Data is growing at a phenomenal rate. IDC predicts that by 2020 we’ll be drowning in more than 35 zettabytes (1.8 trillion gigabytes) of data, resulting in more data generated every three days than the estimated number of grains of sand on the planet.

While the proliferation of data has affected nearly every industry, few have undergone such significant changes in response to this deluge as Marketing. Looking back only 20 years or so, a marketer’s primary options to connect with customers were advertising, phone calls and direct mail – expensive, time-consuming, and impersonal methods. The level of data generated from these campaigns was nothing to sneeze at. During my time with EDS in the early nineties, one of the accounts tracked subscriptions for nearly every major magazine in the U.S. When we researched what type of system we would need to support that amount of data, we ended up with a massively parallel computing system housing 5TB of disk space (which incidentally cost about $16M of the $22M we spent on the whole system).

Today you can get a 5TB drive for $130. And today we not only have all the “old school” marketing methods still in play, we have email marketing, SMS marketing, and online marketing, which has opened up a whole new floodgate of data. I recently spoke to a colleague of mine who shared that every minute of every day they were serving 3 MILLION online ads around the world. Coming from email where you might send a half million emails a month, serving 4-5 BILLION online ads every day results in—and relies on—a staggering amount of data.

Not surprisingly, many marketers struggle to make sense of all the data at their fingertips. How would a CMO sift through 3 billion online advertisements and results (e.g., clickthroughs) and come up with meaningful campaigns? In today’s world, with digital advertising, mobile messaging and social media, how would a salesperson become aware of and be able to reach out to a prospective buyer who is in market and currently shopping for their services? By the time the organization collects and synthesizes the data, the prospect is likely no longer in market. The dilemma can be solved by getting to the right individual, at the right time, with the right offer … before they come into market.

With SaleScout’s BuyerSignals, our clients are able to reach targets directly before they become “in-market.” Consider my own recent hire here at SaleScout. A newly hired executive, who is in charge of Operations and Technology, is very likely open to hearing from software and cloud services companies. If these companies were using BuyerSignals, the moment news broke that I was hired a “Scout” would be sent to them that would include the news and my contact information. Before I even started looking for software and services, I would be contacted by these companies about their offerings. And they would have information about me—the fact that I just got a new job and where I came from—that could easily start a conversation.

A new executive hire is one of the many sales triggers that BuyerSignals scours the Internet and our proprietary data sources to find. Then we collect and verify the company contact information and send the lead to clients who are looking for prospects in that market.

The way businesses reach customers has changed dramatically. Data has become a gatekeeper, but it’s not enough to have mounds of data. Sales and marketing teams need timely, relevant and accurate data that gives them insight into what buyers need when they need it.

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