Tim Stevens
Friday, April 14, 2023

20 Questions to Ask When Buying B2B Data

There are numerous B2B data providers in the marketplace which can make choosing the right one a real headache so we’ve put together various sources of information and tools you can use to make an informed choice about who to partner with for your data.

First off, we did some comparison pieces to look at how we compare to various competitors:

·      i-4business vs Cognism

·      i-4business vs ZoomInfo

·      i-4business vs Lusha 

We've also got a competitor page that has all the key information in one place so you can compare B2B data providers at a glance.

Finally, we’ve also created this really handy guide containing the twenty questions that you should consider when choosing a B2B data provider.

These cover questions that you would benefit from asking yourself in terms of exactly what you’re looking for and for what purpose, plus what you should expect from a high-quality, trusted data provider.

The Importance of Using Native Language-min.png

1)   What type of contact information do you want? Email, postal, telephone or multichannel?

Before you start looking for your preferred B2B data provider you need to know your strategy so that you have a clear idea of how you’re going to use your new data and therefore the type of contact information that you will need.

Data from multiple regions

2)   Do you need data from multiple countries/regions?

Make sure your marketing strategy is sufficient enough so that you know where your target customers are and therefore the breadth of B2B data that you need in terms of locations.

3)   Can you choose the contacts you get based on industry, company size, and geographic location?

It’s important to find a B2B data provider that’s capable of allowing you to build a contact profile. This should include industry and firmographic information as a minimum.

4)   Does it have job roles and are the job roles granular enough?

Targeting the right people within individual businesses is vital when it comes to getting your marketing message in front of the right people. Can the data provider allow you to do this?

5)   How does the B2B data provider gather and verify their data, and does this result in effective data?

Data needs to be accurate in order to be effective. Find out as much as you can about the provider’s data acquisition processes.

6)   Is the database an opt-in database?

Opt-in consent requires B2B data providers to obtain explicit consent from the user before collecting and processing their personal data. This means data subjects will know who will use their data and for what purpose. This helps you remain compliant and makes your campaigns more effective.

7)   Does the B2B data provider own the data?

It’s important to bear in mind that some data providers are merely data aggregators, meaning they access their data from third party external sources. This means they cannot guarantee accuracy, quality or compliance.

Find out more about our processes and the i-4b research team here: The Role of the Researcher: How We Own Our Data.

8)   How often does the B2B data provider update their data?

Potential issues with using out of date data include:

•     Typically, poor data quality can lead to you missing 50% of contacts.

•     On average you can expect to lose 560 sales hours if you use bad data.

•     Bad data costs companies an estimated 30% or more in revenue.

That’s why it’s vital to make sure your provider updates their data regularly, and that they make changes to the database automatically for you.

is our data compliant

9)   Is the data compliant and ready to use? Or do you need to make it compliant first?

Potential issues of using non-compliant data include:

•     You can damage your reputation.

•     You could break the law and risk substantial fines for breaching GDPR regulations.

•     You won’t achieve the optimum results from your campaigns.

That’s why at i-4business we make sure we’re always providing legal, compliant and effective data. 

10) Is the data provider registered with the ICO?

All UK data providers are obligated to register with the ICO and to collect data both fairly and lawfully. You can search on the ICO website to check a provider’s status.

11) Are telephone numbers suppressed against the TPS and CTPS and how often does this happen? (UK only)

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) are opt-out registers that cover consumers and businesses. Anyone who doesn't want to be targeted over the phone can leave their details on these registers to avoid receiving cold calls.

12) Does the data cover your target audience?

No doubt one of the first things you will have done is work to understand your exact target audience. Make sure your B2B data provider can provide the data you need to get your message in front of the right audience for your products/services. If they specialise in your target market, even better.

13) Does the data come with the correct fields to enable you to segment it correctly?

The more you can niche down your audience and fine tune your content to match their needs, the more success you will have with your campaigns. You need to segment and target accordingly rather than just sending the same content to all.

We’ve prepared a full article on this if you want to learn more: The Importance of Targeting & Segmenting Data

14) Can you have data samples or live access to their database?

Top tip! Ask for information on a specific target account you know well. It’s important to validate promises and check quality as much as you can before you commit to a B2B data provider.

i4b Free Trial

15) Does the B2B data provider provide a free trial?

Try to get a free trial that offers unrestricted access and the ability to use the data in a live environment during the trial period. Any vendor who offers a free trial on this basis is confident that you will want to buy after you try, which is an extremely positive sign.

16) How much does it cost? Is there a minimum quantity or time commitment?

Find out all the important commercial and contract information before you buy.

17) Do they offer a guarantee on data quality, accuracy and compliance?

We’ve mentioned the importance of these three quality measures. Can you get any guarantees from any of the providers on your shortlist?

18) Is the B2B data provider an established and reputable company?

As with any business purchase you will want to make sure that you’re partnering with a company that can offer a quality product backed up by quality support.

What you want to look for:

•     A well-designed company website

•     Transparent and easy-to-find contact information

•     Client case studies

•     Access to existing clients

•     Current online reviews

19) Can the B2B data provider offer other services such as data analysis, cleansing and optimising your current database?

It’s important that you can track marketing performance across the board and that you can make the most of any data that you already have. Your B2B data provider may have specialist tools that you can use to make the most of your existing and future digital assets whilst saving you time in the process.

20) Does the B2B data provider offer a bespoke service to your specific data needs?

If you have more complex requirements, ask the question. A quality B2B data provider will be able to work with you to create the exact service that you need in line with your goals.

About i-4business

At i-4business we’re EMEA B2B data specialists. We offer access to:

·      300 verticals

·      Enterprise and public sector organisations

·      Data guarantees for accuracy, completeness, and recency

You can find out more by calling us on 01252 367400, emailing support@i4b.com, or by completing our contact form.

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