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Over recent months Responsiva have developed a new suite of business data groups, or vertical markets.
When seeking out a new prospect list, one of the most daunting tasks is sifting through the industry classifications to identify the good from the bad. With more than 2,000 classifications to choose from, this process can take several hours and requires the manual intervention to ensure accuracy. Responsiva has now amalgamated all of these classifications into a succinct list of 35 vertical markets. Just over two million of the b2b data records can be classified, with counts and percentages as follows;
|Vertical Market||Business Count||% of Universe|
|Business consultants & Training||73,134||3.6%|
|Computers, Software & Hardware Consultancy||70,483||3.5%|
|Construction & Demolition||182,503||9.0%|
|Farming & Agriculture||60,356||3.0%|
|Finance & Accounting||58,958||2.9%|
|Hotels, Bars & Restaurants||173,701||8.6%|
|Manufacturing & Engineering||141,888||7.0%|
|Marketing, PR & Advertising||12,468||0.6%|
|Membership organisations & political parties||47,113||2.3%|
|Mining & Raw Materials||2,763||0.1%|
|Motor, Repairs & Fuel||83,222||4.1%|
|Photography & Media||21,737||1.1%|
|Printing & Publishing||21,990||1.1%|
|Recycling & Waste Management||8,244||0.4%|
|Social & Charity||55,378||2.7%|
|Sports, Leisure & Recreation||76,868||3.8%|
|Surveyors, Architects & Testing||55,465||2.7%|
|Transport & Storage||78,586||3.9%|
|Utilities (Gas, Water & Electricity)||3,091||0.2%|
Within each of these business data vertical markets resides every possible business classification. For example, within the group “Hotels, Bars & Restaurants” there is every business classification listing from pubs, wine bars, guest houses, hotels, all forms of restaurant (Indian, Chinese, Italian etc), take-aways, internet cafes, tea rooms to any other establishment you would associate with either overnight paid accommodation or having a meal or drink.
In applying these business groups to any data selection, the buyer is able to quickly identify the particular areas of interest or exclusion. Furthermore, if any further explanation is required of a particular group then this is easily expanded to illustrate the full listing of sectors therein.
To demonstrate the value of this new business grouping tool, for July 2013 only Responsiva are offering to apply it free of charge to your business database. Provided your database already includes industry classification or SIC codes (as all good business databases do) we will apply our new business grouping model to your file without charge.
What is the Value of this Tool?
Responsiva would normally charge £200 + vat to apply this business group model, so already there is a cost-saving by receiving this free information. But its true value and purpose is during the measurement of your campaign success. i.e., where are your positive results coming from? These business groups enable you to swiftly analyse your campaigns (or Responsiva will offer to do this for you) and enable you to identify future prospect data from within those high performing sectors.
If you have any questions regarding this new field, please give Responsiva a call on 0800 118 5000.
You may have heard the story of the cobbler, whose kids were clothed in worn-out shoes? The point being to ask whether you would buy shoes from such a trader? Or would you go to the dentist who has manky teeth? I am often approached by mailing houses, offering to print, pack & post Responsiva’s monthly postal mailings; but when I ask them what mailing activity they run they explain that all their new business comes from word of mouth. Or the business coach who offers to help me make my business run without me, whose own business couldn’t run without them. Or even from telemarketing companies who generate new business from networking events or email marketing, rather than by picking up the phone.
No matter what your line of work, if you offer a product or service then you are best placed to take the benefit from it; you can ensure you receive the best possible service, and at cost price too. So with all these benefits, if you cannot sell your service to yourself then ask yourself what kind of service it is you are offering?
As an experienced b2b data list broker, Responsiva supplies business lists for postal mailings and telephone marketing. And with that we send out a postal mailing to new prospects most months. And not just because of any support in our own service, but more importantly because it yields a healthy return on investment. Response rates are typically around 1% – 1.5%, and up to one quarter of those responders ultimately convert to becoming a new customer. The ratios (measured over four years) have proven that for every £1 spent on postal mailings have delivered approximately £2.50 in profit from new business sales. That’s not revenue; for this the ratio is obviously higher. This is quite simply a straightforward 5:2 return on investment ratio from sending out a regular business mailing to new prospects most months. Although Responsiva obviously sources the b2b data list at cost price, the truth is that the mailing list is supplied for multiple usage. So many of the business prospects are re-mailed a few times, making the cost of the data list considerably more efficient. But this does raise the question as to whether a re-mailed business is more or less likely to respond? Responsiva’s statistics on this subject go back more than ten years, and is an area of both interest and focus. If you mailed 1,000 prospects for he first time, are they more or less likely to respond than if you had already mailed them one or two months ago? And are these any more or less responsive than business prospects you had mailed six times over the last one or two years?
The reality is quite straightforward and well worth remembering. The results are the same; a prospect is just as likely to respond if you have mailed them previously (though our measurements only go up to six times) than if you are touching them for the first time. That said, you must remove all mailing returns and responders from any future mailings, which will typically comprise around 3% of the mailing list.
All companies should have around ten channels to deliver new business enquiries, and postal mailings have proven to be a consistent route to market. And the postage is not so expensive when running campaigns of 4,000 units or more, due to the Mailsort discounts which are applied. And if you are thinking “but we could never run 4,000 postal letters every month; we are just a really small business. We couldn’t afford it and couldn’t cope with the volume of responses” then consider this fact: Responsiva is operated by just one person. You can never have too many new business enquiries; it is just a case of how you manage them.
I have often considered marketing as a combination of;
- What you say
- Who you say it to
- When you say it
The “what you say” element is quite literally the telemarketing script or postal mailing /email broadcast text content. And the “who you say it to” is a direct link to the b2b data file you source from a list broker. It is essential to get both elements right when initiating a marketing campaign.
But how important is the “when you say it” element, which relates to timing? And what effect does the campaign timing have on results?
It is impossible to determine the ever changing moods of prospects, and whether or not they will receive your marketing piece more warmly one day in comparison to the next. But there are some elements to business which genuinely are seasonal.
Imagine commercial contract solicitors, or even insolvency practitioners. Most businesses only want their services when they have a contractual litigation issue or (for the latter) their company is in severe financial difficulty. It isn’t practical to market your services to companies asking “do you have a problem we can help with?” because so many prospects would be immediately disqualified from having any need or desire of these services. Quite possibly they never will have a need too, but if ever they did it would be very much a question of timing.
Airt conditioning consultants work all year round; servicing maintenance contracts on a regular basis throughout the year. They don’t only want commercial customers when it’s hot, and offices are in need of an air conditioning fix. However, it is during the heat-wave times that the employees are at their most uncomfortable, stuck in a hot office environment. Here is where telemarketing can be particularly potent, as opposed to direct mail. The telemarketing list can be segmented by region and allocated the day’s weather forecast first thing in the morning. The regions expecting a swelteringly hot day can be targeted by phone; would your office benefit from a free review of its air conditioning systems? With the calls made during the hottest times of the day (say 11am to 3pm) they have the strongest possible chance of hitting at the right time. The beauty of telemarketing companies is that they are able to switch between client campaigns to suit the best timing of the calls.
Meanwhile, a telemarketing campaign to public houses, restaurants and hotels is probably best avoiding precisely these times of day (11am – 3pm) because they are traditionally busy times, during the lunch period. So a call during these hours is more likely to go unanswered or be met with an abrupt response.
Another particularly potent campaign for the summer months are the suppliers of water coolers and other office refreshment service companies. Again, the hotter the day the greater the probability that any prospect with a potential need will have a stronger desire to meet with the supplier of these services.
Neither of these approaches could be considered preying on the vulnerable, as it cannot be known from the telemarketing data which companies are in need of these services before the calls are made. As a telemarketing service provider you would simply be maximising your opportunity around the time of year, and hopefully generating your client a higher volume of quality appointments.
The best place to start is to understand what market saturation means. It is effectively when the market for your product or service already owns (or has been introduced to) this product or service. And so possible future sales would only be generated from obsolescence, replacement or population growth.
Some examples; household white goods, tv’s and other modern conveniences. Almost everyone (with space & fixtures) has a washing machine, so future sales will come from replacement of old models and a growth in population, such as first time property buyers. The same could be said for cars; replacement of old vehicles, and individuals having recently passed their test being regarded as the population growth element.
One well-known example from modern times is mobile phones. In 1990 almost nobody had a mobile phone. But during the early 1990’s they became affordable to most consumers. So from 1990 to 1999 the Western World’s population grew from less than 5% ownership to more than 90%. But before the new Millennium had been reached, as almost everyone had a mobile phone, the market had become saturated. In economic terms, the Nineties were the golden age for mobile phones; the sales growth was astronomical. Whereas today most sales are made from upgrading old mobile phones, replacing lost, stolen and damaged phones, as well as the population growth element. i.e., kids getting their first phone.
From a business perspective, the level of sales your company will make relies to some degree on the level of market saturation of your product or service. In essence, supply and demand. New products and services to the market will have a low saturation level.
A good recent example of market saturation is business coaching. Although business coaches have been around for many years, there was surge in the UK marketplace from 2003. As a relatively new concept to the small business owner, their offering focuses on three main objectives; to coach the business owner on their team development, spend less time in the business (and more time working on the business from a strategic capacity) and to grow company profit. The market saturation levels can be well documented by the success rate of the telemarketing services in support of business coaches. From 2003 – 2008 Responsiva supplied nearly one million appointment-setting telephone marketing calls for business coaches across the UK. Working to similar scripts and prospect data lists throughout, the results changed over this five year period. The average number of appointments generated per day between 2003 and 2005 was three to four. Of course there were some variances between the talents of the telemarketers, but three or four appointments was a typical day’s work from an experienced operator. On a good day it could be as high as ten, and some days it could be zero; telephone marketing can go this way. Between 2006 and 2007 these averages dipped to about two per day, and by 2008 it had dropped to one. Could it be the telemarketers just not performing? Or the b2b data list they were calling from? Or even the script itself? Not really; all these elements had a reasonable level of consistency about them throughout the five year period.
What had changed over this five year period was the marketplace itself. By 2008 there were many hundreds of business coaches, so the supply had increased massively. Furthermore, if Responsiva had made one million calls, what about all the other telemarketing activity being made across the UK? If those one million calls represented as much as ten per cent of the calls being made then ten million calls would be a reasonable estimate to the UK market over that time period.
The next thing to consider is what the market truly is; how many viable businesses are out there? From the three million or so business entities out there, an estimated 500,000 are viable targets. So ten million telemarketing calls to 500,000 prospects gives a typical ratio of twenty calls per business. And that was by 2008. So it follows that by 2008 most viable prospects would have heard of business coaching. Many took advantage of the appointment with a local business coach, and some went on to employ one. Without doubt this is a good example of market saturation, which ultimately yields a lower return on investment, because the success of the telemarketing calls dropped. No matter how good the prospect data list, and no matter how talented the telemarketer, if you phone a business who has already been called twenty times (offering an appointment with their local business coach) then the simple fact is that the chances of the call being a successful one is quite low. And over the course of a week’s calling (say 600 dials) that telemarketer will generate less appointments than they would if they were calling into virgin territory; i.e., a region which has never previously been serviced by a business coach..
Today’s market for business coaching is still buoyant of course. Business owners still need (and many still desire) coaching. But few have to wait long before they are approached by one, and often they are approached by several in the same week.
As per the start of this article, new customers will generally be found from obsolescence, replacement or population growth. i.e., they wish to change coaches (so find a new one) or the new businesses (and their business owners) which come into the market. And there will still be a few out there who, after perhaps several months or years of consideration, now feel they are in a position where a business coach would be right for them.
Responsiva has supplied marketing data for business coaches for more than ten years, and during this time has developed a unique set of screening filters. This ensures that the business coach is targeting the right kind of business owner based on their tailored service. So if you are a business coach looking to increase your market share within your catchment area then please speak with us to ensure you are working with well-targeted marketing data for your telemarketing or direct mail initiatives.
One of the most frequently asked questions at Responsiva is how recently our data has been updated. As a data list broker, strictly speaking it isn’t “our” data; Responsiva supplies prospect data from a business data universe which has been amalgamated from numerous well-respected b2b data sources. A list of these data sources can be found on the Responsiva home page.
Because the full b2b data universe comprises more than three million trading entities across the UK, it isn’t feasible to identify and report on precisely which records were last updated on which specific dates. However, all of the feeds into this business database have their own update process. The business data industry standard is to ensure that all companies are telephoned at least once per year for a verification and update. Any b2b data source which doesn’t operate in this manner would not be included within Responsiva’s preferred choice of data list sources. Or (as with Companies House data) used solely to gap-fill fields such as company turnover.
Responsiva conducted a customer survey throughout 2010, which resulted in 92% of business data buyers stating that data quality was more important to them than price, speed of service or any other aspect. A short video of these statistics is available here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frZFhqZwJ7I
It is a particularly interesting statistic, because in reality most buyers are more keep on price when it comes down to the final decision. This is most likely because there is no other information to go on at the front end; all data list brokers will say their data is of top notch quality, so what else can the buyer do? That’s why Responsiva provide free data samples with every quote, and an earlier blog covers what you should do with these samples to test their quality. See here for more information: http://www.responsiva.biz/blog/2013/06/17/business-data-samples/
By testing the quality of the sample data list, a buyer can be sure to make their decision on the one true element that matters to them. i.e., quality. Responsiva’s data is guaranteed in quality. At least 98% of the postal addresses and phone numbers will be accurate. Usually this is around 99%. And although there has yet to be a claim against this guarantee, it is something that we stand by and will credit (or refund) any excess.
Email addresses are a different matter, as they decay faster. So there is a guarantee of no more than 5% in hard bounces. Soft bounces will typically generate an additional 5%. But Responsiva are always happy to negotiate additional email addresses into the proposal to cater for this and ensure a satisfactory deliverability of your email list broadcast.
So when you are next looking for quotes (and haven’t made any firm decision on your preferred list broker) be sure to ask for samples and then test those samples. Price really shouldn’t come into the equation; it’s all about the business data quality. And only then should price and service be included as a secondary consideration. It only takes an hour to call 20 samples and sense-check their accuracy, and this will be one of the best investments of time you can spend before choosing your preferred supplier.
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The premises type within the business data universe has genuine value to some business types. Most especially those targeting a specific kind of building rather than by industry classification. Three good examples follow;
1. Industrial Waste Disposal / Collection
By selecting a prospect list by specific industry classifications will yield anomalies. For example, the manufacturing sector appears at a first glance to be a great sector to market to. However, any marketing list which selects the b2b data by the manufacturing sector will contain an estimated 30% undesirable prospects. Not all manufacturing company premises are factories; many are offices, head offices and sites of administration, marketing & finance. And these could well be located literally hundreds of miles from the manufacturing plant. So by contacting the satellite offices to provide an industrial waste collection & disposal service would quite probably be a wasted marketing piece. The data list should be selected by factory premises; ideally with a minimum employee size to give a fair indication of the volume of industrial waste.
2. Fork Lift Trucks & Training
Virtually any business sector can have a storage facility requiring warehousing, though admittedly some are more prone than others. When identifying a business list for marketing, selecting the companies trading from an actual warehouse premises would be much stronger than using the regular SIC coding system. As with the first example, employee size will give an indication of usage (i.e., number of fork lift trucks required for sales or service, or number of trainees). The premise type is vital in so much that a head office based in a commercial tower block will have no fork lift truck related requirement. It could be argues that the head offices may make the decisions, though past experience suggests that they are more likely to allocate a budget for the warehouse manager to make the actual decision on which trucks and related training services are required.
There are two anomalies with warehouse premises however. Many large supermarkets, department stores and other retail premises have a warehouse facility at the rear. But by the very nature of their business they are classified as a retail outlet. And you would not wish to select retail outlets in general when identifying a prospect list for fork lift trucks, or you may scoop up all kinds of dross such as fish ‘n’ chip shops etc. For this reason, many of the warehouses are classified as a different premise type. But also, some businesses classified as a warehouse are chain outlets of a larger home improvements store, or commercial courier company. These can be excluded by the branch count however.
3. Office Services
Office services can range from photocopiers, partitioning, stationery and all manner of products which target the office premise. It could be argued that these services are also required in factories, warehouses and other premise types too. So the best example to consider would be p.c. related services (sales, services, networking etc). Specifically, where the employee count should have a high correlation to the number of people actually sat at a desk and using a computer. The office premise is ideal for this, but there are some anomalies. Taxi companies for one; 100 employees could quite literally mean one person sat at the reception desk and 99 drivers out on the road.
There are pitfalls in making any business data selection for your marketing. But at Responsiva you have the reassurance that with around 25 years experience these will be pro-actively explored thoroughly before the data is actually ordered. The business lists you order will be fit for purpose, accurate and well-defined.
Measuring the last ten years at Responsiva (and experience from the fifteen years in employment before that), June is one of the busiest three months of the year for direct marketing. The other two being January & September. The main reason being that any mailing or telemarketing list campaign will reach their intended audience comfortably after the traditional three school holidays have finished, and most households and workplaces are back to full strength. May can be equally as busy, but with two bank holidays (and often ending in a half term week) June seems to be the busier month. Perhaps as it marks the start of Summer. Either way, marketing managers are tasked with maximising the return from each campaign and so the best time to run any mailing or telemarketing data driven initiative is when the fewest recipients are likely to be on holiday.
As a start to Responsiva’s new blog-driven initiatives, for June 2013 only we are giving away free business email addresses with all b2b data lists where requested. So in addition to any mailing activity or telemarketing list campaigns, you will now be able to follow-up with an email data broadcast at no extra cost for the database. When you make your enquiry just give reference to June’s blog and the emails will be added to each record where available.
Some industry types are more prolific with emails than others. The service sector, for example, will be more highly populated than retail. So please don’t expect every record to have an email address; because not every business data record has one. But where there is a b2b email available, it will be added without the extra cost.
Responsiva has a coverage of 3.25 million business data records throughout the UK. These can be selected by some two thousand distinct industry classifications, company size (an employee cut-off is usually the best method, but an estimated turnover value is also available), premise type or even the number of branches to that company. The branch count is usually applied as an exclusion (for example, remove any business data where there are more than ten sites). And the data lists can now be chosen by job titles or functions. Director level contact names will usually be stronger than managerial names, and the b2b data universe is also flagged with the functionality of key roles within each organisation too. So you can select the chief exec role, or by responsibility for marketing, sales, IT, finance and HR. Quite often, for companies with up to 20 employees, all these roles are managed by the business owner, with a Managing Director title. So the job function flag is more akin to the different responsibilities the individual has, rather than any specific title.
Email data is becoming increasingly sought after by Responsiva’s clients, so this really is quite a special offer for June, and has great added value to your sourcing of a regular marketing data list. You may contact Responsiva via the usual channels; by email to info@responsiva .biz or on our freephone number 0800 118 5000.
Although there are numerous websites offering an online prospect data extraction tool, Responsiva will only supply a marketing data list after consultation with a data professional. This is because there are far too many pitfalls within the selection process