Scraping Vs. Buying Business Prospects: Things to Consider

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For most brands today, the most pressing need is data. They need data to make critical business decisions and steer the ship of their business to continuous success.

Big data today means a lot of things, but it also means prospects or leads which later become customers translating into more sales and an increase in revenue.

But one thing most businesses find themselves struggling with today is whether they should build their leads or buy an existing list of leads.

Since leads form an integral part of doing business, should an easy method of acquiring leads such as buying prospects not be the ideal thing for businesses to do? Or is there more to gain when brands build their prospect lists from scratch?

These are some of the questions we will be answering today and some important things to consider before picking an approach.

What is The Importance of Data in The Age of Big Data?

So much has happened in the last few years that the importance of data has only continued to surge even in the age of Big Data.

For businesses, data has become practically inevitable because it can be used in any of the following ways:

  1. Market And Sentiment Analysis

Understanding consumer behavior and the market attitude towards your products and service is a must at all times.

Customers behave differently at different times, and the market factors are constantly changing. Brands need to understand what the sentiments are at all times if they want to keep making money.

And the best way to understand these sentiments is through data, or more specifically, by collecting a large amount of data from the market.

  1. Brand Monitoring and Protection

A brand that doesn’t monitor itself is a brand that quickly gets into trouble. For instance, when customers leave negative feedback and reviews (like they always do), prospective customers see those and use them to determine the brand’s integrity. And when those comments go unanswered and unaddressed, they can even cost more damage to the brand in the long term.

The most effective way for brands to protect themselves from such harm is to collect a massive amount of data to see where they are being mentioned and what comments customers are dropping.

  1. Lead Generation

Another critical application of data is generating leads or people a brand can sell to in the nearest future.

Here, data is collected from competitors’ social media accounts and websites, online communities and forums, and other online platforms to create high-quality leads that will eventually turn into paying customers.

Different Approaches to Acquiring Data

The two major approaches to data acquisition include web scraping and prospect buying.

Web Scraping

Web scraping can best be explained as the process of using sophisticated tools such as proxies and web scrapers to interact with multiple sources and automatically identify, retrieve and extract a large amount of data from them.

The web scrapers are used for the data extraction part, while the proxies are used to automate the process, hasten it and bypass geo-restrictions.

To bypass geo-restrictions, proxies are usually equipped with a vast pool of internet protocol addresses and locations. Users can send out scraping requests from any country of their choice.

For instance, to scrape prospect or price information from a German eCommerce website, a brand can use a Germany proxy server to bypass restrictions regardless of where they are physically located. Here’s a great blog article on Germany proxy servers and other location-oriented solutions.

This way, web scraping can collect any amount of data from any server or website in the world.

Buying Prospects

This is an alternative to data scraping and involves purchasing already extracted data from another company.

Companies that sell prospect lists use web scraping to acquire them then sell them to brands that can’t afford web scraping either because of time constraints or limited resources.

When brands buy lead lists, they often keep the pipeline full and flowing as sales still need to happen if they want to stay in business.

What to Consider Before Choosing an Approach

Below are some things a brand needs to put into consideration before deciding on which prospect gathering method to settle for:

  1. Data Uniqueness

The first thing to consider when getting leads is the uniqueness of data that your brand needs.

Unique data means that the prospects are specific to your industry or niche. And the more unique the list, the faster the closing and the higher the sales that can be made.

Therefore, it is vital to find out which approach furnishes you with a more specific prospect list.

  1. Prospect Quality

The quality of prospect you will be getting at the end of an approach is also an important thing to note.

A high-quality list helps to increase the likelihood of making more sales, but a poorly organized list with incorrect details will make it harder to close deals.

  1. Company Needs

Some companies need to keep generating prospects more than others. It is essential first to understand what your brand needs.

Also, it would help more if you understand whether or not your brand needs prospects generated specifically for your niche or whether a broader and more general list could still bring you sales.

  1. Overall Cost

How much a prospect gathering exercise will cost you at the end is also an essential factor to consider.

This is important because budgets usually differ from one brand to another so that while one company may have thousands of dollars to spend on prospect acquisition alone, another organization could find it difficult to stake a few dollars.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, getting a lead list through web scraping may seem more expensive as the process requires the installation and occasional maintenance of some sophisticated tools.

However, this is where value comes in because prospects generated through an excellent thought-out web scraping process are often unique, high-quality, and meet the company’s needs faster and better than those bought from a third-party company.

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