2017 Data TrendsB2B DataNews

Predicting the Hottest Data Trends in 2017

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DiscoverOrg is considered to be one of the best B2B sets in the data business.

Their CEO, Henry Schuck, recently joined The Corporate Data Show to boldly predict a few upcoming business and data trends in 2017, including the fastest-growing verticals and the central theme that 2017 will be known for.

This post reflects his predictions.

What Are the Fastest-Growing Verticals, Job Functions, and Job Titles in 2017?

One of the hottest areas DiscoverOrg is seeing is DevOps: people in the engineering or product development departments of companies. Another is HR, a huge vertical that’s newly being sold into with a real precision approach.

On the DevOps side, for a long time people have been focused on the Chief Information Officers at companies. You had to go way upstream (500-1,000 employees or more) to get a real size and scale of company. You were selling to really big companies if you wanted to sell 100,000 products into the CIO’s office.

That changed considerably with the fast growth of app companies. A company might have only 100 employees, but it’s purely tech, and their product is an online tool or app. They’re spending as much, if not more, than a 1,000-person brick-and-mortar company does on technology.

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DiscoverOrg has been profiling those companies heavily. Henry mentioned the example of Zillow.

Zillow has two sides of the house: the CIO, who’s responsible for internal email, phone, and systems, then the CTO, who has the big budget, is responsible for the infrastructure that keeps the Zillow app up, and is also responsible for all the application development and real-time monitoring. That person has a much larger budget than a CIO counterpart.

Is DiscoverOrg seeing strategies involving cohorts around that person? How do you get the CTO to even take a call?

This is a big reason why DiscoverOrg has organizational charts.

If all you have is a name and a contact number, you’re set up to fail. But when you organize all the information into org charts, you can say, “I’m talking to this developer, but here’s his manager, the other developers in his group, and his manager’s manager. I have multiple points of entry into an account we find incredibly important.”

Also, the death of people answering their telephone today is greatly exaggerated. Every month, Henry sits down and calls 20 random contacts in each of their data sets.

It gives him peace of mind that the quality of their database is still what he expects it to be. But the most fascinating thing is, on average, 3 out of 20 people pick up the phone. It takes an hour, tops to get three real sales opportunities.

What’s Going to Be the Big Hashtag That Emerges for 2017?

We were just hinting at ABM there. That was the trend in 2016. In ‘14, everybody’s hashtag was #bigdata. In ‘15, it was #datadriven.

So what’s it going to be for 2017?

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2017’s has got to be #salesprocess or #haveasalesprocess. There’s a plethora of tools now designed to help sales reps and marketers get their message to market, optimize the flow of their messaging, organize their data, and manage their campaigns.

People get that they need to buy data and tools to help them take advantage of that data, but what they haven’t gotten to is a true sales process. This is the people part; you can’t just buy something on a shelf and expect it to work.

You’ve got a tool, data that goes in the tool, and a bunch of people. How do you orchestrate that combination to make everything work? How do you make it so that every day you can go in and see that sales reps made this many calls, set this many demos, and where the data flowed. You need a full vision, an orchestrated process that leads to results every day, then to results every quarter.

And that’s hard work. It’s minutiae. It’s process. It’s discipline. You really have to get in there and craft a strategy to move data through the system and make sure people are acting on it.

But if we’re not doing that at all, all we’re doing is buying tools and data and expecting a great outcome. You’ll get it here and there, but you’re not going to create something repeatable and scalable.


2017 is well under way, but there are still plenty of predictions to be made.

If Henry is right in his assessment, we’re going to see “sales process” emerge as a huge sticking point this year. Tools and data won’t be enough; companies will look to use them in a clear, repeatable, predictable process.

Which is something they’ll be able to carry straight into 2018 and beyond.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Henry Schuck from DiscoverOrg. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Corporate Data Show.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.


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