looking for data
5 things to look for in a B2B data provider

A B2B data provider can help you transform your marketing efforts – and your business. By using high-quality, targeted data, you can connect with more of the right people, achieving higher numbers of leads and cutting costs in the process. On the other hand, using the wrong data can see your marketing campaigns failing to gain traction, with negative consequences for your organisation.

Therefore, choosing a B2B data provider is an important decision. You need to be certain that the partner you decide to work with has the credentials and ability to deliver the results that you seek.

Whether you require email addresses, phone numbers, postal addresses, or a combination of the three, you’ll only have peace of mind if you truly believe that your provider genuinely cares about your business and will work with you to get the best data for your specific needs.

So here are five important criteria to look for.

1. Verifiable data sources

Can your provider tell you exactly how they get the data they are selling to you? And do their sources stand up to scrutiny? If the answer to either of these questions is no, alarm bells should ring. In this scenario it’s time to look elsewhere – it’s simply not worth putting your money and reputation on the line.

Once you have proof that the data is from a credible source, it’s a good idea to find out how often it is updated. B2B data is a constantly evolving entity and it decays very quickly, at a rate of around 35 per cent a year. Therefore, data lists need to be constantly cleaned and refreshed. Otherwise, you won’t achieve the excellent results you expect.

2. The right accreditations

Your data provider should be registered with the Data Protection Act. All data providers in the UK are obligated to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and to collect data both fairly and lawfully.

It’s also worth seeking out a provider that is registered with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). This is a membership-only network of over 1,000 companies – and Europe’s largest marketing association. It offers industry best-practice guidelines, legal updates and all members must adhere to the DMA code. Regular events are held to promote innovation and responsible marketing. If your data provider says they are DMA registered, it’s a good idea to directly check whether they are listed on the DMA’s website.

And while you’re undertaking this process, it’s a good idea to review the provider’s own website in a more general sense. Most importantly, do they provide valid contact information, such as a phone number and postal address? A shady provider may hide behind their website, selling you data lists and then becoming uncontactable thereafter.

3. Thorough, targeted data records

What you classify as thorough and targeted will depend on your specific business needs. However, it is generally better to have more detailed information than less! For example, are you just given names of employees or are you told more about their role and other important information? And can data be paired up – for instance, an email address linked to a postal address?

The best providers will work closely with you to source the data that best aligns with your marketing and wider business goals. They will carry out “profiling” or “penetration analysis”, which involves analysing your current customers to find out what drives them and what they have in common. This information can then be used to acquire similar prospects from the provider’s own database, to help boost your sales.

4. Deliverability guarantees

It’s vital that your B2B data provider can verify that your marketing messages will get to the people you are targeting the majority of the time. Of course, a 100 per cent deliverability guarantee is unrealistic as there are so many variables that can affect the outcome.

But your partner should be able to demonstrate that your direct mail and emails will get to their intended recipients, and your phone calls will be answered by the correct people, most of the time.

5. TPS and CTPS suppression

When it comes to telemarketing, you should not contact anyone whose number is listed on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate TPS (CTPS) – unless they have specified otherwise. Therefore, it’s imperative that the telephone numbers your provider sources for you are regularly suppressed against the TPS and CTPS. If you breach these rules, you could end up with a fine of up to £500,000 from the ICO.

A B2B data provider can help your business to scale new heights, reaching previously inaccessible prospects and growing your brand. However, not every provider is up to the task and so it’s well worth taking the time to probe your potential partner and ensure they can help you achieve your goals.

The best providers will garner their data from verified sources and will be able to prove their credentials to you. They will work with you to get the optimum data for your organisation and ensure that your marketing messages consistently reach the people you are targeting, without breaking any rules along the way.