Remember the grad student in the movie Good Will Hunting? In the bar scene, Will Hunting, the main protagonist, puts him in his place. The grad student had no original thought. None. On the surface, the grad student appears to speak with authority. In reality, he had no understanding of the topic. He simply regurgitated whatever theory he happened to be reading at the moment.
Parroting popular thinking happens too often. Especially in business. Business and sales books happen to be some of the trendiest books around. Suddenly, everyone starts promoting themselves or their product using the hot new buzzwords. Many of these books can be considered good, or even great. However, instead of analyzing, thinking and tweaking their business to improve the process, many businesses rush to embrace the new ideas whole-heartedly. As a part of this cycle, the last “great idea” goes in the trash before it has even had a chance to work.
I have watched the same embrace of trendy ideas happening in the data sector.
All businesses start at the same place – the need for data.
All organizations need people to contact to generate revenue. In the past, that meant turning to lists. As list services trended upward, more data services entered that market. As more companies began generating lists, they differentiated themselves from the competition by popularizing the idea of a niche list. The data desires of business leaders followed the trend once again.
The need for more data
Next the push came for businesses to get more contacts per company. Unfortunately for businesses, much of the data had been aging. Therefore, the desire for fresher contact information naturally gained traction. Business card trading services promised a solution. In reality, everyone shared their worst contacts and kept the best for themselves. While fresh information could be found, key decision makers, or truly valuable information, could not.
The need for fresh data
The next evolution occurred when data aggregators entered the marketplace. These aggregators, such as InsideView, collect data from multiple sources, put it together, and gain intelligence through that process. While the data may be somewhat better than their predecessors, data aggregators depend on databases of static, aging information.
The need for social data
Concurrently, businesses have wanted access to more knowledge per contact and have turned to social networking sites such as LinkedIn to provide access to that data. While it is feasible to use LinkedIn to connect with somebody, the time it takes to get those connections working can often be significantly longer than the requirements of the business demand.
Eventually, businesses realize they want it all
Good data, more contacts per company, fresher contact information, social data – and they want it to flow seamlessly into CRM. A comprehensive solution uses a mix of automation tools to create exclusive niche lists. You can then pull the best information from the live web to gather fresh information available for multiple contacts at each company – including social data – and effortlessly integrate it into your CRM.
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