B2B Databases: What You Need to Know

Well-structured and informative B2B databases are mission-critical tools for any growth-oriented B2B business. They supercharge your sales and marketing teams, allowing them to focus their finite collection of resources and efforts on those companies who really want to buy from you. They save time, money, and effort that would otherwise be wasted chasing after firms that are simply, as they say, just not that into you.

But how can you know which B2B database provider is the right one for you? Continue reading below to find out!

November 14, 2022

What is a B2B database?

A B2B database is a database – typically used for marketing and sales – that lists businesses to which an organization may wish to offer its services. While B2B databases vary wildly in terms of how they’re structured, where they’re stored, how large or detailed they are, and how they’re populated, one thing remains true across all industries and sectors: they are absolutely essential to maintaining the health and growth of a sales-oriented enterprise.

B2B databases come in two main categories. First, we have the self-generated ones. These are databases created by companies over the course of doing business that store and (hopefully) update information about their company clients and customers. This information isn’t bought from an outside source but, rather, created in-house over the years.

Second, and more common, we have the commercial B2B database providers. These are companies that employ specialized research teams and other proprietary tools to populate and deliver enterprise-class databases filled with (hopefully) actionable data about the firms you may wish to sell to.

Most growth-oriented and competitive B2B companies employ the services of a commercial B2B database provider.

Why do we need a B2B database?

B2B databases are critical components of any company whose success hinges on selling a product or service to other companies. They act as crucial focus points for the marketers and salespeople on your team who rely on you to point them in the right direction as they begin to make efforts to generate leads.

In other words, you don’t want your sales team spending huge amounts of time sifting through so-called leads who will not be interested – under any circumstances – in what you’re selling. You also don’t want to spread your efforts too thin. If your sales team is especially effective at selling to 3PL companies in North America, you don’t want a B2B database that also forces you to comb through food-tech companies in Europe.

We should also add that you probably need a commercial B2B database provider, as opposed to a self-generated B2B database. The former offer an invaluable advantage over the latter. Basically, they allow your firm to expand its horizons beyond those potential customers that you’ve done business with or encountered online. When you use an enterprise-level B2B database, you’re revealing thousands of potential customers that would otherwise have remained invisible to you.

What are the characteristics of the best B2B databases?

While there are a ton of features that set the best B2B databases apart from the also-rans, we’re going to focus on one in particular that really drives a ton of value for B2B companies: segmentation.

Effective Segmentation

Segmentation is a tricky thing. It’s one of those things that’s easy to do at a basic level but becomes rapidly more challenging when you take a more sophisticated approach. Let us explain.

Many B2B databases segment their businesses at a superficial level. You may get, for example, a database that lets you sort by company size, market cap, company location, or industry group. And that might seem initially useful. After all, quickly narrowing down your universe of options to a more manageable collection of, say, quantum computing technology companies in North America, might seem like a quick win. And it is.

What qualifies as B2B data?

b2b emails graph

In addition to this so-called “firmographic data,” you might also get technographic data – which outlines which firms use the products and services sold by your competitors, and B2B contact data, which simply shows you how to get in touch with the decision-makers at firms you’re interested in. But what you really want is what’s called “B2B Intent data.”

Remember what it is you’re actually trying to do. You’re attempting to facilitate real-world sales. And if that’s what your goal is, identifying the right type of company in the right locations is just the first piece of the puzzle. To become truly effective, your B2B database has to add one more piece (which happens to be missing in most database solutions out there). It has to tell you which of the companies in your database are more likely to buy from you. And there’s only one way to answer that question: AI.

The missing piece: AI

AI should be your secret weapon when considering leading B2B database providers. It is what allows them to identify and pinpoint the lead characteristics that actually matter to sales teams – like growth – and ignore those characteristics that might lead you astray.

At Gazelle.ai, for example, we rely on 176 different algorithms to process data from over 150,000 companies in 22 industrial groups, collected over 12 years. Those algorithms isolate the data points and trends that actually matter to sales people, because they indicate whether a particular company is in growth mode. In other words, the AI sifts through hundreds of millions of data points to show you exactly which companies need products and services.

This process is what unlocks the power and utility of the vast amounts of data offered by Gazelle.ai. While it might be nice to have a list of 500 companies who sell aircraft parts in North America, what most B2B firms really want is a list of the 50 companies who sell aircraft parts in North America and are growing so fast that they’re voraciously consuming goods and services from other B2B companies.

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