Data Clinic: How to buy ... the best B2B data

When choosing a list owner for your B2B marketing needs be wary of its credentials, and ask the right questions.

The business-to-business data marketplace is evolving fast. One of the drivers for this is the increasingly fickle employment marketplace, which means it is becoming difficult for B2B list owners to keep data clean and up-to-date.

Another issue is the continued trend in many companies of devolving key purchasing responsibilities from the managing director to others. Gone are the days of implementing a successful B2B campaign just by targeting the MD. List owners must now have the contact information on these various other decision makers.

Here are some points you should bear in mind when sourcing the relevant B2B data for your needs.

Select a business list owner with a reputation and track record in providing very clean and up-to-date lists, and one that has the procedures in place to ensure their list(s) are as up to date as possible. In particular, it must be a data provider that has very in-depth business data.

Following on from this, B2B marketers should choose list owners that provide the appropriate niche business lists for their campaign needs. Such list owners are more likely to invest heavily in regularly updating their niche lists, and go that extra mile in sourcing in-depth data on businesses and the decision makers within them.

This ensures the buyers have the appropriate contact details and insight to implement a campaign that will really maximise return on investment. In my opinion, those data providers offering large business lists simply cannot dedicate the same resources to validation as the providers of smaller, niche lists do.

B2B list buyers should only purchase from list owners who offer a guarantee to refund all goneaways, not just "we'll charge you less when you next use our list". The strength of their guarantee will inform the buyer a lot about the list owner's confidence in its own data. The strength of the guarantee is, quite frankly, a better litmus test for the list buyer on the accuracy of the data than basing the decision to purchase a database entirely on whether the list features on the Direct Marketing Association's Business List Audit.

The list owner must be happy to provide data at little or no cost to test. Such an undertaking will demonstrate their confidence in the data.

Does the list owner provide the facility for you to easily download online bespoke mailing lists quickly and easily? There is the no excuse for list owners not having this option in this day and age.

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