July 25, 2017 by Ashwini Murthy

Buying data has become almost inevitable for any business. Any company that has a defined goal they are working towards know that they shouldn’t spend time manually gathering data and doing research when such information is readily available. With so many big names in the data / lead generation market and loads of emerging ones, the judgement call has become tougher. The thing about making the wrong choice is, you wouldn’t know till you’re 2 months into a 12-month long contract. It’s quite tough to identify if a data provider is the perfect fit before signing the contract.

There are a few things on your checklist which the provider should strike off before you sign the contract.

     1. Geography matters

Sure, your lead list provider has data on over a zillion companies. But, how many of these companies fall under the geography you want to target? It’s good to know how many companies your data provider covers. But it’s nothing more than just a vanity metric. Not every geography has good coverage. They track, say, 20 attributes. But do they track it for all the companies in the geographies they promise?

      2. Contacts and their quality

There are a couple of things about the contacts provided and its quality that should be kept in mind:

  • Do they offer only the contacts of the decision makers and C-level employees? Some products/services that solve the pain points of managerial level employees are better of being pitched to them. Ex: It makes sense to pitch a project management tool to a project manager instead of the CTO.
  • Many data providers promise email IDs with 90% accuracy. Sure, they are verified. But SMTP level and email verifier tool level verifications mean very little. The validity and accuracy of an email ID cannot be verified until you actually send a mail to the ID. Very few providers have inbox access and contracts with ISPs to give you accurate email validation.
  • The email IDs of those in the Fortune 500 may be verified and valid. But what about the email IDs of those in the Fortune 500,000th company? The quality should be consistent.

    3. Is their policy too uptight?

    There are few ways to gauge the leniency of their policy.

  • When an email bounces, do they replace the IDs that bounce? Some data providers replace it all. Some replace only hard bounces and not the soft bounces.

    Hard bounces happen when the mail didn’t reach the server, which indicates that the email ID is invalid.
    Soft bounces happen when the mail has reached the server but hasn’t reached the inbox. This happens when the recipient’s inbox is full.

    Some companies promise to refund your money if the bounce rate is >10%. The lenient the company, the better it is for you.
  • Any contract that binds you for more than a year is a red flag.
  • Do they do a pilot? If yes, ask for 500-1000 records. You define the criteria for the pilot. If they refuse to do a dry-run, it’s a red flag.

    4. Do they provide news?

Most data providers promise ‘news’ as a part of the data they provide. What kind of news do they provide? Is it insights or mere reporting of incidents after they happen?

If something comes up on the news, it means it has already happened. Funding news generally comes out a month after the funding. You need to catch companies when the funding is just about to happen or before it does. You need insights. Not news. Check what kind of news they are offering.

Also, long tail news is more valuable than mainstream news. If you are selling fulfillment services to an eCommerce company, the news you find about them in SupplyChainBrain is more relevant than the one you’d find in WSJ.

See if your data provider also provides predictive analysis along with the data. Predictive analysis is always good!

In conclusion, if George Orwell had to write about data, he’d have said “All data providers are equal but some are more equal than the others”.

If you’re selling to ecommerce or retail companies, PipeCandy is a better lead generation partner than most other sources, because we deliver attributes that are unique to these industries.

Ashwini Murthy

Content marketer @ PipeCandy

A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.