operate from home. So the concept that there are lots of start-up businesses with huge cash injections is unrealistic.

 

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Business Data Branch Count

Branch Count

 

Featured Data Variable: “Branch Count”

The “Branch Count” variable doesn’t appear on standard business data supplies, because more questions would be raised than answered. Yet it’s a very powerful selection filter. The branch count field has a numerical value, relating to the number of sites per company.

 

Examples

Some examples of high branch count businesses by their respective industry sector;

Branch Counts

With perhaps the exception of the post offices (which tend to be semi-independent), these 15,000 business records represent just seven companies. And it doesn’t take a genius to work out which specific companies they are.

Taking the dispensing chemist by way of example. Having 2,672 branches means they are on every high street. Would you want to market your business to each of these at a branch level? There is virtually no branch-level autonomy, so the answer is almost certainly no.

 

Branch Count – Beware!

One of the shameful elements of the data industry is that (in being financially rewarded for supplying the largest possible data volume to clients), unfortunately there is an ‘incentive’ for these records to be included within your file. Personally I would regard this as short-termism, as the data quality will be massively diluted and usually lead to client dissatisfaction.

It genuinely saddens me to audit client databases sourced from another supplier where the file is heavily peppered with certain American (fast food) restaurants or ‘big four’ supermarkets. And I have no qualms in stating that their database (if diluted to an unacceptable level) is unfit for purpose. Good data suppliers should apply a duty of care in filtering out unsuitable prospects.

Whilst filtering can never be perfect, there are some basics which should be applied as standard. Unless requested otherwise, high branch count records are automatically recommended for exclusion by Responsiva.

 

How Is the Information Evaluated?

The branch count field is not a perfect value. It is evaluated by applying some intelligence to company name matching. And there are some anomalies. As a general rule, the likes of matching “M&S” with “Marks & Spencer” will be fine. And there is also some intelligence in segmenting company names such as “Red Lion” or “Taj Mahal”; which to the human eye will all be independent entities.

But where the branch count gets it seriously wrong is with hotels. By way of a fabricated example, matching “London Hilton Park Lane Metropol” with “Hilton Picadilly Manchester” is not realistic. So the branch count for hotels tends to be blank, and this is one sector where chains can slip through the net.

 

Head Offices?

Often I am asked if the head offices of businesses are identifiable. The reality is that they aren’t; many companies use their accounting and auditing firms (or a PO Box address) by way of their Companies House registration, so matching to this file is not the right way forward. Quite simply it is not worth the risk of including every branch within your database, so the high branch count records are usually best excluded as standard.

Whilst head offices are impossible to accurately identify, they can be implied. This can work well with companies having 10 – 20 branches. The best way of achieving this is in selecting data where there is also a director level contact name at site. Most multi-premise businesses would only have managerial contact name (e.g. Branch manager) at each site.

So the records with a director level name will generally have at the very least some autonomous decision-making capability.

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b2b data uses: Email vs Postal Campaigns

Email Marketing vs Direct Mail

Whilst email marketing has its place and benefits, the overall return on investment is considerably lower than most would perceive. The initial cost of an email database needs to be factored in, and compared to the percentage of responders and eventual conversions to becoming a new customer.

The truth is that many email broadcast messages are deleted without being read. The reason being that most of us see an email (from a company we have never heard of) and delete it immediately. Not just because we don’t know who the sender is, but the threat of viruses also makes us wary.

One of the main perception challenges is that many businesses stay in touch with their customers via email, typically through a monthly bulletin or service update, and these messages tend to generate a healthy response rate. Typically 1% – 2%, or even higher. But in contacting a new prospect cold (i.e., for the first time) there is no existing relationship or awareness, so the response rates are typically between one per 1,000 emails and one per 10,000!

Sourcing 10,000 email addresses is not cheap. At least it’s not cheap to source 10,000 email addresses from a reputable b2b data list broker. The reason being that the more reputable business data sources invest manual resource into telephone verifying the email addresses within their file. And that costs. These costs are reflected in the overall price of the data list. So it would not be unreasonable to expect (for example) five responses from 10,000 email addresses.

By contrast, direct mail (i.e., postal mailings) are still generating the same average response of around 1%. So instead of five responders from a mailing of 10,000 emails, a postal mailing of the same volume can typically expect to enjoy 100 responders. Twenty times as many.

Yes there is the added cost associated with printing, packing, posting and the stationery. But does this make it all cost prohibitive? Not necessarily: for postal mailings in excess of 4,000 units a reduced postal rate (Mailsort) can be enjoyed. And by using a mailing house, letters can be machine-printed and machine-packed too.

Over the last few years Responsiva have conducted many email and postal mailing campaigns. Well in excess of 100,000 units for each initiative. The postal mailing route comes out on top every time. The postal route typically costs in the region of 40p per unit (all inclusive), rendering the average cost per enquiry in the region of £35. And yet email marketing (because of the much lower response rates) tended to come in at hundreds of pounds per responder. The truth is that the results and return were not even close.

Whilst this is not to say that email marketing should not be adopted, there is an element of “horses for courses”; any business with a particularly high sale value (say £10,000+) should do well from email marketing. For example; vehicle sales, corporate IT systems or any service which has a proven lifetime value totalling five figures. But if your typical sale value is just a few hundred pounds (or lifetime value around £1,000 per customer) then it is more likely that the postal mailing route will yield a higher return.

Postal mailings may sound ‘expensive’, but an investment cost is all relative to the return. And postal mailings do have a considerably higher return in terms of the percentages. Being frightened off by the costs of postage, or being lured by the “cheap” cost to run an email broadcast, is a false economy. Long gone are the days where every email would be opened, or that recipients would think “yippee, I have got an email: let’s see what it says”. In this day and age, most new emails are ignored and deleted without being read, or are even filtered to the spam box without the recipient even seeing the headline.

Consider postal mailing activity carefully. 500 – 1,000 letters is a good starting point for a trial. The business data list should not be expensive, and all employees should help out with the printing and packing. It won’t take long to complete.  Measure the responses; both in terms of volume and quality. And if it yields a reasonable return, evaluate the time and cost savings by ramping up the campaign roll-out to 4,000 units or more. A mailing house can manage the printing and packing at a very good rate, and the postage discounts are considerable.

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Email and telemarketing in business

There are so many different ways to market your business, from telemarketing to email marketing, social media, direct mail and much more. However, ultimately there are advantages and disadvantages to all marketing strategies and it will always depend on the type of industry you’re in. Some marketing areas will have a far greater impact than others and you need to decide which will suit your business the most to give the maximum impact. Two of the most popular and widely used marketing tools are telemarketing and email marketing.

Email marketing is one of the easiest marketing tools as you can design a mail shot and simply send it out to the masses of clients and potential clients you may have on your data list. Email marketing is a great way to reach the masses with your offers and with many of us now communicating via email, it can be of real benefit especially for e-commerce sites. However, does email marketing have a more positive impact than the traditional telemarketing approach?

Telemarketing has long been an effective marketing tools used by a range of industries. If telemarketing is done professionally by trained people then it can have a huge impact on your business giving you benefits including;

  • Builds client loyalty through personal communication
  • Improves customer service
  • Has a higher conversion rate than email marketing
  • Gives you the opportunity to gain competitor information
  • Build a database of clients to call on a regular basis securing future business
  • Flexible marketing. You can adapt your pitch depending upon the client

These benefits have a great impact on a business and lead to business growth as well as increased profits and revenue. Email marketing does also have its benefits including;

  • Low cost
  • Increased sales, especially e-commerce
  • Measurable results
  • Able to reach a mass wide audience
  • Results are fairly fast

However, there seems to be a real mix of customers out there in every market. There are those who prefer the old fashioned benefit of speaking to a human being and there are those who prefer to use the internet and not have to deal with anyone giving them more freedom.

As successful marketing strategies go, many companies opt for employing both email and telemarketing so that their business can benefit from maximum exposure. Email and telemarketing do after all intertwine with each other . Telemarketing calls can be used to follow up an email campaign increasing its chances of being seen and taken advantage of by customers. So in conclusion, if your business wants the best marketing campaign then email and telemarketing are the way forward for any kind of business.

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Five benefits of using prospect data lists

No matter what industry you work in, it is crucial for both a business growth and survival to ensure that you are reaching the right customers with your products and services. However, how do you find those potential customers? Do you wait for customers to come to you? Do you have an employee you can spare with the right skills to find those prospects for you? The answer to both of these questions is more than likely no. However, there are specialists out there who can provide you with an effective and relevant data list of potential prospects to help push your business in the right direction.

We have highlighted the top five benefits that can be gained from using a prospect data list. You may not have even considered some of the below benefits but they are realistic and are common benefits for most businesses employing this kind of marketing strategy.

  1. Email addresses – prospect data lists can provide you with a data list of relevant prospects email addresses. This will enable you to reach prospects with mail shots and special offers to try and entice new business.
  2. Sales calls – Many prospects may not know your products and services even exist. A data list will provide you with accurate contact numbers that will get you through to the decision maker rather than a receptionist. This allows you to start building a reliable client list to grow your business with. The contacts are so accurate that it will make your sales calls far more effective and increase conversion rates.
  3. Increased revenue – By reaching a wider range of prospects which you convert into reliable clients, you can increase your sales and drive up your revenue and profits making your business more successful.
  4. Effective marketing – Marketing costs businesses a large amount of money. Most businesses have a set budget for their marketing to cover everything from mailing brochures, printing brochures and designing mail shots. However, with a data list you can make more of your marketing budget by maximising the potential of your marketing. A data list will ensure that your marketing literature reaches the right audience helping to increase sales.
  5. Growth & Success – Above all data lists can help your business to grow and gain success. Data lists are cleansed, accurate and offer effectiveness. By reaching more prospects you can grow your client base, increase sales, increase revenue and have the edge over your competitors.

So if you are a small business looking to grow its client base in an effective way then a data list of prospects could be the ideal business solution for you.

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White Collar Business Data List

The most common approach for companies who seek a business data list of white collar workers is to review the industry classifications. With around five hundred SIC codes, and two thousand lower level business data descriptions, these will show the vertical market that each company operates within. But does this method truly identify the white collar workers from the blue? Can you be sure that accountants and solicitors are the former, and manufacturers the latter? Imagine two scenarios

Company 1: ABC Solicitors

This firm has ten branches; they are a large firm of solicitors. Nine of their offices are located in major cities. The tenth branch however is the only premise that is located within your desired catchment area, so it is this site that would be picked up by the data. Unlike the other nine sites, this branch is a warehouse premise, where all secure documents are stored. Aside from a general manager, all employees are dedicated to the warehousing and storage functionality of the business. Is this the kind of operation you would want to target for white collar related services?

Company 2: LMN Manufacturing

Similar to our firm of solicitors, this manufacturing company has ten premises and just one of these premises resides within the locality of your target region. The other nine sites are factory premises, manufacturing goods in line with the company’s product range. But the tenth site is the head office premise, where the functions of finance, sales, marketing and account management reside. So in this case we have a white collar operation, despite the overall nature of the company being predominantly blue collar.

These examples are quite extreme, but go to illustrate the point that the industry classification of a company is not necessarily indicative of the functionality of the premise being targeted. And so for this reason, there is a second variable which requires consideration; the business premise code. A warehouse or factory premise is ideal for marketing to for services such as industrial waste disposal, blue collar related training services etc. Whereas these premise types should be excluded if marketing into white collar service companies.

Based on the fact that these examples are quite extreme (the first being more so than the second), as a general rule the industry classification based selection is appropriate where there is no premise type within the data. And there are plenty of office-based companies which are far from ideal anyway; such as taxi companies or couriers. But where the premise type does come into play is as a sense-checking tool. i.e., that the business data specification caters for the removal of prospects which operate from an undesirable premise type.

Another premise type which yields a high volume of anomalies are the companies trading from home. Many services are simply not suited to this premise type. A company may be flagged up as “warehousing services” in the business classification and also be identified as having ten employees. But in reality this could be an individual who previously stated that they have ten employees, where those employees are either contracted or work from a different site. And all the company’s warehousing services are in fact contracted out, with this particular business operating on a commission scheme.

So whether applied as an inclusion or exclusion parameter, the premise type is of particular relevance when considering your marketing data and how best to specify it.

 

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Business Data Samples

There are three reasons to get business data samples when sourcing a prospect list;

(1) Data Qualification

(2) Quality Testing

(3) Review the b2b data Fields

 

DATA QUALIFICIATION

The first, Data Qualification, is your opportunity to manually check each sample record to ensure it meets with your business data brief. Some examples include; if you need every record to contain a director-level contact name then check the job title of each contact name contained within the samples. If there are any absent or managerial contact names then the samples have not married up to the brief. Check the geography of each record (town, county & postcodes) to make certain they are all within your desired catchment area. Check the employee size and/or turnover information to be sure every line marries up to the target market company size. And perhaps the most important data field to review is the industry classification (sometimes referred to as SIC code). Quite often our customers say that “any business” is an appropriate target, but in reality they did not consider that some business types are undesirable; government, schools, churches, care homes etc. So by reviewing the industry classification column you should be looking for any b2b data which (upon manually qualifying the samples) aren’t desirable after all.

So what the samples enable you to do is sense-check the business data you would be buying. And it is imperative that you do check each record.

 

QUALITY TESTING

Business data samples are supplied so that you may test a few records. It doesn’t take long to call through 10 to 20 records and ask one or two quick questions. First and foremost, is the phone active or dead? And when the phone is answered, do they give the company name as listed on the sample database you have been supplied? You could even check that the contact name given within the data list still works for the company and is resident at that premise. Auditing the company premise type is a good sense-check also (although part and parcel of the data qualification process above), but if the contact name supplied works at a different site or building, then the premise type is the first field I would check. Is it the head office or a retail outlet for example?

The quality testing process is there to check the accuracy of the data list; not to audit the data fields or how the file looks in terms of the specification. This step is purely to ensure the business data is current and reflective of what you might expect when ordering a larger file.

 

Review The b2b data Fields

The b2b data fields are effectively the columns within the spread-sheet. Many list brokers charge extra for additional fields. So although they may quote a very cheap price for company name, address & telephone number, the prospect list may be absent of contact names or the other profile variables. Profile variables include the business classifications, staff headcount, premise type etc. So this stage of the checking is really all about making sure that the content of each row is as you would like it. And if any fields are absent then ask; is the extra data available, and does it come at an extra cost?

 

Responsiva’s b2b data Samples

Responsiva supplies data samples with every new-customer quote, for the very purpose of these three processes. We want you to check the data quality, that the data meets the brief and that all the desired fields are within the file. With the exception of email addresses, all available b2b data fields are supplied as standard and at a simple rate per 1,000 records. It may not be the cheapest file around, but you get all the fields without having to pay those niggling costs for all the little extras (like when booking a flight!), which end up making the file more expensive anyway. And we definitely want you to check the quality of the data by making a few calls. A huge amount of money would be wasted on your telemarketers’ time if the quality is not up to scratch.

(the comment that Responsiva only supplies samples to new customers is purely because the repeat customers already know the data quality, fields supplied and qualification of the brief is at a high standard. That said, repeat customers can always request samples too).

 

So the data samples are actually a vital part of ordering business data; they are your opportunity to be satisfied that the prospect list is fit for purpose. If you would like some free business data samples then please contact Responsiva on 0800 118 5000, or send an email to info@responsiva.biz

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