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Many B2B data providers claim to have the “best” data. But have you ever stopped to think about where these companies get their data and what makes it better than the rest?

Data is a big investment – and as a buyer, you should never trust a data provider without first understanding where that information comes from. 

Today we’re looking at three major B2B data sources and discussing the pros and cons of working with each.

What is B2B Data?

B2B data is enterprise-focused information used to improve sales and marketing campaigns. Users can meticulously target audiences and find leads fit to purchase a product or service.

This data is split into three types: intent, fit, and opportunity. Each has its own purpose in pinpointing desired business intelligence.

Intent Data

Intent data is used to discover buying signals found by tracking multiple sources. It highlights behavior-based activity such as lead sources, social media engagement, form fills, and time spent on a website.

This engagement activity suggests interest or demand from an audience that they want to purchase a product or service. 

Fit Data

As the name suggests, fit data helps find leads that are fit to be a customer for your company.

Fit data helps marketers score and segment prospects into personas suitable to be in your customer base. It encompasses demographic data including: 

  • Job titles 
  • Industry 
  • Tech stacks
  • Location

Opportunity Data

Opportunity data helps identify favorable conditions for a company to act on when prospecting.

With data like promotions, mergers and acquisitions, product launches, and funding, opportunity data gives users opportunities to create new business.

Types of B2B Data Providers

A worthwhile B2B data provider understands the importance of these data types when finding major data sources. Here’s what you need to know before making your next B2B data purchase:

Type 1:  Owned B2B Data Providers

Owned data is sourced from a vendor’s daily business processes, or through proprietary data-gathering technology. An example of owned data is an organization selling their opt-in membership list.

The Pros

Accuracy: Generally speaking, the closer a vendor is to the data source — the more accurate the data will be. Here’s why: data owners are responsible for deduping, tagging, filtering, verifying, and updating the information. If a vendor did nothing to maintain the accuracy of their data, they would have very few customers.

Familiarity: Vendors who sell their own data should be familiar with every aspect of their information-gathering and verification processes. If you have questions or concerns, ask. The vendor should be able (and willing) to provide specifics.

Superior Service: Typically it’s easier to resolve data issues when you work with a provider who sources their own information. Not only do they have the incentive to fix them quickly, but they also have unrestricted access to the collection and verification process. This makes issues less time consuming to resolve.

The Cons

Data Hygiene: Data decay is unavoidable. One downside of working with a vendor who sells their own data is that many don’t have ways to verify or update their database. 

When comparing B2B data providers, be sure to ask if they verify it against multiple independent sources. Bonus points if a vendor allows individuals or companies to easily update their own data. It’s a feature that drives superior data accuracy!

Type #2: Brokers & Resellers of B2B Data

These are middlemen between the buyer and the original data source. Brokers and resellers will typically purchase their data from one or multiple originators, then resell it to their customers. The majority of B2B contact providers fall under this category.

The Pros

Useful Tools: Many brokers and resellers offer value-added services for clients. They include special tools for uploading and managing data and dedicated account managers. Keep in mind that part of your purchase price covers these services, whether or not you need them.

Niche Markets: Many times, brokers and resellers will focus on niche markets. This makes them better equipped to provide your organization with contacts most relevant to your business goals.

The Cons

Distance: A major disadvantage of working with data brokers and resellers is their lack of familiarity with the data. They may not know how often their list sources update or verify information, if at all.

Accuracy: Data accuracy may be questionable because the broker has no accountability for quality.

Cost: These vendors will often markup list costs to drive their profits. So the same data you’d buy from an owner for $1,000 may cost you $2,000 via a broker or reseller.

Type #3: B2B Data Aggregators

Data aggregators will gather information from different sources – both paid and organic. These sources include directories, websites, and other public and private sources.

The Pros

Volume: Vendors who aggregate data offer more volume than other types of vendors by constantly adding new information.

Breadth: In the same respect, compilers will often have a lot of information regarding one individual or company. This is due to them sourcing from so many different places.

The Cons

Inaccuracy: The biggest benefit of buying data from an aggregator is also this biggest drawback. Having tons of data is great, but often aggregators have more duplicate or conflicting records as a result of using multiple sources.

Standardization: Information obtained from multiple data owners (each fielding, tagging, and displaying information) is not standardized. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to successfully import data into your CRM system.

Limitations: Aggregators are often severely restricted in what they’re allowed to sell. For example: if a particular piece of information is included in the data set you receive, (such as company size), the compiler may not have the rights to provide that as an individual set. 

Data owners and resellers — from whom aggregators get their data — protect their own list business. They do this by limiting the ways in which other vendors are able to slice and dice their data.

Cost: Like brokers and resellers, aggregators often pay for some (or all) of the data they provide. That means they may have minimum purchase requirements, and are generally less flexible in their ability to negotiate pricing.

What to Look for in a B2B Data Provider 

The ultimate objective in finding a B2B data provider is helping you close your next deal. And when time is wasted going through outdated and unnecessary data, the chance of closing those sales dwindles. 

Here at ZoomInfo we regularly add to our 50+ million contact point database with our contributory network. And to ensure its accuracy, we house hundreds of human researchers who verify data in real-time.

Let us help you convert your next prospect into a valuable customer relationship.

Key Takeaways of Choosing a B2B Data Provider

Data is the key to B2B sales and marketing success. But, when it isn’t good, your investment becomes a costly mistake. Before making a purchase, understand how each vendor gets their data and how they verify its accuracy.

About the author

Krysta Williams

Krysta Williams is the Social Media Manager at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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