The challenges of utilising the data at your disposal

In the last of the two-part series, we ask four case studies what challenges they face in using the data at their disposal.

The first in this series, focused on Using data intelligence to grow your business and gain competitive advantage

Before getting started, let’s recap on who our use cases are.

The first is the UK’s leading car share provider, Liftshare. Based in Norwich, this Social Enterprise provides a car sharing platform to over 600,000 users. Liftshare also works with 700 businesses across the UK to provide the platform to their employees.

The second is Cognism, an end-to-end sales acceleration solution, which provides B2B organisations with a more efficient way to prospect. In a crowded marketing technology space, Cognism has been able to demonstrate the power of its platform, powered by a patented artificial intelligence (AI) engine, by using it to grow its own client base and increase revenue significantly since it started trading in 2016. At the heart of the solution is a game-changing approach to data that improves the depth, accuracy and timeliness of each prospect interaction.

The company has helped our other three case studies take advantage of the data they possess.

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The third, Graduate Fasttrack, has been a market-leading graduate recruiter since 2003, helping thousands of graduates find their ideal job within sales and recruitment. Its clients range from small start-ups to large FTSE businesses, so there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach the organisation can take.

Our final use case is Asemblr, a smarter solution to plan and manage events, which was founded in early 2016 by its CEO, David Lovett Hume. He identified an opportunity within the industry to use technology to streamline the way in which corporate events are planned and built. Fast forward a few years and Asemblr has become an intuitive, digital platform for busy professionals to book and manage corporate events, conferences, trip incentives and team building, all in one place.

The challenges of utilising the data at your disposal


Andrew Anderson, head of Business Engagement at Liftshare, says “primarily, we wanted to generate more opportunities for our sales teams, ensuring our mission and message was conveyed to relevant potential prospects. In addition, we wanted to make sure the sales team were delivering outbound activities with more impact; with over 600,000 members on the public platform and 900 corporate clients, we wanted to expand and seek new opportunities.

“It is now widely recognised that B2B organisations need to adopt more effective strategies to identify their key targets, approach the best contacts and increase their revenue growth. However, despite being well established, the traditional approach of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is often complicated and difficult to maintain with any degree of accuracy. Data often goes out of date as soon as it hits the system which creates issues in identifying decision-makers and/or the appropriate profile to do business with.

“This traditional approach can often hinder growth and we needed a more effective lead generation strategy. We knew what prospects we wanted to target but we identified that the team needed to be more targeted and strategic.”

Andrew Anderson specialises in sustainable travel and travel planning.
Andrew Anderson specialises in sustainable travel and travel planning.


James Isilay, CEO at Cognism, explains that “data starts to go out of date as soon as it hits the system, creating issues in identifying decision-makers and/or the appropriate profile to do business with – particularly within international sales environments.

“In the best case, this leads to lost sales opportunities; in the worst case, companies waste huge resources targeting the wrong people, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong message. Improvements to the sales process must be supported by a completely different approach to data sourcing. Static CRM is no longer good enough. B2B sales organisations need access to fresh, accurate, contextual and, critically, GDPR-compliant data.

“Recognising this, I set about creating a present-day solution. The concept was to use recent technology developments in the field of AI to tackle traditional database flaws. I was determined that the best way to prove the strength of the platform was for Cognism itself to be the first customer.

“Technology has been absolutely key to our phenomenal revenue growth. In a post GDPR era and with plummeting data confidence, growing numbers of B2B organisations are now admitting the traditional sales funnel is broken. However, new technology proves that it isn’t poor products or services that compromise business success: it’s the inability to close new business or even identify new market opportunities. And this means taking a fundamentally different approach to prospect data.”

James Isilay helped Cognism raise $3.5m in a venture round in December 2018.
James Isilay helped Cognism raise $3.5m in a venture round in December 2018.

Graduate Fasttrack

Ciaran North, head of Business Development at Graduate Fasttrack, says that “the problem we had previously was that we were spending far too much time researching and trying to find new business. We didn’t have an identified approach, it was more about jumping on as many websites as we could to give us as much data we could find. It wasn’t strategic at all. We used to spend a lot of effort finding data on specific companies and people, pulling together the right information and finding the best way to contact them. Now, we are saving so much time; half of my week used to be spent doing what the platform is able to do in seconds. It’s also increased the avenues we have been able to explore for our business development, opening up a lot of new ways that we wouldn’t have thought of before.”

Ciaran North joined Graduate Fasttrack in 2014.
Ciaran North joined Graduate Fasttrack in 2014.


Mark Hulme, Business Development director at Asemblr, reveals that “in order to continue building brand awareness and scaling up to achieve its rapid growth plans, we recognised that a new approach to our sales development activities was needed. We had no database to work from, meaning that activity had been conducted via networking at events and calling previous contacts. We needed to build the sales process from the ground up with a solution that could produce results, without taking up additional resource the team simply did not have to spare.

“We also wanted to be confident the team were not just on top of nurturing relationships with relevant sales leads, but that they were contacting prospects and using data sources in a GDPR-compliant way. Being GDPR-compliant in our practices is something that is really important to us, and something that Cognism was able to completely reassure us they could provide. We need the data we use to be fully refreshed and accurate to ensure we are always reaching out to the right person, with the right message, at the right time; which the data sources we’re now using guarantee.”

Mark Hulme has over 30 years experience in both the leisure and corporate sectors.
Mark Hulme has over 30 years experience in both the leisure and corporate sectors.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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