How to Change Data Providers: 5 Things You Can Do for Success

If you’ve ever gone through the process of bringing a new software or data platform onboard at your firm, you already know what a time-consuming process it can be. This is especially true if you already have something in place that works well enough. 

You might start to wonder, why rock the boat when your current solution is working just fine? 

Well, because 99% of the time, there is something better than “just fine” out there that could be making your life easier.

It may seem like a classic case of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” but chances are, complacency has set in and there is a better alternative out there. If you’ve already found that new and improved data platform and you’re wondering where to start with approaching your teammates and decision makers, don’t worry, you’re not alone. 

As a data provider ourselves, we know just how hard it can be to get a new system across the finish line and implemented. But we’ve heard time and again from our users that switching to Dakota Marketplace was like a breath of fresh air when it comes to data cleanliness, ease of use, and more. 

In this article, we’re outlining five things you can start doing now, so that when it comes time to make the switch you want, you’re prepped and ready to go, with all your ducks in a row. 

The five things we’ll be covering in this article include:

  • Being mindful of auto-renewals
  • Asking to talk to references
  • Requesting and using free trials  
  • Getting internal support 
  • Understanding your CRM capabilities

1. Be mindful of auto-renewals 

It may feel obvious to point this out, but there’s nothing worse than getting trapped into an auto-renewal you lost track of, then getting stuck with a platform you don’t really want or use for another year.

Sure, it’s embarrassing and a little sad that people are held to auto-renewals, but the fact is that it happens every day, and there’s little you can do once that date has passed. 

What you can do, though? Be mindful of what the date is, set a calendar reminder for a month/week before, and really take the time to evaluate if this system is what you want and need. 

As yourself if your solution is:

  • Updated regularly?
  • Easy to use?
  • Making your day easier?
  • Helping you book more meetings and grow your business?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, mark that date on your calendar and start making plans for an alternate solution well in advance of your renewal date.

2. Ask to talk to references 

Change is not just scary, it’s risky. If you’re the one pushing for a new system and people don’t like it, or it doesn’t work, you’ll feel responsible. That means it’s important to make sure it’s really the right fit for you, your team, and your firm. 

Our recommendation? Ask to talk to the current users of the platform. At Dakota, we’re happy to connect prospective members with current members so you can hear directly from your peers why it’s working for them. 

If any system is as good as they’re probably claiming to be online, they’ll be happy to do the same. 

How do you go about this? Ask the provider you’re considering to provide you with 1-2 references of similar style firms so you can best understand how they’ve leveraged it, their experiences with it, etc.

It's one thing to hear a pitch from a provider, but it’s completely different to hear a real example from a peer. 

3. Request and make the most of free trials 

This is an important one, and while we know everyone has a packed schedule, requesting and then really getting to use a free trial of your new platform can make a world of difference. 

In our experience, if you dedicate up to three hours and use the platform as if you’re going to a city and prospecting, you’ll know for sure whether or not it’s for you. 

Don’t judge a platform on a cursory walk through based on one account

Instead, base your analysis on 10-20 accounts. Let’s face it: no database provider is going to be 100% perfect with the amount of turnover in this industry, but look at the information on a solid handful of firms across the country and evaluate from there. 

4. Get your internal support system on board

If you’re the one pushing for a new system, you likely already know what makes it great and different from what you have now. Now it’s time to get the rest of your team on board. 

This means understanding:

  • What the solution provides across different datasets
  • What you’re currently subscribed to 
  • Where you need gaps filled. 

Make sure that the key stakeholders within the different groups across the company know this information, and that insights gained throughout any free trials are understood and shared across the board. 

In this case it really is the more the merrier, because the more people who know about the new solution, the less convincing you’ll have to do down the line. 

5. Fully understand your CRM needs and integration capabilities

In order for your team to get the most out of a data solution it’s imperative to have it centralized in your CRM.

However, we know from experience that every provider is not created equally in this area. Some providers do a great job integrating with CRMS like Salesforce, Hubspot, Dynamo, etc., but not all of them, and what’s more, they all look different, and vary in terms of ease of use. 

When you’re asking questions to your potential new provider, make sure you ask early on what their integration process looks like and how it works to avoid surprises down the line. Let your data provider work for you 

At the end of the day, the goal of a data solution is to make your life easier, so you’re not hunting down contact information, firm names, etc. all over the internet, only to send an email to someone who moved jobs six months ago. 

We’ve been there. It’s incredibly frustrating. 

Again, ask yourself these questions about your data platform. Is it:

  • Updated regularly?
  • Easy to use?
  • Making your day easier?
  • Helping you book more meetings and grow your business?

If the answer is no, it might be time to make a switch.

Follow the tips above as you explore your options. If Dakota Marketplace is on your list, we’d be happy to offer you a free trial of the platform, offer a reference, and answer any questions you might have ahead of time. 

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Written By: Gui Costin, Founder, CEO

Gui Costin is the Founder and CEO of Dakota.