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Blog image-1As they say, knowledge is power. And in our world of marketing and sales, more knowledge about your prospects means better targeting and segmentation, more effective nurturing and smarter sales prospecting.

One of the best ways to gain more “knowledge” about your prospects, or leads, is to enrich the leads data within your marketing automation software and CRM systems with second- and third-party data. It always surprises me – the number of companies that pour money into demand generation programs without a cohesive data acquisition strategy and rely solely on their own first-party data, without exploring or testing the wealth of data enrichment options available.

Very simply, data enrichment is paying second- and third-party data providers for access to new information on your leads and customers. It enhances the first-party data you typically collect from website and email interactions, at events, through surveys, customer feedback and so on. This first-party data can be highly valuable, but can also be limited to email addresses, names and titles for less mature demand generation programs.

So, what do you get with second- and third-party data? First, let’s touch on second-party data, as it is a newer concept. Second-party data is someone else’s first-party data, in the sense that the seller collected the data with direct interaction with a defined audience. If that audience matches yours, second-party data can be significant and high quality. Third-party data, like purchase behavior, company revenue, size and industry vertical, is collected and sold by data aggregators. It can be more of a hit or miss. Often, it is interesting for filling in gaps and providing scale, but you have to know the providers and be wary of quality. Both forms of data can be bought with data vendors and marketplaces like DX Network, Oracle/BlueKai, Taboola and Lotame or directly from the other businesses.

So, how does all this benefit your marketing programs and increase conversions and sales? There are three important ways:

1. Better targeting and segmentation: Access to more information about your prospects naturally means that you can create even more granular segments. You can then target those segments with more personalized content and offers, leading to more qualified TOFU (top of funnel) leads, increasing the probability of higher conversion rates and larger sales opportunities.

2. More effective lead nurturing: Especially for mature marketing organizations, nurture should be one of the most essential parts of your demand generation program, where you’re spending significant time and resources. But we regularly come across B2B tech companies with long lead cycles that have massive amounts of leads stuck at nurture. Data enrichment can unclog your nurture stream, allowing you to grade leads better, focus on multi-channel engagement with your best prospects and drive sales conversions.

3. Smarter sales prospecting: Salespeople, naturally, tend to be super efficient about spending their time on the highest-quality prospects. Enriched CRM data lets salespeople prioritize their call lists and obtain access to other forms of contact information that may not be available in first-party data only.

Lack of knowledge and a cohesive data strategy can lead to suboptimal marketing and sales. When a client comes to us to help them increase their lead flow and sales, we talk about a variety of things, from messaging and creative, to the buyer journey, technology infrastructure and sales enablement. But chief among those conversations is our client’s data strategy.

The bottom line is that a smart data strategy leads to increased sales. According to McKinsey, 53 percent of sales organizations that are “high performing” rate themselves as effective users of analytics and data.

Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about how Merritt Group can help you increase sales opportunities.

And, in the meantime, download our Playbook (this one is specifically for our cybersecurity clients, but with insights for all B2B tech marketers) on other ways to turn leads into paying customers.


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