Buying or renting a lead list is part of a B2B marketer’s bag of tools to find new prospects. Unfortunately this is often one of the most negative experiences a B2B marketer can have. Data quality is almost always lower than advertised, and you often encounter fly-by-night and unscrupulous vendors. So, as the buyer of these lists, how do you protect your marketing investment and maximize ROI? Here we share with you a few best practices from Openprise customers.

Get A Full Preview

It is a common practice for lead vendors to send you a preview data set to illustrate the quality of their database. Preview data usually has no name and contact information, but does contain job, company, and industry information. Preview is often a small subset of a few hundred to a few thousand contacts. It can even contain organizational hierarchies.

That is not good enough.

It is too easy for a vendor to disguise the quality of the leads list by selectively showing you a preview of their best leads. Instead, insist on getting a preview of the full list you are looking to acquire. Whether that is 50,000 or 1,000,000 contacts, get the full list. If a vendor refuses the request, you should think twice about buying the list sight unseen.

In the following screenshot you see the available data fields from the preview of a 477,000 lead database.

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With the list in hand, you can analyze its quality to ensure it meets your expectations. Openprise is a very handy tool for analyzing such a large data set. The path you take for your analysis should be unique to your business and situation. Here is just one example of what can be done quickly and easily.

Industry Analysis

First, see if the list has the right mixture of industries. For industry specific B2B companies, this is critically important. Leads from industries you do not sell to are practically worthless. For non-vertical specific B2B companies, there are often industries that are your sweet spots. There may be industries you want to run specific marketing campaigns for.

The Rank Analysis in Openprise is very useful for this purpose. In the screenshot below we ranked the top 25 industries from this list based on record count. Education came in at the number one spot with nearly 30,000 contacts, or roughly 6% of the total database. Government came in at the number four spot with nearly 17,000 contacts. So education + government contacts alone makes up 10% of this list. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your target industries.

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Job Function Analysis

Let’s say education is one of the verticals you wish to target, but you are concerned that there may be a large number of student contacts in the list. You specifically want to see contacts in the IT department. To drill down, you click on the FILTER DATA button to filter for only contacts where industry contain the word “education”. Next you change the ranking attribute from industry to job function. The result is shown below. We see the majority of job functions are IT, support, and engineering. That is good.

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Job Title And Job Level Analysis

The next question you ask is – are these contacts at the right seniority level? Some B2B products are more suitable for calling high into the organization, while others are more suitable for calling directly into the technical staff. To answer that question,  you further filter for contacts where job function contains the words “IT”, “information”, and “engineering”. Changing the ranking attribute to title and job level accordingly shows you the title and seniority breakdown of this list. There is a large number of manager level contacts. Interestingly there is also a large number of contacts with the CTO title.

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You can perform further analysis based on SIC code, company size, or even strategic account names.

Buying leads list is not cheap and can be a frustrating experience. With the help of Openprise and a little bit of time spent analyzing the preview list, you can ensure your marketing investment gets the proper ROI.

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