Using Contact Data to Increase Sales in the Metro Vancouver Market Post-COVID-19

This article describes using data to prospect potential clients using Statistics Canada data and information from a company directory called “Data Axle” for the Metro Vancouver area. The same type of information can be found for Metro Victoria (Capital) area and Metro Kelowna (Central Okanagan) by contacting Mark Eversfield at [email protected].

To support entrepreneurs starting and growing their businesses, Small Business BC helps provide prospects for business-to-business (B2B) sales.

Entrepreneurs can use a prospect list as a lead generation tool to identify potential new customers. These lists can provide details on the company staff of a potential client, the number of employees, the lines of their business, the number of years the company has been listed in the database, and their website. It encompasses much more than a simple Google search.

Looking for Leads in Databases

Accounting, law firms, bookkeeping, marketing, technology companies, and consultants can all benefit from these lists because their specialty does not restrict them. Every business needs accounting, legal, bookkeeping, and consulting services. A limited sample below provides some of the types of information on environmental consulting companies:A graph displays business information including company names and mailing addresses.Once entrepreneurs discover this resource, the first step is to filter out which business to focus on. There are hundreds of business types to choose from. Which ones should you select? The best place to start is with business groups that are growing. This is where Statistics Canada can help us focus on those groups through a dataset called the “Business Register” that tracks businesses over time by the number of employees, their type of business, and where their businesses are located.

In this article, we will look at Metro Vancouver’s top growth business groups. If you want further information on the full list of business groups that are growing or shrinking, or you would like to analyze other parts of BC,  you can contact Small Business BC’s Market Research Analyst, Mark Eversfield, at [email protected]. This list will maximize your results for the time spent searching for new customers.

The time periods that you choose to determine the growth are also important, especially regarding the impact of COVID-19. The Business Register publishes data twice yearly, once in December and once in June.

The strategy for this article is to use data that reflects conditions in post-pandemic Metro Vancouver. By June 2022, business statistics had normalized, and we will use it as a base year. June 2023 will be a reference year to look at the business trends a year after the pandemic.

With this in mind, let’s have a look at the top businesses that grew in number in the first year into the post-pandemic period.

Growing Businesses in Metro Vancouver

For Metro Vancouver, the table below shows growth in the number of businesses with employees at their location. The largest growth for this period in the Metro Vancouver area came in “Full Service Restaurants” which includes those restaurants that serve food while patrons are seated.

This industry grew by 141 locations to reach 3,558 locations by June 2023, a four percent increase over the year. Some might think these are pandemic shut-downs reopening, but this number is 35% greater than the pre-pandemic number of these businesses. The increasing population of the Metro Vancouver area, a quarter million since pre-pandemic 2019, is driving the growth of many businesses.

The next step in pursuing prospects is to obtain a list of companies in the “Full-Service Restaurant” industry for Metro Vancouver. We turn to a business directory database called “Data Axle,” which collects voluntary data on businesses. Unfortunately, not all businesses will volunteer their information, so many businesses are not in this database.

With this in mind, there are 3,672 independent restaurants in the Axle database for Metro Vancouver, with a limited sample of this search below. These lists include information on the number of employees, years in the database, phone number, website, estimated sales, and other lines of business. These different fields can then sort the data. There is a fee for these lists based on the number of companies you want. You can filter these companies by those with the owners listed and by the number of employees, say five to nine. This would reduce the number of businesses to 655 and a cost of $230, purchased through Small Business BC.

The next step in pursuing prospects is to Google the company and the person listed in the directory to get as much information as possible and also set a Google Alert on the company and person to gather information over time to prepare for a “cold contact”, phone numbers are also included in this file.

These steps will help you increase returns on your time invested by targeting companies in a growing industry group when searching for potential clients. If you have questions about this strategy or would like this type of information on other areas of BC, you can contact Small Business BC’s Market Research Analyst, Mark Eversfield at [email protected].

Small Business BC is Here to Help

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.