Saas: How B2B Data Follows the same Evolution as Technology

Demand Generation
Marketing Operations
Sales Enablement
Sales Operations
vertical specific data
May 7, 2024


It’s no surprise that the newly incorporated SaaS companies no longer look 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?

The evolution of the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry is undergoing a profound transformation, moving away from the broad, one-size-fits-all approach towards a more specialized and targeted model known as Vertical SaaS. This shift is not merely a trend but a response to the growing recognition that while every organization indeed requires fundamental software solutions like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems or payroll software, the application of these solutions cannot be effectively generalized across all industries.

The Limitations of Generic Solutions

The conventional wisdom that has guided the development of SaaS platforms posits that standardization is beneficial for establishing best practices. However, this approach often overlooks the unique challenges and complexities inherent to specific industries. Organizations operating in sectors with heavy compliance requirements, such as finance, healthcare, or legal services, find that generic SaaS solutions fall short of addressing their nuanced needs. The realization that a standard CRM or payroll system simplifies an organization's problems into one-size-fits-all answers has led to the recognition of a significant gap in the market.

The Rise of Vertical SaaS

To bridge this gap, there has been a surge in the development of vertical-specific platforms. These platforms are tailored to meet the intricate requirements of specific industries, offering solutions that are not just an overlay on existing generic platforms but are built from the ground up with the industry's unique needs in mind. For instance, Litify provides a customized solution for law firms, built on the Salesforce platform but entirely tailored to address the specific challenges of the legal industry. Similarly, vertical SaaS solutions have emerged in niche markets such as solar energy, construction, event management, and healthcare, each designed to cater to the particular needs of these sectors.

The Specialization of Data Needs

The shift towards vertical SaaS is mirrored in the data needs of these specialized platforms. Just as these companies require software that understands the intricacies of their industry, they also need data fields and analytics that are relevant to their specific domain. Vertical SaaS companies are increasingly seeking out vertical-specific data to more accurately identify and engage with their target audience, tailor their marketing strategies, and drive growth. This demand for specialized data underscores the broader move towards customization and personalization in the digital age.

The Advantages of Going Vertical

Adopting a vertical SaaS approach offers numerous benefits. It allows for a deeper understanding of customer needs and challenges within a particular sector, enabling the development of features and functionalities that address those needs directly. It also facilitates a more focused go-to-market strategy and product development process, as resources can be concentrated on solving the problems of a specific customer base rather than attempting to cater to a wider, more diverse audience.

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.

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 the 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 fits 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, then 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 the 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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