Compelling Sales Prospecting (with Data) Ft. Ashley Cummings



Ashley Cummings, Data & Analytics Advisor with Dun & Bradstreet, joined Adam and Mark in the Data Basement to discuss evolutionary changes in sales prospecting with data. Ashely’s journey includes significant time in B2B agency sales and iHeartRadio, where she learned to appreciate data-driven sales techniques. To this day, Ashley believes cold calling has a place in your sales strategy if it’s connected to data sources—people won’t despise your outreach if it’s related to something they want or need at that time. When asked about her success at Dun & Bradstreet, she revealed her secret. Be willing to try the tactics nobody else will. To succeed in today’s crowded world where people receive calls and emails 24/7, sales professionals must stand out thoughtfully. Her examples of uniqueness and using personality to win over a prospect’s attention are entertaining and easy to replicate. Here are some highlights from the episode:

  • It’s essential to have conversations when selling to understand pain points, fears, and objectives.
  • Historically, sales needed more leads for the sales team to use. Now those leads need to be targeted with intent and propensity modeling.
  • Standing out is essential; you must do some weird stuff to make things happen.
  • You don’t listen to the radio for the music; you listen because of your connection with the hosts.
  • With segmentation, you can make good cases for sales targeting.
  • Billboards don’t do that great in Seattle because of the weather. You can’t drive in the rain and read billboards. Instead, run ads on the radio during the weather segment. This is what you can do with data.
  • Thinking intelligently about placing ads on a blend of channels is critical to success.
  • Website visits and intent data are super helpful, but you must layer more data to target appropriately.
  • People are only upset with a digital advertisement when it’s intrusive. The goal is to show people what they want to buy at the right time.
  • Cold calling does work if it’s done with thought.
  • Retargeting isn’t enough; we must layer our data to ensure relevance.
  • Humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, which is 6 seconds.
  • “Someone who listens more sells more.”


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Adam Kerpelman (00:42):

Hey everybody, it’s the Data-Driven Marketer. I’m Adam.


Mark Richardson (00:45):

I’m Mark.


Ashley Cummings (00:46):

And I’m Ashley.


Adam Kerpelman (00:47):

Welcome back for another hang in the data basement. Thanks, everybody for joining us. Special thanks to our guest this week, Ashley Cummings, who is a data and analytics specialist within D & B, Dun & Bradstreet, our new mothership around here. I think you might actually be only the second person we’ve talked to from inside the mothership.


Ashley Cummings (01:11):



Adam Kerpelman (01:11):

Otherwise, I’ll throw to you for sort of how you ended up there in that role with D & B, and then later, we’ll tell the story of why we ended up recruiting you to come to do the podcast.


Ashley Cummings (01:22):

All right. Well, that’ll be a good one. No, so I’ve always been in sales. Ever since I was a little kid, I feel like just had that natural ability to want to talk to people want to learn more about what they were doing.


I went to college as the typical person that should be in sales. I went for communications, right? Very generic in what I went to college for. Graduated and started doing hair, but I didn’t actually like cutting hair, I just liked selling the products that I used on people’s hair. It’s just what I did. They’d be like, “How do you sell so much product?” I was like, “Listen, you’ve got to use it on them and tell them how great it is.”


 So I went there, and then I was like, “No, I want to just do sales. That’s all I want to do.” So I went to this B2B marketing company. That’s how they got me in for that, it was a marketing company. But then I realized that I was going to go door to door and try to convert businesses to buy or switch their electricity to direct energy. So they gave me a map of a town, and I had to keep turning right until I covered every single business in a possible area.


It was a great experience because the first thing you have to learn in sales is to take no and just be able to bounce back from that. So I feel like I learned that by the cops being called and escorted out.


Adam Kerpelman (02:36):

Oh no.


Mark Richardson (02:38):

No is the start of the conversation, right?


Ashley Cummings (02:40):

Yeah. So now it’s just like, “Oh, you said no? That’s way nicer than things I’ve heard in the past.” So it doesn’t even phase me. So that was good there. Then I ended up I wanted just not to travel as much, so I was driving some days 100 miles to cover a certain territory, which led me to iHeartRadio.


So, everyone pretty much knows iHeartRadio. I worked for a local group selling local direct business in the area that I live in. I was super excited, right? This big company, it’s going to be so much different than where I was before, and then I was like, okay, first day after training, they’re like, “Here,” and they put a giant phone book on my desk and they’re like, “This is where you can start prospecting for leads.” I was like, “Oh wow, thank you so much.”


Mark Richardson (03:27):

Do I get a map too, or this just a step up?


Ashley Cummings (03:30):

Yeah. Yeah. They’re like, “If you’re feeling really crazy, you can go drive up and down the highway and look at new billboards being put up.” Because we sold the advertisings. But as wild as that sounds, it was definitely an evolution between just getting a map and not knowing any business to at least like, “Well, this is the businesses at least in our area. Now what do they do?” You could filter the phone book by industry, go back and look at some plumbers. So there was something to it, and I appreciated that.


I ended up having two kids while I worked there. So I took my maternity leave, really took time to really wait for something that I wanted to do, and that’s when I came across, Dun & Bradstreet and luckily was able to get in the door into what I thought was like a starting position, but it really wasn’t because now I know where people really start at D & B. So I’m super grateful that it led me here.


It’s been great because the data sources that we now use is a complete evolution. But I also can relate to almost every company that calls in, no matter what they’re doing for marketing, I did that. I know what their sales reps are going through.


So that was it. That’s my bio.


Adam Kerpelman (04:36):

Yeah. I’ll say it’s been interesting, I mean, even just hearing your experience with the shifts within D & B and stuff. But first Mark said we had to start by talking about roller derby.


Ashley Cummings (04:49):

Oh my gosh. So this is how this came up? Oh, yes. So I did the Bucks County Roller Dolls in our town. Do you want to know how that started? I was like, “Oh, how can I break an arm today?” I was like, “I’m going to try out for roller derby.”


No, I’m only kidding.


Mark Richardson (05:05):

You were like, “I don’t feel like driving down the highway today. I need a doctor’s note.”


Ashley Cummings (05:10):

Let me do roller derby.


No. So one of my friends was actually like, she was like, “Oh, I’m going to go learn a little bit about roller derby. You should come.” I was like, “Oh no, I’m pretty good at roller skating, but I don’t know.” But then she started going to the practices. They had open practices, and I went to support her. I was like, “That looks pretty good. I could definitely do that.”


Then I’m super competitive, so it doesn’t really matter what it is, right? I will crush anybody at it if I can, right? It can be throwing a rock into a square, and I will stand there all day and practice it. So I was like, “Oh, I could definitely do better than half the girls out there. I’m just going to do it just to make the team.” Then I did make the team, and I got my butt kicked for like two years, got hurt a lot.


Then that was around the same time that I had my kids. So then I stopped doing it.


Adam Kerpelman (06:03):

Because it becomes way more inconvenient to be hurt once you have kids to be sure.


Ashley Cummings (06:07):

Yeah. Yeah.


Adam Kerpelman (06:08):

So, we all met because you and Mark met at an event where we, as the new scrappy people, we’re like, “I guess we’ll just send a person to this event where D & B’s sponsoring and has a big booth and everything.” The natural way we should be introducing you is as the first member of our skunkworks street team we’ve been putting together over here.


Ashley Cummings (06:33):

It was destiny.


Mark Richardson (06:33):

Rogue One.


Adam Kerpelman (06:36):

But the response to the stuff that Mark and I were doing on the ground at the trade shows, it was a surprise to me, coming from the world of trying to find ways to get attention at ComicCon and stuff. It’s like when you have to stand out against the creative that invented Spider-Man, different tactics.


Mark Richardson (06:56):

You are fighting an uphill battle, big time. Yeah.


Adam Kerpelman (06:58):

So pretty quickly we realized, okay, there’s a version of this that we can deploy that’s interesting, and then it didn’t surprise me to learn that the background in radio and stuff, when Mark said, “Actually, I met somebody for us, they’d be perfect for this.”


Mark Richardson (07:14):

We have this energy of jumping into the void, you know? We’re big on testing. We’re big on taking a crazy idea and seeing who responds to it, you know? That was apparent to me quickly. I think it was the competitiveness I saw when we played corn hole. I was like, oh man, this girl likes to win, and she doesn’t care how she does it.


Ashley Cummings (07:39):

There’s no like losing ability in my blood.


Adam Kerpelman (07:42):

So here’s the real test. Do you let your kids win?


Ashley Cummings (07:44):

No. I don’t.


Adam Kerpelman (07:47):

I haven’t gotten there yet where I can compete with my sons.


Ashley Cummings (07:51):

Everything between them is a competition. My husband will look at me and be like, “You did this.” They’re like, “I finished my food first,” and you’re like, “There’s no prize. There’s no prize for finishing your food.” They’re like, “This is your fault.” I’m like, “Yeah, sorry.”


Everything is a competition in our house.


Mark Richardson (08:07):

Even to the point where I realized it, even to the point where I gave away your Data is Dope shirt to try to score a lead on the floor. It was like, I didn’t know it was yours; it was just a shirt sitting there, and I needed to give it to somebody, so I could scan their badge, get them in the system, and then I incurred the wrath of Ashley.


Ashley Cummings (08:26):

Roller derby days almost came back out when I saw it.


Mark Richardson (08:28):

They did. Yeah.


Adam Kerpelman (08:31):

That would probably have gotten us some press. [inaudible 00:08:36]. Great show.


Ashley Cummings (08:38):

I think standing out is important no matter what. You have to do some weird stuff sometimes to make things happen.


I specifically remember mailing… I used to go to the thrift store for clients that I really wanted to get at iHeart, and I mailed them a shoe with my business card, and then I would come back in, and I’d say, “Well, I’m here to get my shoe.” They’re like, “You mailed us a shoe?” I was like, “I had to get my foot in the door somehow.” As corny as that was, are you not going to talk to me? Are you not going to talk to me? You know?


Adam Kerpelman (09:08):



Well, so the thing I think that’s interesting is that’s coming from the digital media side, we live in this weird digital space now where you talk about sales territories and things like that, right? It doesn’t apply the same way once you hit digital, and I think sometimes that gets people to think that the same tactics don’t apply. So when I come in and go, “No, we need to get some people on the ground and do, I mean, yeah, I guess you would call it field marketing, but yeah, it’s B2B. But we’ve got to do the same stuff that Red Bull does at football games to stand out with a team of people.” You were like, “Yeah, totally.” I was like, cool, if the pitch is that easy.


Mark Richardson (09:53):

I mean, there was literally, yeah, it’s funny, there’s a you get it or you don’t quality about creative marketing.


Going back to iHeart, do you remember when they had to move company-wide to a digital model within the last five to eight years, right? Where they started doing more offering programmatic, offering geofencing, audience segmentation, and those types of things. Did you pick up on a lot of that as it was happening, or did they expose you to those products?


Ashley Cummings (10:24):



Mark Richardson (10:24):

Or did you stay on the more DR side?


Ashley Cummings (10:27):

No. So when they launched that, I was working there for like four years and I was kind of like, oh, after I had my second kid, I was like, maybe I don’t go back, you know? Then right before I went out on maternity leaves is when they started talking about digital, which excited me in general. Not that people don’t listen to radio. That’s a PSA for anyone listening. Radio is. Still, it’s a connection, it’s standing out. You don’t listen to it for the music, because anyone can listen to music on anything, right? You listen to it because you have a relationship with the people you’re listening to. It’s why people listen to podcasts. It’s why they listen to everything.


But that’s when they started bringing together the digital, which is just really where everything was going. So iHeartRadio was always a thing, and then the app, iHeartRadio Music, and then it’s gotten to the digital ads, display ads, geofencing specific things. It just made it interesting because it creates like a cohesive marketing plan, which is what I enjoy. Right? Do email campaigns and be successful. You can’t just do cold calls and be successful. You may have success doing those things as a sales rep, but I don’t think a company can specifically have that unless they have amazing sales reps all around. You’ve got to give them some help with what you’re doing.


So I think it’s important to have a super cohesive. So the digital aspect is actually what kept me at iHeart for another two years. I went on my maternity leave, came back, and started selling a ton of digital because it was so much more fun to sell and it was easy to track results. One thing with radio is you can mention this ad 10% off, no one is cheap enough to mention something for 10% off. You know?


Mark Richardson (12:01):

I always wonder how many people actually go into those businesses and, “You know what? I heard your radio blitz on-“


Adam Kerpelman (12:07):

Tell them Howard sent you.


Mark Richardson (12:08):

“… on K-ROCK.” You know?


Adam Kerpelman (12:10):



Ashley Cummings (12:10):

There’s only one format that works on and it’s AM radio. So if someone says, “I’ll tell them Bobby sent you,” and it was AM radio, those people will be like, “Yeah, Bobby sent me. He told me I get a free flag with every purchase.” They will mention it every time, you know? So the caveat.


Adam Kerpelman (12:28):

But what you’re saying is totally relevant and then gets interesting even in the data space because you get to the geofencing and stuff like that where people say, “Well, digital doesn’t mean geography doesn’t matter anymore because we can also map the geography and we can say, okay, data can work for smaller and smaller organizations.” So I think part of that, though is considering things like terrestrial radio or local newspapers to the extent that those exist.


Mark and I talk about it a lot, there’s still a long tail of data and SEO things that marketers can do region by region and this way of thinking about the landscape is super relevant.


Here’s a good example. The startup I was at before I came to NetWise, one of our primary competitors, was an app that helped you get out of parking tickets by helping you automatically submit appeals.


Mark Richardson (13:36):



Adam Kerpelman (13:37):

Contest. Contest the ticket.


Mark Richardson (13:41):

I got you.

Adam Kerpelman (13:41):

They have like a thousand pages and it’s just how to get out of a parking ticket in insert town. So they just manually they were going to decide, okay, of any given geographical region, they’ll start with the major cities, there’s only 30 or 40 of them, and then down from there to the point that a thousand pages, it was just like how to get out of a ticket in Buffalo, and they had a page for it.


Ashley Cummings (14:02):



Mark Richardson (14:03):

That’s a bad SEO. Local SEO domination.


Adam Kerpelman (14:06):

Exactly. Right? So again, that idea of it’s both territorial, but also then you can scale that territorial plan to any given geography in a way that it’s not as limited as it used to be, but it’s still kind of the same.


Mark Richardson (14:22):

Yeah. With segmentation, too you have the ability to make a better case to your business leaders and your C-suite. You can say, “Hey, we found real estate VPs in Buffalo,” or “We were able to, whatever it is, parking ticket holders in Buffalo, and of a hundred dollars or less, we know that we’re able to be successful.” And then extrapolate that into a P & L or a predictive model and go, “Hey, give me money to do this nationwide,” or “Give me money to do something similar.” So it’s interesting how the convergence of old school and new school sales enablement is coming to the fore. Not just at D & B, but industry-wide.


Ashley Cummings (15:03):

Yeah. I mean, there’s so much to think about or that you can do with advertising and data combined. Even just simple things as people would do billboard ads and it’s like, well, you know what can’t see when it’s raining and you’re driving down the highway? A billboard. But you could run a radio ad during traffic and weather and it was the combination. That’s what I loved about the data that you could use even from a weather perspective. Right? So talking from advertising, Seattle’s the rainy city, right? That’s what they say about Seattle. I’m not crazy. That’s something else?


Adam Kerpelman (15:35):



Mark Richardson (15:36):

It’s true. It’s accurate.


Ashley Cummings (15:38):



Adam Kerpelman (15:38):

Yeah. It’s not.


Ashley Cummings (15:39):

I would imagine-


Adam Kerpelman (15:39):

It’s basically true.


Ashley Cummings (15:41):

Yeah. But billboards probably do significantly less return on investment in a town like that just based on weather. You can’t pay attention off the road to those things. The data can be used for anything.


Today is Taco Tuesday, and I don’t think this will even air on a Tuesday, but people will know that it was a Tuesday. It’s Taco Tuesday. So just strategically where they place stuff on a Tuesday if you go to the grocery store, check it out next time. Why would they move them on Tuesday to the end caps? They use data too.


Adam Kerpelman (16:13):



Ashley Cummings (16:13):

You know?


Adam Kerpelman (16:13):

Yeah. Money and data.


Ashley Cummings (16:17):

It’s a data set that they’ve used to determine majority of the time people will buy it on Tuesday, but more coincidentally, people go grocery shopping on Sunday so that’s when they start to plan for the week and they’ll also bump it up. So it’s all based on data, just things that you look at every day. That’s what I think is cool about it. That’s why it’s like, data’s so cool. Now that I work in a data environment, it’s everywhere.


Mark Richardson (16:38):

Just to piggyback on that, I mean, in order to what I call psycho hack people, right? You’re given these data points to show you a strategy that could be sustainable, but you’ve always got to go out and test it. You’ve always got to like prove it. Which is where I thought being on the trade show floor at B2B in Austin brought a lot of this home, because what I didn’t realize was our ability as data professionals, and even just as managers, advertisers, salespeople, to be educators, which is obviously what we’re doing with this, the Data-Driven Marketer community, is talking about this bleeding edge strategies, classic strategies, what’s working, and just putting that into human conversations and actually hearing, “Hey, my business is doing this, we’ve had success with A, B, and C,” and then just hearing that knowing, oh, you could be doing D, E, and F as well, and maybe there’s a company that’s doing A, B, D, and E, they don’t have the B and C part, you know?


So I think having worked both on the ground and on the calls, hitting calls, you can never really lose that. You always have to maintain a bit of the old school relationship mentality. Even though a lot of this is informed by data, we have this kind of notion that, well, I can just activate an audience and then the right people will just come in. It’s like, no, you still need to have conversations. You still need to hear what your pain points are, what your successes have been, what are your objectives, what are your fears? You know? All of those soft qualitative skills are still very much in play.


Ashley Cummings (18:17):

No, I agree. You have to be willing to do different things. I mean, now everyone’s talking about digital, right? But there was a time where the first person was like, I’m going to put my budget 50% of it in digital, and people were like, “You’re crazy. You’re not going to get any results from that. No one wants an ad that follows them around all day trying it.”


Mark Richardson (18:35):

Exactly. Exactly.


Ashley Cummings (18:36):

Now it’s like, how can I pay for that ad that follows somebody around for the next 30 days? How do I get that?


Mark Richardson (18:42):

Or remember when email was the new thing? We went from DR and then email. It was all just spammy emails. So when we had to move from email to social media, it was like, “Ah, I don’t want to cut my email budget because that’s where I get all my leads.” It’s like, “But yeah, if you can reinforce your message differently on social media, you’ll probably get a better click-through and a better open rate on those email campaigns.” So it’s thinking intelligently about the blending of channels as well as trying to maintain those strong conversations and hear where individual businesses or people are hurting.


Adam Kerpelman (19:15):

I’m curious about the experience. I mean, we’ve talked broadly about data and marketing and stuff, but I’m curious about your just personal experience inside of D & B and the shift from iHeart’s version of data-driven to some degree operation to support what you do every day to the version that you see inside of D & B.


I have to say, even with not necessarily even understanding what your universe is like in terms of to what extent which strategy has gotten to that level of whatever the hell is happening. Who knows? It’s this giant thing. But I’m curious the contrast you see jumping into a data company selling data to data people. We live in a very dog food world all of a sudden here where it’s sort of like where I’m a marketer making a podcast for marketers. It’s been-


Ashley Cummings (20:07):

Yeah. So I mean, coming from my background, so like very clear that D & B has a ramp-up period. You don’t just start here. There’s just so much that we do as a company to help companies, small businesses, modern medium size businesses, and enterprise companies. So it’s not like a company you just day one, like at iHeart, where they handed me a phone book and said, “Good luck.” It was totally different coming here.


So my first couple days on the phone, they had given me a list of companies that used to use us before, and they’re like, “Yeah, here’s companies, their win-back campaigns that are showing a high propensity for purchasing again, whether that company is Google searching or intent data is spiking or they’re visiting our website a little bit more frequently.” Whatever it was, right? They’re like, “Work through these for a couple of days and then maybe we’ll get you some more.” I was so excited, and they’re like, “Nobody’s ever excited for these.” I was like, “What? You’re giving me a list of people and emails and a phone number of who I need to ask for?” I said, “Are you kidding me? This is gold to me. I just came from driving up and down 22 to the highway near our house. You’re giving me a list of people that are visiting our website?


Adam Kerpelman (21:18):

Right. Without fighting for the hot leads also?


Ashley Cummings (21:21):



Mark Richardson (21:21):

Imagine that, yeah.


Ashley Cummings (21:22):

This is the best thing that’s happened to me, you know?


Adam Kerpelman (21:25):

Glengarry Glen Ross stuff.


Ashley Cummings (21:28):

I remember the other people sitting near me like, “This girl isn’t going to last. She thinks these are good leads.” You know? They were staring at me because I was so excited about these 25 leads they gave me.


So just simply as simple as that, right? There was a propensity model based on their website analytics that this customer has been visiting our website, and not only that, they used us three years ago. Good enough for me. Why are they visiting our website? I’m going to call them. I’m not going to creep them out and say, “I know you visited our website. What’s up?” But just, “Hey, you guys used to use us. My job is to woo you. I just want to learn why you left and see what I can do to win you back.” But that’s a lot less awkward when we know that they’ve already been visiting us. There’s probably some interest, and they’ll probably pick up my phone call.


Adam Kerpelman (22:15):

So I have a question pivoting off of what you were just saying. Where do you think that line is on… So this is the funny thing about B2B sales in particular, I feel like in every marketing campaign pitch I keep being right on the line of saying, “Can we just all acknowledge the technology world that we live in now and just do the part where you tell them that, hey, I saw you visiting our website?”


Ashley Cummings (22:42):

So it’s funny because I have-


Adam Kerpelman (22:43):

We all know it’s happening here, right?


Ashley Cummings (22:44):

Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Richardson (22:46):

Can we cut the crap?


Adam Kerpelman (22:47):

[inaudible 00:22:48], you know? Yeah.


Ashley Cummings (22:49):

So I agree with you because there’s this email. So I’m a firm believer that if I’m going to sell someone, I’m going to drink that same champagne, right? So I use our data even when I am prospecting customers. So I have some cold prospecting emails that I send just to try to gain more leads because I’m super competitive. I just want to beat everybody, so I cold prospect and make time for it and I use it.


I actually say in the email that I send, I say, “According to our data, you guys are showing intent for sales acquisition. If this is exactly what you guys are trying to do, guess what? You’re in the right spot, and also you can use that same data to find your right customers at the right time.” Believe it or not, that’s just saying it and calling it out, “Hey, I used our data to find you, and I know that you’re looking for us,” they’re like, “You’re good. When do you want to talk?” That’s what emails I’ve gotten back, you know?


Adam Kerpelman (23:40):



Ashley Cummings (23:41):

For just random meetings. I’m like, oh, I sent that creepy email letting them know I was watching them and they scheduled a meeting with me.


Adam Kerpelman (23:48):

Well, what I love about that is it confirms what I keep wanting to try to figure out on our side from a digital marketing standpoint, which is can we get up to that same line where the ad literally says, “Hi Dave, if you’re wondering how we know it’s you it’s because we are using tools that you should also be using.”


Mark Richardson (24:07):

You would love this. It’s kind of like a Reese’s ad. It’s that Reese’s with Will Arnett where he is like, “Your devices are listening to your stomach. You’ve got this ad at this time.”


Ashley Cummings (24:21):

People get creeped out by it, you know? But I’m all for it. They’re like, “Oh, your phones are listening.” It’s like, cool. As long as they’re showing me where to buy the cheapest diapers at, I’m suitable for it. I don’t want to search on the internet for 10 minutes. Like, oh, a random all-inclusive trip to Hawaii? I’ve been thinking about going to Hawaii; hit me with it. I don’t care as long as it’s relevant to me and that it’s done at the right time.


Adam Kerpelman (24:47):

Here’s a question I ask people on here a lot. When’s the first time that you encountered an ad or whatever that caused you to have that experience of go? I remember the specific at least what the ad was for that caused me to go, oh, I’m not mad, I’m not mad that Facebook just made sure I saw this thing. Then that for me, is what cascades into, like, okay, now I understand the value proposition behind this social media stuff the kids are into.


Ashley Cummings (25:19):

Yeah. I don’t remember what the first one was, but before I started seeing them, I was already selling digital advertising. So I feel like I brushed over a lot of them, right?


Adam Kerpelman (25:32):

For sure.


Ashley Cummings (25:33):

When you’re in sales and you get those ads, it’s like, no, no, I was not looking up commercial batteries for forklifts. You know? I don’t care about seeing that ad, it’s just because I work companies and research them, okay? Don’t show me your ads. Don’t waste your impressions. Not interested.


Adam Kerpelman (25:48):

Yeah, so this is a perfect example though of how… So we often talk about the marketing utopia that we dream of that involves pushing through the awkwardness around the tracking data and stuff right now. That’s why they’re talking about passing laws. We just want to know about the stuff that we are actually interested in at the time when we would be interested in seeing that stuff and then nobody’s mad about the existence of advertising. They’re only mad when it’s intrusive.


But imagine your use case though, right? You’re Googling different companies all the time I would imagine to try to do research for your sales situation.


Ashley Cummings (26:29):



Adam Kerpelman (26:29):

So the fact that you see retargeting for those things is a failure in getting to that utopia because the existing algorithm or whatever you want to call it isn’t able to calibrate for, oh, this person works in sales, so we should discount a certain subset of stuff by cross-referencing these other data points and then say, “Okay, here’s what…” I guess I’m just describing the propensity model stuff.

Ashley Cummings (26:51):



Adam Kerpelman (26:52):

Data scientists can do this right now. It’s just not built into Facebook yet, I guess.


Ashley Cummings (26:56):

Yeah. It’s hard because a lot of companies, when I end up seeing them, I feel bad because it’s somebody I talk to because I’m looking at their website. So they’re doing retargeting; they’re not using data. Anyone who visits our website that doesn’t make a purchase, retarget them. Where really they should be using geographic data, right? Like your commercial battery retail store in Wisconsin, I’m in Pennsylvania; please do not respond with your intentions of retargeting me. So it’s, again, it’s layering additional data on to what they’re doing that they’re currently not. They probably think no one from Pennsylvania will see our ads. Well, I was on your website, Dave, so please add another.


Mark Richardson (27:39):

Show the right ads to the right segment, damn it.


Ashley Cummings (27:41):



Adam Kerpelman (27:42):

We’ve been talking about doing an ad campaign that’s just like a set of PSAs about all the misspent ad dollars out there trying to resell-


Adam Kerpelman (27:51):

… putters to middle-aged men who just bought that putter.


Ashley Cummings (27:56):

Yeah. No. But I think that would be good. I like the unique ones. You know, the unique digital ads that make you excited? Those are the ones that I like.


Mark Richardson (28:07):

The first digital ad that I can remember actually hooking me was for a festival called Mamby On The Beach in Chicago, and it’s because I’m a fan of Animal Collectives Facebook page and they were playing at the concert. I was like, oh, I’ve never heard of this festival before, but good on you guys for knowing a hardcore Animal Collective fan. I’ll go. Grabbed my girlfriend; I was like, “We’re going to Chicago.” You know?


That was great because I’d never heard of the festival. I think it’s closed down by now, which sucks. It was really fun. But at the time I was like, these guys did a really good launch campaign based around people’s affinities. The atmosphere was one of them. Milky Chance. So they were just leveraging all these social audiences to drive ticket sales. That’s probably not a novel concept now it’s probably standard practice, but at the time it was kind of like, whoa, that’s cool. Then Facebook lost much of its targeting power because of Cambridge Analytica, but we don’t need to go into that.


Adam Kerpelman (29:12):

That stuff though, probably won’t go away. They still know that you have liked those pages.


Mark Richardson (29:16):

Oh yeah. Yeah.


Adam Kerpelman (29:16):

I mean, it’s the same thing that happened to me. I got targeted with, it was like, there are still tickets available for Springsteen’s show tomorrow. I was like, I can make that happen and I’m glad you let me know. No other way I would’ve known that. I mean, maybe the radio is the place where I would go if I was trying to sell tickets that fast, still seats left for the show tomorrow. But the first time that happened on social and I went, ooh, they knew exactly to target me because I’ve liked Springsteen’s page or I just listed him as an interest at that point in Facebook’s.


Ashley Cummings (29:46):

Even with that, were you guys mad? It doesn’t seem like a mad scenario, it seems like I scored [inaudible 00:29:51].


Adam Kerpelman (29:50):

No, not at all.


Ashley Cummings (29:51):

That’s sweet.


Mark Richardson (29:53):

Yeah, exactly.


Adam Kerpelman (29:53):

The second time was even tighter. It was like, “There are still tickets available for Wicked at the theater right next to you in Hollywood right now.” I was like, I’m not doing anything.


Ashley Cummings (30:05):

I almost get more mad-


Adam Kerpelman (30:09):

So I went to Wicked alone.


Ashley Cummings (30:10):

I get more mad by the ads I see because they’re not using data, right? Like I see weird stuff and I’m like, this is offensive to me. I am not 95. I do not need that, okay?


Adam Kerpelman (30:22):



Ashley Cummings (30:22):

I’m offended.


Adam Kerpelman (30:23):

No, I talk about that all the time where I’m like, look, just because I’m watching Star Trek: The Next Generation at four o’clock on a Tuesday on cable doesn’t mean that I need arthritis medication yet.


Ashley Cummings (30:38):

Yeah. I just want to know what’s relevant to me.


Adam Kerpelman (30:40):

One day, but-


Ashley Cummings (30:40):

But I feel like that’s everybody, right? You want it to be relevant and you want it to be top of mind. Companies are trying to move to this all-digital realm and they say, “Oh, cold calling doesn’t work.” Cold calling does work if it’s done with thought.


Adam Kerpelman (30:53):



Ashley Cummings (30:53):

If it’s related back to something that they’re actually doing. Have you guys heard of this, people wanting video messages?


Mark Richardson (31:02):

Oh yeah. I mean, I would call that warm calling, but yeah.


Ashley Cummings (31:06):

[inaudible 00:31:06] those to try to see would that help.. I didn’t get any responses, but I was like, I’ll try it out. I only did it a couple times, so I don’t think I let it really give me a shot, but I thought you know what would make this better is if I put a unicorn head on and then did it. Because how can they not respond to that, you know? They have to. They have to be like, “That was good.”


Mark Richardson (31:26):

Ashley, you’re you’re cracking the enchantment. Hacking enchantment space.


Adam Kerpelman (31:31):



Mark Richardson (31:31):



Adam Kerpelman (31:31):

Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing about the… I guess it’s not a new message to anyone who has been listening to this podcast, but as digital does happen, it just turns everything that used to be local and, sort of what you’re talking about, it all still applies, it’s just through these other media channels. Then eventually, everybody goes, “Okay, well we’ll push our videos out through that too.”

Well, sales turn into you making prefab videos. Well, now everybody’s going to be making a video from their office, so now suddenly your background in your office matters or you need that software that replaces your background. But even then, if everybody has the software that replaces your background, you’re talking about exactly the right fight, which ends up being how do you stand out?


Mark Richardson (32:19):

That’s right. That’s right.


Adam Kerpelman (32:20):

Then part of that is being just stupid enough that people want to engage. It’s a novelty game is what it is, right?


Ashley Cummings (32:30):



Adam Kerpelman (32:30):

I mean, it has to be generally just silly enough or just compelling enough that people are like, “You know, I’ll bite. What’s the deal?”


Mark Richardson (32:39):

I mean, our best TikTok from Forrester was the one where we were doing stupid cornhole trick shots while I was doing a tripod headstand in the middle of the trade show floor. Did Salesforce do that? No. Who else was? Not to toot our own horns here, but we get it, do you know what I mean? How many people came by and started playing cornhole with us and started conversations about their tech stack-


Ashley Cummings (33:10):

Oh yeah. Yeah.


Mark Richardson (33:11):

… because they saw us doing something goofy?


Ashley Cummings (33:13):

People are busy in general. You guys have to know this statistic. Humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish. It’s like my favorite thing to tell people. So you literally have five seconds, because a goldfish’s attention span is six seconds. You have five seconds to make yourself interesting enough, make your ad content interest enough, or be just so specific that you’re making the right thing right off the bat that somebody wants to give you the five seconds you need longer to tell them why you’re reaching out. That’s all it takes.


So I agree it’s about being intentional and how do you stand out in a noisy place? Everyone’s niche, D & B’s niche, everyone’s niche that they do, everyone has their differences, but it’s irrelevant, you know? You’ve got to get in the door and be relevant to how you’re going to help a company specifically solve their needs and just be a good listener I feel like are the main things. Listening doesn’t have anything to do with data, but I bet there’s a statistic, the one that listens more sells more.


Mark Richardson (34:15):

Or even just how to take that next step. It’s just like you might not be ready for all of the things we offer, but by listening and actively identifying, okay, this is where you’re at, maybe you just got your series B, maybe you just got whatever, some VC funding, okay, you don’t have a team. It’s like what can I do to help solve the problem that’s right in front of you? Not all the problems that might occur in the next year or two. We’ll get to that. It’s about being able to listen and address, hey, what’s your biggest pain point? How can we work together to make life easier?


Adam Kerpelman (34:48):

We’ve gotten to a point with the efficacy of data and the accessibility of the tools to use it that on every level of the game I can make up a database solution that would help you. That’s part of the interesting challenge in D & B is because they’re used to these big enterprise contracts, at the same time they’re going, yeah, but there’s this bottom of the market thing where for a couple thousand bucks a month anyone could use the data. That’s the real new sort of emergent thing here that’s interesting, I guess, in that space.


Ashley Cummings (35:20):

No, I completely agree, because a small business space is like, “Oh, I can’t afford advertising. I can only do my newspaper on Sundays.” You know? It’s like, no, it’s not true.


Adam Kerpelman (35:29):



Ashley Cummings (35:29):

Listen to me.


Adam Kerpelman (35:30):

They’re like, “Okay, well I’ll just go to Facebook and do what Facebook tells me.” It’s like, that’s not true either.


Ashley Cummings (35:35):

[inaudible 00:35:35]. They were terrible.


Adam Kerpelman (35:38):



Ashley Cummings (35:38):

Don’t do that.


Adam Kerpelman (35:38):



Ashley Cummings (35:39):

Yeah, so I agrees. It’s more so focusing on how you help enterprise companies go for it, but you don’t need to be like the Walmarts. iHeartRadio, a very big company, still handed me a phone book. So there is ways to can incorporate no matter what size company you are ways to improve and make your sales time more efficient.


My biggest downtime or pet peeve as a sales rep, anywhere I am, is wasted time or time doing nothing. That’s not why you hire a sales rep, right? Watch our TikTok on the NetWise Instagram page? That’s not why they pay you to do that all day. But-


Adam Kerpelman (36:21):

It might be if you’re in my [inaudible 00:36:22].


Mark Richardson (36:22):

It might be.


Adam Kerpelman (36:23):



Mark Richardson (36:23):

If you’re on the Salesforce team.


Adam Kerpelman (36:25):

If you’re on the marketing [inaudible 00:36:25].


Ashley Cummings (36:26):

Mark is lucky, but that’s why he got to do all that not fun stuff.


Mark Richardson (36:30):

Just as we’re bringing this thing, landing this plane here, what would you say, as our a is comprised of a lot business leaders, marketing folks, agency folks, just to bring some sanity to everybody’s job, what would you say is the most common pain point or use case you hear on the phone when you’re talking to clients or leads?


Ashley Cummings (36:53):

Well, I think that everyone’s first reaction is like, “Oh, I need more leads for my sales team,” when really like, the question is, okay, well how many people even fit what you guys do? How do we understand who that total addressable market is and then out of that, it’s still probably hundreds of thousands, right? Who’s actually interested in hearing from you? I’m sure the last person your sales rep wants to do or SDR rep wants to call a hundred people and not hear back from anybody. Right?


So I think that’s more the bigger question. It’s more companies moving away from, “I just want to buy a lead list and call through it and have outdated data in a month. I want to be very targeted with intent and with propensity modeling to be crystal clear with customers.” It’s the start of your interaction with that customer. I think that’s what’s important to identify.


I don’t want to email this person for the next three months and they’re like, block, and now when they are interested, I can’t even talk with them. So I think that’s the bigger question. Everyone says they want leads, “I want a lead list,” it’s what most companies are coming in for, it’s not what they’re actually trying to do once we start having a conversation.


Adam Kerpelman (37:59):

Sweet. Well that feels like as good a place as any to wrap it up. Thanks for joining us.


Ashley Cummings (38:05):

Thank you, guys.


Adam Kerpelman (38:05):

Ashley, this is great. Usually we have people on here who have books to promote and stuff, so this is the part where I would say, “Where can people find you?” But it sounds like maybe LinkedIn if they want to talk to you about how D & B can-


Ashley Cummings (38:15):

You can probably find some videos of me at smashpotatoes22. So if they could do, that’s my sole function. Playing some roller derby.


Adam Kerpelman (38:25):

Good stuff.


Mark Richardson (38:27):

We’ve got to do a breakdown of all of the positions and the way that roller derby functions, because I think there’s a marketing and creativity analogy to be made.


Adam Kerpelman (38:35):

Yeah, there’s a slingshot analogy there somewhere.


Mark Richardson (38:38):

Yeah, exactly.


Adam Kerpelman (38:38):

Drafting is important.


Yeah, well thank you for joining us and thank you to everyone else for listening to another episode of the Data Driven Marketer. I’m Adam.


Mark Richardson (38:52):

I’m Mark.


Ashley Cummings (38:53):

I’m Ashley.


Adam Kerpelman (38:54):

Take it easy, everybody.


Mark Richardson (38:59):

Thanks for listening to the Data-Driven Marketer. Our show is produced by Jessica Jacobson and Dan Salcius. This episode was edited by Steve Kosch. The Data-Driven Marketer is sponsored by NetWise, a Dunn & Bradstreet company. Any views or opinions expressed in this episode do not represent the views or opinions of NetWise or Dun & Bradstreet.


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