To conduct effective prospecting, you need to have quality data on the companies you approach. Often, this data can be stored in a CRM to conduct targeted campaigns and customize approaches based on the profile of the companies approached.
If you use Hubspot, one of the most popular CRMs, you may have noticed that when you import a company with a domain name, data will be pulled to the company's information sheet.
This data is pulled from HubSpot Insights, "a database containing information about companies that HubSpot collects by combining third-party data, web crawling and open outsourcing."
However, the question of the reliability of this data is often raised.
In this article, we'll explain how Hubspot's Insights database works and whether the data is reliable. Marc Wahba, co-founder and CTO of Infobel, shares his experience with data reliability. He explains:
- The flaws in the data that can be found on these software,
- the risks involved in using them,
- the hidden costs that can result.
How does the Hubspot Insights database work?
HubSpot Insights is "a database of company information that HubSpot collects by combining third-party data, web crawling and open outsourcing" (Source: Hubspot).
Hubspot Insights database allows companies to access firmographic data, such as revenue, company size, industry, number of employees, decision maker profiles and more.
Users can search for specific companies or contacts using filters such as location, company size, or industries.
Information from Hubspot's Insights database can be used to improve marketing and sales performance.
Companies can identify new sales opportunities, create mailing lists for targeted marketing campaigns and personalize marketing messages based on specific company or contact information.
How reliable is the data in the Hubspot Insights database?
It is not clear what sources Hubspot uses or how often the data is updated.
Errors and inaccuracies have been identified by users (and are discussed in the Hubspot user forum).
Therefore, it is important to consider the information in Hubspot Insights database as a rough guide and confirm it with other reliable sources of company data (such as those provided by Infobel Pro).
The source of Hubspot's data inaccuracy
At Infobel, we are (satisfied) Hubspot users ourselves, however we never use this data for campaigns because we know it is not accurate (we have better data available in our databases).
First of all, keep in mind that if a company or website allows you to get data for free, it is often because it cost nothing (or almost nothing) to acquire.
Usually, it is data collected on public databases or social networks, such as LinkedIn.
Here's a look at the data from Hubspot Insights and the sources of inaccuracy that can affect it.
Number of Employees
The number of employees in a company is information that is often inaccurate (especially when the information comes from databases like LinkedIn).
To find out how many employees a company has, several sources can be consulted:
- Government databases: information on the number of employees and other workforce data for companies can be found in official databases, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the United States, the SIRENE database for French companies or the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE) in Belgium. Each country generally offers a similar database;
- Company website: Most companies have an "About" or "Careers" section on their website, where they provide information about their history, mission and workforce. You can find the current number of employees of the company there;
- LinkedIn: The number of employees is usually listed in the "About" section of the company's LinkedIn page;
- Business directories: Several business directories are available online, such as Infobel Pro, Dun & Bradstreet, and ZoomInfo, which provide information about companies, including their number of employees.
- Annual Reports: Publicly traded companies are required to publish annual reports. These reports include information on their workforce.
The quality of the data on the number of employees depends on the source consulted.
In the case of Hubspot Insights, we do not know the source used to define the number of employees, but it is easy to see that this number is not very accurate and therefore not very reliable.
Indeed, the number of employees displayed by Hubspot are mostly rounded numbers. If you compare them with the data on LinkedIn's company profiles, you'll see that the rounding is often very close.
It is difficult to conclude with certainty that most of this data comes from LinkedIn. However, knowing that LinkedIn data is unreliable, it is by conclusion unreliable on Hubspot when it is similar.
The sales figures added automatically via Hubspot Insights can vary greatly from reality. Using this data to segment campaigns can lead to targeting errors.
We compared HubSpot Insights data to InfobelPro data. Here's a look at the significant differences we can find on the revenue of a sample of companies.
|Company name||Hubspot - Annual Revenue ($)||InfobelPRO - Annual Revenue* ($)|
|Le Pain Quotidien||1,000,000,000||415,128,750|
|Nature et Découvertes||250,000,000||201,705,253|
|Better World Books||100,000,000||49,683,262|
|Canadian Solar Inc.||50,000,000||5,277,169,000|
|Paper Boat Apps||1,000,000||20,608,955|
|La Boîte à Champignons||1,000,000||150,466|
*All these data are available with the free version of our USE tool
Second, Hubspot may consider the parent company rather than the domestic branch you are interested in. This can be a problem if you are specifically targeting a subsidiary or branch of a company rather than the company as a whole.
What are the consequences and hidden costs of using low-quality data?
Missing or unreliable data, such as the number of employees, makes it impossible to run accurate and reliable campaigns, especially when segmenting companies by size.
Using unreliable data can create hidden costs for companies.
If a company uses this data to conduct prospecting campaigns, it risks targeting companies that have no real business activity or interest in their products or services. This can be a waste of time and money for the company, which will have to redirect its prospecting strategy.
In addition, using unreliable data can have a negative impact on the company's image. If prospects receive prospecting messages that are not relevant to them, they may feel annoyed and have a negative image of the company.
This can damage the company's reputation and make it more difficult to carry out future prospecting campaigns.
It is therefore crucial for companies to ensure that the data they use for their prospecting strategy is reliable, in order to minimize the hidden costs associated with using unreliable data.
Hubspot Insights allows Hubspot CRM users to obtain (free) business data from a variety of public and private sources.
The sources of this data are not published by Hubspot (which says it "relies on information collected through a combination of third-party data, web mining and outsourcing").
In this article, we remind you that free company data is not the most reliable.
Our experience shows that the reliability of Hubspot data can vary greatly depending on the companies and data involved.
In conclusion, the Hubspot Insights database can give you an initial idea of the company data you import into this CRM.
But companies looking to improve their marketing and sales performance can't rely solely on Hubspot Insights data.
The data available for free on platforms like Hubspot may seem useful, but the work of assessing its reliability can quickly become time-consuming and more expensive than using data provider services.
It's best to use a reputable, specialized data provider to obtain reliable firmographic data.
You will then be able to use this data for effective prospecting actions regardless of the CRM you use.
Do you want to go further and compare your own data with that available on InfobelPro?
Sign up for our Search Tool and search our database on your own. Don't hesitate to contact our experts to learn more.