Monday, January 25, 2016

Avention DataVision Gives Sales and Marketing Systems Unified Access to B2B Customer Data Quality and Alerts

My look last week at True Influence’s InsightBASE, a relatively new-fangled approach to intent data, was karmically balanced by a conversation with Avention, a old-line data aggregator that traces its roots to CD-ROM business lists from Lotus OneSource. The folks at Avention had reached out to discuss their latest product, DataVision, which extends Avention’s reach from sales enablement to marketing systems.  The goal is giving clients a single data source to support both departments.

DataVision lets clients upload customer lists to be cleaned and enhanced by matching against Avention’s own master file, which is itself compiled from some seventy sources. Sales and marketing systems can then access the results in an online database, providing all departments with a single, consistent view of their consolidated data. The information includes both companies and contacts and supplements standard profile information with event-based "signals" derived from news reports, company Web sites, and social media postings. Clients can set up alerts based on signals and can acquire new names that are similar to their current customers.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Reachforce, InsideView, SalesLoft and other data vendors offer similar services. Predictive modeling vendors including Leadspace, Lattice Engines, Mintigo, and Everstring also provide enhancement and signal-based alerts, although usually with less depth of detail. The biggest difference is those vendors usually send the enhanced information back to client systems rather than keeping it in an external database which sales and marketing systems access directly.

But different isn’t necessarily better. No one will discard their CRM or marketing automation database and use the DataVision file instead. There’s simply too much other information within the sales and marketing systems. So, in practice, DataVision will be used to update a company’s existing databases, pretty much the same as its competitors. The data may be a bit fresher, since any query to DataVision will return the latest information available to Avention. DataVision also provides some nice tools to visualize the distribution of a client’s customers across geography, industry, company size, and other dimensions, and to compare those distributions with the entire Avention universe of known firms. Again, these features are useful even if they are not necessarily unique.

In short, Avention DataVision is a solid option when you’re looking to clean and enhance your company’s customer and prospect data – something every firm needs to do. Intent data and predictive modeling are not part of the mix yet, but it’s easy to imagine those being added in the future. Whether Avention is your best choice will depend on your specific situation.  The only way to know is to define your exact requirements, test several sources, and evaluate the results. The good news is you have lots of vendors to choose from, so you have a good chance of finding one that fits your needs.

1 comment:

Linda Boudreau said...

Great post, thanks for sharing. Because of the rising importance of data-driven decision making, having a strong data governance team is an important part of the equation, and will be one of the key factors in changing the future of business.

We know in our business good record linkage happens behind the scenes. No personal information is ever shared, even the smallest of data sets aren't shared. Several departments have to approve each and every data request individually.

There is so much great work being done with data quality tools in various industries such as financial services and healthcare. It will be interesting to see the impact of these changes down the road.

Linda Boudreau