Tag Archives: sales story

Think strategically before buying contact data

I recently refused business from a new prospective client.  I’ll call him Harry.

Harry wanted to update 1.2 million company records with fresh contact data.  In the process of understanding his sales process, I discovered that he would be working with about 100,000 accounts per month.

I told Harry “No, I won’t sell you that data”.

The prospect of losing a Fortune 1000 account set my Director of Sales, who was also on the phone, into some deep breathing exercises.

Harry did the typical “but I’m the client”.  He ranted, he raved, he cussed, asked to talk to my Manager.  I laughed, told him I was the company founder… and he cussed again.  I made a joke about him being a Buffalo Bills fan (the Profiler found it in his bio) and we connected.  I am a Bills fan too.  He got nice and we talked some football.  Harry pleaded.  “I heard you have the best data.”

“We don’t have any data…who have you been talking to?”, I pressed.  Harry told me the referral source.  “Yes, what an excellent client example. They are killing it.”, I teased.

“So, Mike bought data from you, but you don’t have any data?”,  Harry asked. The question was thick with sarcasm.

“That’s right.  You’ve got it. ” I said.

At this point, I think he said something like “Who’s on f*ing first Donato”, through sardonic laughter.

I explained that Broadlook really doesn’t store any data, that we generate it, on demand, from across the Internet, so the information is fresh.

Now, if I kept teasing him (he deserved it), I really would have lost his business, it was time to get serious.

I told him “Selling you data that you won’t use for a year, is a disservice”.

I explained.  “You will love me the first 60 days, then data will start to decay.  By month 9, I’ll look like every other data vendor.  At the end of the 12 months, when it is time for a contract renewal, you will talk to your sales team and they will tell you the data is crap, outdated, inaccurate. You will blame Broadlook and you will not renew”.

“It’s your fault if the data is bad…isn’t it?”,  said Harry.

“It’s not”, I elaborated.  The day I deliver the data, it will be fresh, but if you let it rot, it’s your fault”.

At this point, Harry realized I was looking out for him.  Instead of taking a big dump of data that would sit and age inside his CRM, we worked out a subscription plan.  100,000 accounts updated per month.  Fresh data every time.

This is the concept of Just-In-Time data.  I’ve had many conversations with companies just like Harry’s.

The lesson: Don’t buy data if you are not going to immediately use it.  Buy just what you need, when you need it, and no more.  Your sales reps will love this decision.