From Horizontal to Vertical SaaS : How B2B Data follows the same evolution as Technology

Overview

It’s no surprise that the newly incorporated SaaS companies no longer looks the same as they did five to ten years ago. Technology has evolved from monetizing the biggest opportunities across multiple verticals to now creating vertical-specific SaaS solutions. It’s only natural to expect a similar transformation with B2B Data, as companies start to recognize the value of personalized and industry-specific data to succeed in today’s competitive landscape. 

But it wasn’t always this way. Behemoths like Salesforce or Marketo were part of the original horizontal SaaS movement. These large SaaS platforms targeted customers across verticals and industries and were the largest market opportunities when the world switched from server/client-side and PC to the cloud. 

Why Vertical SaaS ?

Every organization needs a CRM. Every organization needs payroll software. And the standardization does come in handy when it comes to establishing best practices. But… these platforms boil your organization’s problems down into generic solutions. For example, if you work in a compliance-heavy industry, you’re likely going to need to hire a platform-specific developer to ensure compliance and security.

This is why we have an emergence of vertical-specific platforms like Litify that is built on the foundation of Salesforce but is completely customized for law firms. You also see vertical SaaS software in niche industries like solar or construction or events or healthcare and so on.

The shift from standard, generic, one-size-fits all platforms to vertical-specific solutions isn’t just happening in SaaS — it’s happening in data as well. All these vertical SaaS companies need vertical specific data fields to find their audience.  

The Evolution of B2B Industry Specific Data

Not too long ago but before the days of the internet, an incredible invention revolutionized the way we did business. 

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I’m guessing the phone book wasn’t what you were expecting. This is, however, the first aggregation of personal and organizational information into a single source. It was the first democratization of data in the B2B world. 

Since then, we have seen rapid innovation in aggregation of B2B Data, however most in standard data.

Types of standardized data include: 

  • Company name
  • Number of employees
  • Revenue
  • Industry
  • Headquarters
  • Company address
  • Company phone number
  • Contact name
  • Contact location
  • Contact title
  • Contact email 

This is the data that everyone is using today. This is the equivalent of horizontal one size fit all – general purpose B2B data around decision makers and accounts. Providers include Clearbit, ZoomInfo, InsideView, D&B and more. Over time “how” we sourced data has changed – from digitizing phone directories to making phone calls to web scraping to user contributed data. However, the output has remained more or less the same. For example, LinkedIn might be a great way to source data for prospects. But it really is a giant one-size-fit-all directory and does not offer industry-specific fields.  

Vertical specific data fields required by a solar company may be the square footage area of the roof of the prospect’s office address. For hospitals, the number of hospital beds or specialties offered may be key data fields. None of which are available in horizontal datasets from existing providers.  

You could hire someone solely dedicated to cold call and ask some of these more vertical-specific questions, but that’s just not scalable. 

So… what’s next? If data providers like ZoomInfo or Linkedin or Clearbit are the Salesforce’s of the data world – as in, a generic source for prospecting data, than what is the Litify’s of the data world? Hint : It’s LeadGenius. 

Personalized and Vertical-Specific Data is the Future

Ask the closers at your company how they get deals across the line. They’ll say things like:

“I knew when her birthday was and sent her a gift.” 

“I knew that they just acquired a company and Joe from a previous company I worked with moved over there in the merger and I got an in.”

“I did the research to understand their market positioning including researching upcoming locations and challenges with cross border payments to show I understood their business.” 

“For restaurants, I get high conversions when I use their best selling dish in the subject line. That is how I got so many restaurant owners and managers to agree to a demo”. 

How do they get this data? Traditionally it’s through sheer work and sometimes serendipity. They research and start to connect dots to craft real, personalized messaging. This research usually entails various forms of Google searches, phone calls, in person meetings, LinkedIn research, networking and so on. It’s not scalable but it definitely works.

But that’s changing. There’s increased demand for personalized and vertical data that goes beyond standard data. LeadGenius has done the work to make this type of highly valuable, relevant-to-you, personalized & vertical data scalable. With the right blend of automation technology and custom research, LeadGenius may be the only company with the assets to provide scalable B2B data for the Vertical SaaS. 

Conclusion: Vertical SaaS is here to stay and they need industry specific data fields to rank and organize standard data

As broad opportunities and horizontal SaaS technologies are paving way to niche opportunities and Vertical SaaS; standard one size fit all databases are giving way to more personalized and Vertical specific data partners. Savvy Marketers are now realizing that they don’t need to limit themselves to standard data fields around contacts and accounts to reach their audience. They are increasingly coming to LeadGenius to enrich the standard data that they purchase from existing vendors. We expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. 


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