Data has become part of the “unique DNA” of Matchboard, an online platform that matches buyers and suppliers of business services.
Founded in 2012, Matchboard has developed proprietary technology to power a business-to-business matching platform similar to an online dating service.
Thanks to the sheer volume of data the service collects, Matchboard has been able to track market trends and evolve its product to respond to unmet demand.
“We are able to get enough insights to then make smart decisions about what products and services the market wants and where there are gaps,” Sharon Melamed, Matchboard founder and Managing Director, told Which-50.
“Matchboard collects around 100 data points per supplier in its ecosystem (and we have hundreds of vetted suppliers), and we have data from the buy-side, which shows purchasing trends by product/service, location, budget or volumes, and industry, just as a start.
“We have amassed enough data now to be able to show market trends in Australia beyond the data many analysts have access to.”
In order to balance supply and demand within the marketplace Matchboard has introduced new products and service categories.
“There are definitely segments of the markets that are not being addressed and we are in a unique position to spot those through all the data we are collecting.
“We analyse these ‘other’ requests, and once the demand for a particular product or service becomes real, we add it in as a new category. Our Digital and Data categories started that way a year after we launched,” Melamed said.
Data insights are used to grow the marketplace and refine search filters available for buyers.
“We need to be acutely aware of trends in buyer demand so we can build our supplier ecosystem to balance the demand with supply. For example, we saw that some clients were starting to request Fiji as a destination to outsource contact centre and back office services, so we increased our supplier base in that geography threefold,” Melamed said.
Matchboard issues a quarterly update to its suppliers which identifies these under-served segments as opportunities for suppliers willing to address them.
The marketplace also tracks and analyses the ratio of buyer requests to closed deals, and then closely examines the deals that weren’t closed.
“We do this through post-request surveys and informal discussions. What amazes me from this analysis is that there are a lot of salespeople who just aren’t responsive – our KPI is that suppliers should contact the matched buyer within 24 hours, yet a not insignificant number of suppliers fail this test. The market wants and expects speed, and anything less reduces conversion rates,” she said.
The Right Data
Melamed said she believes the more data the company has, the more value it has. But there’s two kinds of data businesses should always pay attention to: customer requests and financial metrics.
“You can slice and dice the data so many ways but the important data relates to what customers are saying they want. It is absolutely critical to any business to really focus data insights around that. The second is financial metrics,” she said.
Matchboard examines conversion rates in terms of which suppliers can’t close deals and which categories have higher conversion rates or deliver a higher return.