The Revenue Engine

Data as a Strategic Asset with Mark Feldman, CEO and Co-Founder at RevenueBase

June 24, 2022

The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

Having the right data is critical to every single part of your business, especially when it comes to revenue growth. In this episode of The Revenue Engine Podcast, Mark Feldman, the CEO and Co-Founder of RevenueBase.

RevenueBase is a B2B Revenue Database as a service - a one-stop solution that delivers a complete and accurate revenue database for Marketing and Sales.

Mark and Rosalyn discuss why companies need to stop treating their data as a commodity and start treating it as a strategic asset. They also discuss what organizations should be thinking about when it comes to acquiring, maintaining, and leveraging data. Because who doesn’t want the right data at the right time to help power The Revenue Engine?


Connect with Mark on LinkedIn, or at

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The opinions expressed in this episode are the speaker's own and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Sales IQ or any sponsors.

Rosalyn Santa Elena
Host @ Revenue Engine Podcast + Founder & Chief Revenue Operations Officer @ The RevOps Collective.
Mark Feldman
Co-founder @ RevenueBase

[00:00:00] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the Revenue Engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena, and I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators, and disruptors, revenue leaders in sales, in marketing, and of course in operations. Together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine. Are you ready? Let's get to it.

We all know how important having the right data is to every single part of your business, especially when it comes to revenue. So why do so many companies treat data as a commodity versus a strategic asset.

[00:00:50] Sponsor: Today's podcast is sponsored by Outreach is the first and only engagement and intelligence platform built by revenue innovators, for revenue innovators. Outreach allows you to commit to an accurate sales forecast, replace manual processes with real-time guidance, and unlock actionable customer intelligence that guides you and your team to win more often. Traditional tools don't work in a hybrid sales world. Find out why Outreach is the right solution at

[00:01:29] Rosalyn Santa Elena: In this episode of the podcast, I'm joined by Mark Feldman, the CEO and Co-Founder of RevenueBase. RevenueBase is a B2B revenue database as a service, a one stop solution that delivers a complete and accurate revenue database for marketing and for sales, mark shares, what organizations should be thinking about when it comes to maintaining and leveraging data, because who doesn't want the right data at the right time.

So please take a listen and learn more about the dos and the don't when it comes to having the right data at the right time and for the right purpose.

So excited to be here today with Mark Feldman, the CEO and Co-Founder of RevenueBase. For those of you who may not be familiar with RevenueBase RevenueBase is a B2B revenue database as a service. A one stop solution that delivers a complete and accurate revenue database for marketing and for sales.

So welcome Mark, and thank you so much for joining me. I'm excited to learn more about you and about what you're building.

[00:02:37] Mark Feldman: Well, thank you Rosalyn for having me. And also more importantly, thank you for putting this podcast together, it's really It's really super helpful for people in our field. So thank you.

[00:02:49] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. So, so I guess before we dive in let's talk a little bit about your career journey. You know, you've had a really long, impressive, very impressive career in various leadership roles in marketing, and I saw you even did revenue operations, which obviously is a passion point for me.

Can you share more, maybe more about your background and talk about your journey prior to revenue?

[00:03:10] Mark Feldman: Yeah, absolutely. So I started my B2B marketing career at net prospects. We were one of the first email list companies along with jigsaw and zoom info. I was the fifth employee there and I was originally head of product, head of marketing.

We were acquired by Dunn and Bradstreet. And one of the things that I really loved doing there. Was really like figuring out how to do outbound marketing and then taking those practices and really like teaching the industry how to do outbound at scale. So that, that was really fun. and we were acquired by Dunn Brad street.

I was then head of marketing and I was then also head of demand gen. And I always like gravitated towards data. I just loved data and the structure and how it like organizes the world in some ways, but also how. It's it's so complicated and there's just so much noise. And just being able to kind of zero in and find the right information in there.

And to communicate that to people is just, was always really fun. So sort of through my career, I gravitated towards revenue operations and my last role. Before starting net prospects was ahead of revenue operations at a software company in Boston.

[00:04:31] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it, got it. I love that. And, and revenue, operations touches so much of the data, right.

So I can definitely see the, the bridge there. You know, more often than not, when I talk to founders, right. An idea for business starts with a problem. Right. There's some problem, there's a challenge or some frustration, right. Something to solve, which then leads to an idea and ultimately to a company.

So it sounds like that might have been the case with RevenueBase, but was it, you know, what led you and your co-founder to start the company last year in 2021?

[00:05:02] Mark Feldman: So, so the journey actually started right before net prospects in 2007 I was consulting for. A company that wanted me to help them sell their product to the airline industry.

And I did not know anybody who worked in the airline industry and I stumbled on net prospects where I could download lists of email addresses. And I decided to download the email addresses for the CEOs of all the major airline. And I sent them all a really like personalized, cold outreach and much to my surprise.

I heard back from the chairman and CEO of American. Oh, wow. And applied with his head of baggage operations on copy . We ended up having a meeting and I did not get the sale, but I was, was just realized, oh my goodness, this is so powerful. So I went to net prospects, joined the company and helped build the business and really spent a lot of time.

Just learning about data. How to build databases, how to use them for marketing and sales, how to generate revenue. And when I was at local Lytics, sometime later, I realized that that data companies could be a lot better. We had a, a challenge for our, our target market. We're selling a mobile analytics solution to companies that monetize through their mobile product.

And. I went around to the data companies to try and find a list of companies that monetize through their mobile app. And not surprisingly, nobody has that list. it was pretty specific to local UX. So I figured out how to build that. and then Realize that a lot of companies have really similar problems like you were at Neo four J graph databases.

There's not like a checkbox in a data company's taxonomy. That's like needs a graph database. , it's more based on use case or what what problems somebody's looking to solve. It may be like maybe financial security for bank accounts or credit cards. So just realizing. That every business had a really specific problem like this

And I got together with my co-founder, who is really like a data expert and built the travel industry's first meta search engine has a lot of experience with data and entity, resolution and scraping, and we launched RevenueBase. Celebrated our one year anniversary and we really solved the problem for every business, like how to get that one extra filter that's related to their business.

We have a, a customer that, that has 3d CAD software and their target as any company that designs three dimensional products. So we found all 30,000 of. and as a data buyer through my career, I was always like really frustrated with data vendors. and nobody likes their data vendor let alone loves them.

and I thought also like, what would I want in a data vendor? and I spent a lot of time thinking about it and I created the data vendor. Really solves all the problems that I had. not just acquiring. The right companies and the right contacts, but eliminating a lot of the data management challenges.

So we have, we have access to over a hundred million businesses globally, seven to 800 million business decision makers. And we build a custom database for each customer based on their ideal customer profile that we really get to understand their target buyer persona. And we create a very accurate database of every company and person in the world and we keep it up to date and it has all those custom insights.

We pre bucket all of the contacts into our customer's personas. And you know, one of the things I also realized, and I think every. Listening knows is like industry S IIC codes are terrible. Nobody uses the company. Yep. So we use our technology to categorize every business into our customers industries.

So you could have a weird industry. One of our customers has an industry called blue lights. Oh. Which I learned is like emergency services in the UK. Okay. So they have a blue light industry. So that's what we, we do. We're really set, setting out to be the data company that people love.

[00:10:04] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh, I love that. I love that. I can, I can't imagine being able to actually find the, the blue light companies and being able to map all of that. It's amazing. So let's talk a little bit more about data. You've touched on quite a bit and obviously data is incredibly important to every business as you've touched on and getting the right data.

Right. I think that's the other, the other thing is everybody wants more data, but it's all about what are you gonna do with the data. But first let's maybe focus on buying data. Then I wanna shift to using the data. So I saw that you recently shared a LinkedIn post about three mistakes that you continue to see marketers make when it comes to buying data.

And you talked about, you know, one buying the cheapest price per contact. Two, not working with sales on targeting criteria. and three mixing the data in with dirty CRM data. And I can say that I've also seen all three being done at many different companies. So you, can you dive a bit deeper maybe into these three mistakes and you know, what are you seeing and maybe how can marketers do better?

[00:11:04] Mark Feldman: Absolutely. And I've made these mistakes also many, many times, so like, just to start with, I think that data is. A strategic asset. It can be a strategic asset for a business. And I think we've gotten so used to thinking of data as a commodity, as a list that you get and some leads and that, you know, in a large part is part of the, what we created at net prospects is that mentality.

So really. Data, your database should be an asset for your business. It should be always the right companies, the right people that exist to buy your product. So we, we call our product a revenue database as a service, because it's really like all the people in the world and all the companies that have a need and will pay you money for your product.

So when you buy the cheapest, you're really. The, the whole fallacy is like, you're getting you're saving money, but really the you're you're just getting volume and it might not be the right people, the right contacts. So you end up really spraying and praying and you reach a lot of the wrong people.

You get caught in spam filters. People are turned off by it. it's really about buying the right companies and the right contacts. That is, that's really how I think everybody should think about data. The second thing is, is about the targeting criteria. And with the way RevenueBase encourages our customers, which are B2B sales and marketing teams to think about data is really your database should be the foundation or the asset underneath sales and marketing together.

it should be a common. Asset that both sales and marketing work together. So when we work with a new customer, when they come on board, we spend time doing a discovery workshop with sales and marketing together. And we talk about what good looks like, where we're gonna close deals, where they're not gonna close deals.

[00:13:19] Mark Feldman: And we sometimes learn like marketing may be buying contacts for a persona like procurement and sales will say, you know what? We haven't targeted procurement in four years. And there's so many disconnects. And when. You have sales and marketing, buying a database together. When it's one, one business buying the data.

When it's us, it's a forcing function to get everybody on the same page of the audience that we wanna, that we wanna engage with. And then the third part about mixing the data in with 30 CRM data. This is like, Your CRM system should not be a dump. It should not be a garbage dump or you bring a list.

throw it in. You have your your entry level BDR going into a, a data tool. And, and now they're in charge of your. Targeting criteria for your business. And then somebody in sales throws some contacts in, they leave the company, stand up with this mess and that mess then is now powering your demand gen and your cross selling.

[00:14:29] Mark Feldman: That's that's terrible. So so our approach is really different. We, we figure out with our customers or they tell us. The good companies, the good contacts look like, and we go out and we find really like, you should have every single ideal customer. Like your whole Tam should be in your database should be kept up to date and you can ignore everything else.

So no matter like what you do you wanna have a. Database. You wanna know who's in your ideal customer profile, who are your target personas and, and who aren't.

[00:15:03] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Yep. Gosh, that's like music to my ears. You're you're, you're saying all the things I feel like I'm always on my soapbox, just kind of preaching.

It's like, you know, we really wanna be able to get the right information, the right data, the right, you know, data points in our systems. But yeah, it sounds, it's funny because it's very It's very foundational and it seems logical, but so many companies, you know, just because of whatever factors just don't do that.

So let's talk a little bit more about using the data. So data, you know, it's an abundance, there's so much data, like you said, there's so many, you could go buy lists of all kinds of different information, but that, you know, but yet I think everyone is always trying to get their hands on that more meaningful data that you talked about, right.

The real data that they need to help their business, you know, reach and engage with the right prospects. And then you touched on this a little bit already, but maybe are there, are they the other things that you might share around, you know, what you're seeing companies doing right. Versus doing wrong when it comes to this data enrichment.

And then I guess more importantly, how they apply the data to their marketing efforts.

[00:16:07] Mark Feldman: Yeah. And let me tell you a story. We, we closed our seed funding a couple of weeks ago and

[00:16:14] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh, congratulations.

[00:16:15] Mark Feldman: Thank, thank you. We're really excited. And within hours of closing I got a. Called email from a salesperson at Salesforce, and it was super personalized.

It really resonated. He said, congrats on your funding. I see you're using HubSpot. Congratulations on becoming part of the Bester portfolio. You may not be aware, but the almost all of besemer's portfolio companies use Salesforce. It's really easy to migrate. And as an early stage company with one salesperson, you, you wanna ideally get best practices and build today.

Cuz it's harder to change later. And I was like, wow, that he really like hit all the right notes. So I, I called him back and I said like, how did his name was mark? I said, mark, where did you. Where did you get all this data? I'm like, how did you know all this? And he said, well, I saw your funding. And I spent an hour doing some research on all these things, and I sent you an email and I was like, totally blown away.

And it, and it worked . So I, I think really data is about using it to engage with your prospects, the right prospects in a, in a way that's gonna resonate with them and say things that are relevant. That's the right way to do it. The wrong way is really just open your spam folder. And I'm just looking at mine now.

And just this morning at 30 messages in my spam folder, all from probably customers of legacy, B2B data companies that just batch and, and blast. And when the conversion rates are just going down and down and down and down and, and they're, you know, like 0.02% conversion now. And. Can you just imagine like a company, a data company selling a product that works only 0.02% of the time. It's it's really ridiculous. And I think B2B marketing is gonna die if we don't fix that.

[00:18:19] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. That's absolutely true. I think I was just opening up my span folder to see what's in there. So when it comes to data, you know, the other aspect of data is, you know, it's really, it's really difficult to maintain the accurate data.

Right. And then keep it accurate. You know, one of the things I, I, I think I preach probably a lot is about having this data strategy. Right. And I surprisingly, whenever I ask this question of, you know, do you have a data strategy? I would say, you know, eight to nine times outta 10, the answer is no. Or I even get the question of what do you mean by a data strategy?

Right. And I said, I think, you know, folks have this mix of data from multiple sources sitting in multiple disparate systems. And I saw on a blog that you wrote late last year in December. You talk about treating your B2B database as a strategic asset, right. And you touched on that a little bit earlier in our conversation as well versus a commodity, you said and you also talk about prioritizing.

So maybe can you D dive a little bit deeper here and just tell me, you know, what does this mean to you? And then maybe share some advice or maybe practical tips that you have for, you know, other leaders on how they can make improvements to their data, even things that they might be able to start today.

[00:19:32] Mark Feldman: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. The thing that I learned that's really key is that it is much harder, like a hundred times harder to clean up and fix dirty data. Than it is to just get the right data. So if you're sitting there right now saying, you know, my data is really dirty, it's not working. I wanna clean it up.

My advice is to just build a new database and drop it down on top and whatever companies or contacts that, that match you update with with the new and anything that that's not matching. You just ignore. That's, that's my advice. It's just so much faster and easier to build something that's good and to ignore everything else in your database.

[00:20:22] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. I know. There's lots of times I wanna just kind of hit that reset button. you just wanna kind of clear everything and get that out of box functionality outta your tools.

[00:20:32] Mark Feldman: Yeah, do it, do

[00:20:32] Rosalyn Santa Elena: So you mentioned your seed round. So again, congratulations seed round in April of this year. So for exciting. For you and your team and also for your customers, right. And the possibilities for, you know, prospects for people who are thinking about, you know, making this move, what are the next steps for RevenueBase? You know, how are you thinking about the product and the solution?

[00:20:52] Mark Feldman: Yeah, so we, we launched an MVP a year ago. and it just took off much faster than I expected. And I say we, it was really me and a, a part-time co-founder . So with the funding, we have increased the size of the team from one to 15 and we'll grow to 20 by the end of the year, but we're really going back and building the product and the customer facing UI.

And just going back and doing a lot of the, the infrastructure work that we didn't get to as sales were going so fast and then we're investing in sales and wanna bring RevenueBased to more and more customers so that they can get the benefits.

[00:21:33] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Love that. I love that. So while as I think about the revenue engine, you know, in this podcast, I always tell folks, I hope others will be able to learn, right.

Learn how to accelerate revenue growth and then power the revenue engine. Yep. So from your perspective, you know, what are the top, maybe two or three things that you think, you know, all revenue leaders should really be thinking about today that will really help drive revenue growth.

[00:21:56] Mark Feldman: Yeah. And, and with revenue leaders, especially in marketing, changing jobs, every whatever 18 months or every 18 hours you need to find things that are really that are really like quick wins.

And just like the, the guy mark from Salesforce sent me a really personalized message. Something you can do. So really right away is just send out much smaller micro campaigns that are super high quality, highly targeted. They will make a big impact really. Stop the batch batch and blast or spray and pray because that doesn't work.

[00:22:34] Mark Feldman: So you, you can find small parts of the database that represent prospects with one use case and write them more personalized emails, do omnichannel marketing or online ads. With copy. That's, that's really targeted to, to a small niche. I think that is the fastest, most impactful way to get revenue in the short term.

I think that that is, that is a really high impact thing you can do. I, I also think that there's a lot that you can do with with digital marketing. Today you can. Do online advertising, you can use so many different channels and and bring in a lot of people to your website and, and to your inbound, who will hopefully come through the funnel.

[00:23:23] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. Got it. That's great advice. I love that. So as a CEO now and founder, You know, what advice do you have maybe for other CEOs or folks who are thinking about starting their own business?

[00:23:34] Mark Feldman: So I think starting a business is a, for some people it's a really natural motion for me. I was scared to death about doing it. So what I did to de-risk it was to start selling a product before I launched the company. So that did a couple of things. One is that what I thought was a great product was maybe like 60%. Right. And getting people to pay money. For your product really, really forces you to evolve the product, change it, update it in a way that is gonna have product market fit

And today RevenueBase has tremendous product market fit. We have more inbound leads, then we can handle we're bottlenecked and We're working to fix that, but what really attracted our investors and we have some, we're really lucky to have some amazing investors was the product market fit and the happy customers.

And if you have that, like you can't fail. And you have optionality too. You can stay boots strapped like we were, or you can raise money and double down, but you have those options. and I think that that makes your life a lot easier. So I think just to sum that up is build a product that solves a problem but try to get customers before you really you really launch the business and kind of go out on your own and you know, keep your customers happy as well.

[00:25:10] Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's great advice. I love that. That's really good advice. Thank you for sharing that. So, thank you so much for joining me. But as we wrap up and before I let you go, I always ask two questions of every guest. One, what is the one thing about mark that others would be surprised to learn? And two, what is the one thing that you want everyone to know about you?

[00:25:33] Mark Feldman: Sure. I think one thing that people might be surprised as a, as a founder, as, as a person who's leading a team and, and all that is that I have spent a lot of time. My adult life, just, just managing depression and mental health.

[00:25:51] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh wow.

[00:25:51] Mark Feldman: And I've done a lot of work with, with myself, getting to understand myself better and with a therapist and, you know, seems to have worked well, but it's, it's really like ongoing work.

And like today I'm successful in doing what I love doing, but it was definitely a lo a long journey to, to get here. So maybe longer than a, a lot of other founders. So so you may see founders CEOs that look really successful that are on top of the world, but just know they're, they're like regular people, they have the same challenges, problems that, that everybody else has.

[00:26:32] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh, I love that. Thank you for sharing that. That's very, very powerful. And I think that would definitely resonate with a lot of the audience and it resonates with everyone. Right? I think especially. You know, we talk a lot about, you know, mental health with the pandemic in the last few years, but it's been an ongoing problem, you know, it's, it's amazing to see much more awareness and folks, you know, discussing it more openly, but it's not new. Right. It's not something that has just come up. So thank you for sharing that.

[00:27:00] Mark Feldman: No, it's something. Yeah, people are ashamed, you know, I was ashamed about it and didn't want people to know, but it is it's just a reality. Everybody has their own unique situations and challenges and things that are going well. And it is, it's nothing to be ashamed about.

[00:27:19] Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's right. That's right. Thank you. What about the one thing you want everyone to know about you? Or maybe, maybe that's the same thing. Yeah.

[00:27:26] Mark Feldman: That I, I really don't have something that I want everybody to, to know about me. It it's really, you know, get to know me. I love love conversations about data, revenue, life. So I'm open to everything. Maybe one one thing that's a little quirky is I, I actually love to roast coffee, so I love drinking coffee and you know, being a data person, I was like you know, go down to unravel the onion or go down to first principles and see how this coffee's actually made.

[00:28:00] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh, wow.

[00:28:00] Mark Feldman: So I buy. Of locally you know, single origin. Coffee from different farms. I roast it. There's it's, it's really not that hard. You can use a popcorn popper to roast it. But the, the way you roast it and where your beans come from makes makes a huge difference. And it's a lot of fun.

[00:28:18] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh, wow. Wow. I'm I'm like one of those people that just orders like regular coffee, or even use like a K cup. So now now I'm oh yeah, yeah.

I'm I definitely drink a lot of coffee, but I am definitely not a coffee connoisseur, or any type of you know, any type of intellect around coffee.

[00:28:37] Mark Feldman: That's okay. I like you anyway.

[00:28:41] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Okay. Perfect. I'm still no downgrading my my status with you. So thank you so much, Mark for joining me, I just, I really appreciate just your transparency and your, you know, sharing of all of your expertise and your knowledge. And, you know, very often times when I record when we do one of these and I have a guest appear, I just like, I can't wait to go back and listen to the recording because I think that there's just so many.

So many really great tips and advice that you drop sort of drops of knowledge. So I really do appreciate your time. And again, I can't wait to go back and listen to our episode as well. So thank you.

[00:29:17] Mark Feldman: So my pleasure, and thank you so much for the work and love you put into this podcast. It really is, is helpful for a lot of people.

[00:29:25] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you, Mark.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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