06 March 2015 Category: How to Guides

A clean, accurately targeted and relevant list is a critical factor in the success of any marketing campaign. A poor quality list with out of date contact information that doesn’t match your target prospect not only wastes budget but also diverts time and resources from more productive activities. A reliable set of data with up-to-date contact details that meet your criteria will maximise the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and provide your sales team with well qualified leads that convert easily. If you are considering purchasing B2B data for any sort of campaign, whether email, direct mail, telemarketing or other, these are our top tips for sourcing data.

Target Prospect Profile - which contacts you want to reach and why?

Data can be expensive and, as with everything, it is important to know exactly what you need, before parting with your money. A solid campaign brief is a good foundation for any data purchase because it should capture:

  • Job titles - which contacts do you want to reach?
  • SIC Codes - which industries/sectors?
  • Turnover/Number of Employees – what size of business: SME, Enterprise?
  • Which sites – head offices or multiple sites?
  • Geography–UK, or a selected geography based on postcode/other criteria?

There are an overwhelming number of data providers. Having a clear profile for your target audience, will help you avoid wasting money on data, which doesn’t match your requirements.

How best to engage – which media?

Having a clear view on who you want to reach, also enables you to decide how best to engage with them. Where did you find your existing customers, for example, what events do they attend, and what publications do they read? Are there industry directories or publications that match your profile well and which might give access to members or readers? Once you have an idea of where you might find prospective customers, you can decide how best to reach them – email, direct mail, phone - and, if purchasing data, ensure you buy the right type of license to support your campaign.

Consider cleansing and enhancing your own data

Before looking at any purchase, consider your own internal prospect base as this may be the best match to your target audience. You may feel the data quality is poor or does not provide you with right information or contact fields but data can be cleansed or enhanced, decision maker titles, phone numbers or even emails appended. There many companies offering this type of service either through software applications or by calling the data and this may result in a more accurate and targeted list than anything you can buy.

Consider enhancing purchased data

Bear these services in mind also when looking to purchase a list. You may, for example, find a provider with a large universe of the right companies in the right sector, but not the niche job titles you need.

Available services include:

  • Dedupe and reformat
  • Verify old and incomplete data
  • Append additional information such as niche contact titles
  • Email addresses – bought-in lists often contain generic addresses such as info@, sales@ whereas it is possible to source individual emails for your target decision makers by calling companies direct.

10 Key Factors when buying B2B Data

When you start to look at what is available on the market and speak to data providers, there are some key things to keep in mind:

1.  How is the data sourced? Does the provider build and maintain the list by calling contacts direct, or are they buying data from one or more other parties? Some companies also offer a refund against bad data/’goneaways’.

2.  How clean is the data? How is the list maintained, how frequently is it updated and how? Lists should be updated at least every six months.

3.  What is the minimum quantity you can buy? – it makes sense to test your list and campaign with a small amount of data before making a major investment. Consider also the timescales. If you buy a large amount of data in one go and are running a campaign over a number or weeks or months, for example, the data will age and this will impact effectiveness. It would be better to buy a smaller amount initially and top data up over time.

4.  How will you use the data? Most providers offer a number of ways to purchase/use data, either outright purchase or under license, and the price varies accordingly. If you are running several integrated campaigns combining direct mail, telemarketing and email for example, you will need a multi-use license for a longer period. One time use of data for telemarketing only, would generally be less expensive.

5.  Is it CTPS/TPS screened? – not all data providers screen against telephone preferences so it is worth checking so you don’t buy names, which you may not be able to call. Your telemarketing agency will be able to run the screening for you but it makes sense to suppress at source if possible.

6.  Can the provider de-dupe against your own database? Similarly, you do not want to buy data, which is already on your own database so check with your provider to see if they will suppress any contacts/companies you already have.

7.  Do you need Head Office/Single Site or Multiple Sites? Bearing in mind your campaign objectives, consider whether you need addresses for all sites for your target companies. If your strategy is to target only the most senior decision makers, it may be sufficient to purchase only contacts at Head Office.

8.  What is the standard output format? Most providers have a standard output format and fields and may charge extra if you have particular requirements so it is worth understanding options. If you do not need all the information fields they provide as standard, do you need to pay for what you don’t need?

9. Do they provide samples? Ask your provider for a sample before you purchase so that you can see if the list matches your requirements or even test the list quality with a call. Find supplier details on the DMA website – www.dma.org.uk.

And Finally

10. Test and Refine criteria

By taking the above steps to secure a good set of up-to-date and relevant data, your campaign stands a better chance of success, but there is always room to improve. Testing an initial smaller pot of data will give immediate insight into the quality of your list. Ongoing review of results and direct feedback from those calling the data or working with the leads it generates, enables you to review and refine not only the data selection but your overall campaign strategy and approach.


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