Data as a Service: Perfect Complement for Consulting Firms

By Miko DiGiacomo-Castillo | Updated November 23, 2020

External data has the power to transform a company's understanding of its clients, markets, and industry. With the right digital tools that use this information to offer the most comprehensive recommendations, a business will maximize their performance through intelligent data usage.

What's inside this article:

Auren Hoffman Believes in the Power of Data

Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph, shares his thoughts about external data and consulting firms in these reflections on the topic. He describes internal data as having a very limiting view for companies, whereas external data is incredibly valuable, but not as widely used. As he mentions, there is a massive opportunity to help these companies take advantage of this data to better understand where their business stands.

Make Better Decisions With External Data

"One of the biggest revenue drivers for future-thinking consulting firms and agencies will be helping companies effectively use external data. As companies get better and better at using their external data, we are seeing more of them buying and utilizing it. This is because internal data give a limited picture of the world—even massive companies like Walmart only see less than 0.1% of what is happening outside of their walls (or web site). External data (provided by DaaS companies) can help fill in the picture and give organizations a better understanding of what is going on with their customers, suppliers, partners, and the global economy.

This external data is incredibly hard to use and make sense of. After all, it is just data. It is usually delivered via a big CSV dump or API call. Most data companies just hand off the data to their customers and say "good luck." In fact, a decent amount of purchased data just sits on the shelf and is never used.

This is where the forward-thinking consulting firms and agencies come in. They have a massive opportunity to help organizations make use of external data. The traditional systems-integration firms (like Capgemini, CapCo, Deloitte, and Accenture) are poised to do well to take advantage of the new world of data. These firms are neutral and don't own software or data vendors—so they can give their clients the very best outcome in partnership with unbiased vendors.

The fortunes of data companies are irrevocably linked to the forward-thinking consulting firms who can help make the data sing. Data is just an ingredient. It needs expertise. Large consulting firms are natural complements to external data."

Reflecting on the Opportunity of External Data

After learning from what Auren has to share, we thought it was worth diving deeper into the topic. What kind of external data is most relevant? Which digital tools use external data to drive their features? We explore these questions to follow up on what Auren introduced before.

Internal and External Data Delivers Different Results

Auren emphasizes the power of external data has to maximize a company's understanding of their business. What separates internal and external data so much as to make such a knowledge gap between organizations? Consider when each type of data is most useful. In some examples, external data is the sole driver of intelligent processes that offer the kind of recommendations and predictions that teams are after.

Demographic and Behavioral Information Powers Lead Scoring

For certain processes, like lead scoring, demographic and behavioral information from customers is exactly the kind of data required to use the technique. Think of how much more a salesperson can accomplish when they have all of the best resources and tools available to them. To have access to lead scoring, the right data must be used for accurate results. For a more detailed explanation of the process, read the guide on the Top 5 Benefits of Lead Scoring.

Coordinate Data for Best Results

Before moving on, let's overview the difference between the demographic and behavioral information mentioned before. Demographic data may include the basic information on your clients, like their location, business size, and specific industry. The behavioral data can provide more clarity on a client by describing their engagement in email campaigns or interactions with your online content like webinars or digital downloads. Coordinated together, this data can fuel an efficient lead scoring strategy that can rank potential clients on their likeliness to convert.

Accomplish More With Alternate Data Market Research

Moving beyond client information, alternate data market research must be brought up on the topic of external data. Auren describes only using internal data as only seeing 0.1% of the full picture. With practices like alternate data market research, companies are one step closer to understanding everything they need to know about what's affecting their business from the outside. Most CRM platforms and other digital tools rely on a limited scope of external data research to fuel their intelligent features, but there are a few that use the full range of data signals to offer the most comprehensive recommendations.

Machine Assistance Maximizes External Data

To wrap up alternate data market research, let's get into what kind of sources are included in the practice. From M&A rumors and searches to court records, this kind of research may include a list of information points that a standard business might not consider when completing market research. Sorting through court records, hiring trends, and even dark web exposure would take hours for a single team to get through even if they knew where to look. That's where intelligent digital tools prove helpful in aiding with machine assistance to process the billions of external signals that may matter to your business.

The Best Digital Tools Use External Data

By having a better understanding of what Auren means when he mentions external data, we can move on to overviewing the types of digital tools that take advantage of it. Of course, consulting firms are positioned to optimize the use of external data, as Auren describes, but there are also independent tools that can offer the same benefits. These tools are powered by AI and make it easy for teams to start using the results of external data as soon as they start.

Realize More About External Data With AI

As we move into our break down of the relevant digital tools that are powered by external data, we should consider the technology that allows for such use. As Auren writes, external data can be hard to use if it's kept locked up in big files and never put to work. Consider a sales team looking for intelligent recommendations and predictions for their client engagement processes. AI makes it possible to process this data and create something meaningful with it so that the salespeople may put the data to good use in their selling.

Intelligent Market Monitors Utilize External Data

As mentioned, intelligent market monitors are key to opening the power of external data. They have the capabilities to process billions of data signals that are most relevant to a business and make it easy to realize what a team's next steps should be. Specifically for salespeople, intelligent market monitors can supercharge the prospecting process and save hours a week by providing real-time opportunity discovery.

Don't Forget About Your CRM

As mentioned, most CRMs only have the capability for limited external data use. Although not as comprehensive as intelligent market monitors, starting with your CRM can be a good first step in adopting a process that maximizes your use of external data. Salesforce is a good example. If it's your chosen platform, it offers ways to input external data sources to help make further visualizations and forecasts.

Aptivio's Understanding of External Data

Having the right digital tools that make use of external data can transform your business's understanding of important markets and changes. Aptivio uses billions of company behavior data points to determine this important information for the best sales indicators in opportunities and risks. This kind of opportunity identification predicts where your buyer is in the process based on a six-month timeline of buying signals from multiple sources. As an intelligent market monitor, we at Aptivio understand what it means to use external data to improve performance.

Our Aptivio Intelligent Market Monitor for Sales creates a simple dynamic digital sales playbook and we know that when salespeople have the best tools, they accomplish their best work. The sales playbook can separate the important signals from the noise and discover the complex relationships in markets that would otherwise be missed. Ready to learn more? Get started for FREE today!

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