Try Before You Buy: B2B Data Sampling Strategies

b2b data

If done correctly, investing in your B2B data can produce impressive results. In fact, companies that regularly maintain their database can realize 66% higher conversions to revenue compared to those that do not (source).

Unfortunately, when you work with a low-quality data provider, you run the risk of doing more harm than good. Consider this statistic: 40% of business objectives fail due to inaccurate data (source). So, how do you make sure the data you’re buying is top-notch? Try before you buy!

Continue reading for our top tips and best practices for selecting a B2B data provider.

1. Do your research.

It’s important to do your homework prior to working with a data provider. You want to be confident in the vendor’s ability to meet your sales and marketing needs. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Reputation: Check online reviews to see what the company’s reputation is within the industry. Be sure to ask for references and determine if they’ve ever worked in your space before. Go with a vendor who has proven success with companies similar to yours.
  • Service: How reliable is the vendor’s customer service department? Are they available to help whenever you need it? Determine who will be your ‘go-to’ contact and how willing they are to get you the service and answers you need to use the platform effectively.
  • Data sources: Where is the vendor sourcing their information from? Is the source reliable or legal? This information is a good indicator of how accurate the data you’re purchasing will be.
  • Industry expertise: Often, vendors will specialize in obtaining data surrounding specific industries. If you’re brand operates in a niche market, be sure that the data they provide is applicable to your business.
  • Cost: If the data you’re purchasing is top quality, than cost shouldn’t be a huge factor. However, it’s important to determine what your payment covers. Typically, there are three levels of data purchases: One time use, multiple time use and outright purchases. Determine what vendors offer the type of purchase your business needs.
  • Supplemental services: Purchasing contact information is great, but do any of the vendors offer more such as data appending, database cleansing or integration options?

2. Determine your data requirements.

As a marketing or sales professional, you need to know that your data provider can help you reach your ideal customers. This is why it’s important that each vendor provides you with a data sample. Compile the characteristics of your best buyers and send them to potential vendors before you receive your data sample.

Here are a few considerations to make during this process:

  • Firmographic and demographic information: Consider company revenue, company size, job title, etc.
  • Data accuracy: Contact information decays quickly, so it is important to verify the accuracy of the available data.
  • Data points: Consider what you plan to do with your data. For example, if you plan to send email campaigns, be sure to request contacts who have email addresses rather than phone numbers.
  • Net new contacts: Send potential vendors a file of your existing contacts that they can use as a suppression list. This way, you can see the number of net new contacts available.

3. Compare data samples.

Once you have data samples from each potential vendor, it’s time to compare lists. Here are four things to keep in mind:

  • Size: In general, the size of your sample lists should be about one percent of the total size of the list you intend to buy—but ideally you should see at least 100 records per sample. That should be enough to give you a good idea of the data’s consistency.
  • Selects: Be sure the selects include the criteria you asked for—i.e. direct dials, CEO’s, companies in the United States. Make sure each contact is a good representation your best buyer.
  • Self-Select: If you are happy with the preview file, you should ask to select and sample a portion of the contacts. In order to have a fair test, the vendor should not be making the selection. Self-selecting will allow you to properly gauge the quality of the information.
  • Send: For the best results, test each of the contact methods you intend to use. Track the results and compare them to see if your vendors’ delivery rates are on target with their guarantees. Then determine which list performs the best against your campaign’s goal metrics.

For more information about selecting a B2B data provider, contact us today!