What you need to know when buying B2B data


Buying B2B data can be a complicated process especially with the stricter GDPR rules coming into place in May 2018.

The fear of not knowing what to buy and how to utilise the data, under the new regulations, deters many business owners and marketers from utilising what the market has to offer. Delays and lack of confidence may negatively impact your marketing strategy and required sales pipeline.

Reaching a more targeted audience reduces the risk of resource waste.

Furthermore, buying a good and compliant list of contacts, that meets your exact target criteria, will save you a lot of money and time spent trying to gather and manage data.

While under GDPR marketers will have to compromise on volume in detriment of quality, the lists that will stay on the market, due to compliance, will be of a higher quality that actually drive value and real ROI.

But purchasing compliant data does not have to tricky, especially when you are buying from the right and reputable source.

Here are some tips on how to make this process easy and profitable for your company:


Data Requirements

Create a description of your ideal target audience

It is essential to fully understand the profile of your target audience, both at organization level and contact level as this visualization and subsequent implementation will optimize results. The audience may be predetermined by your historical customer profiles, or your product or service range may only be relevant for buying Levitra online a defined target market and thus determine the selection criteria required.

The B2B decision making process is complex, therefore maximum analysis and planning is required to ensure you reach companies and relevant decision makers. Think about the people that are most likely to respond to your communications and to subsequently fuel your sales pipeline.  You do not want to waste your time and resources targeting the wrong audience.


Do you serve a defined territory? Select by postal code, county, region, country. Suppress areas you will not wish to serve or deliver to such highlands and islands for example.


Are there any specific industries you want to target?

For example, you can select by Manufacturing, Wholesale, Distribution, Education, Healthcare. Granular targeting is done by utilizing the many versions of Standard Industrial Coding (SIC) that is country specific (US -NAICS code, Europe NACE code, French NAF code UK SIC). These codes offer a core sector and then sub and granular sectors to define as accurate as possible what the core function of a business is.

In addition there are directory and business classifications that are sometimes more defined and relevant to support granular targeting such as Chinese Restaurants, or plumbers.

Business size

Are you interested in companies with a big turnover, or a large number of employees? This determines if the companies you are targeting can afford or are in need of the product/ service you are selling.

There are of course, other Business Criteria values you might need to consider, such as type of premise, legal status, for example.

Job titles

Make sure you are reaching out to a person that has approval or buying authority, as well as need for your products and services. The simplest mistake you can do is target only the most senior contact within an organisation, especially when engaging with large organisations. Your best option would be to address the decision maker in the relevant department, as well. In some cases, there may be 20 relevant contacts in a company with 500 employees that would be worthy of Nizagara to optimize penetration and results.

Specialist behavioral data

Selecting companies and contacts that have exposed a certain interest in products or vertical markets through specialist publications or purchasing habits or product use, may offer an extra filter to ensure finer targeting relevance. For instance: attendees to and IT event on cyber security, a subscriber to a relevant publication where the audience may indicate that they will have an interest in your products and services. A reliable data provider will help you combine all available intelligence to determine the audience with the highest propensity to engage with you will always yield the best results.


The type of marketing campaign you choose will impact the channels that would be more appropriate for you.

If you are planning an e-marketing campaign, for example, there are some things you need to consider. Some databases will not be able to release personal emails. In this case the list owner will deploy the email broadcast on behalf of the client. A personal email example is, while a generic email is

This will not affect the quality of your campaign or influence the results in any way. Open rates may actually be higher from broadcasts made by the data owner.

The html and subject line will be provided by you, therefore the campaign is still controlled in-house and all click and opens can still be reported to you. All responders that engage with you will become part of your own database.

Also, under the GDPR, all sole traders and Partnerships are to be targeted as individuals, which means that in order to email them you will need to have a clear opt-in in place.  These rules are already in place in some of the European countries, such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, The Netherlands, and Denmark. Therefore, if you are looking to utilize international data for your email campaigns, you need to keep this in mind.

In the UK, the new E-Privacy regulation, set to come into place in June 2019 is also very strict in regards to e-marketing.  If the changes that have been announced do come into place, a lot of lists will no longer be populated with personal email addresses.

Telephone and postal campaign will be more accessible, however not if the contact is registered on TPS, respectively CTPS and MPS for postal. Choosing to ignore this, could result in significant fines of up to 4% of annual revenue.

Asses the volumes you need

While it might be tempting to want to get the as many contacts as possible, you have to make sure your marketing campaign is in line with the volume you are purchasing, the objectives you which to achieve and the budget you have available.

Most marketers love to hoard data. But under the GDPR rules it will become more expensive to maintain and use a big database. Remember, data tends to decay over time and you will end up losing valuable contacts, with almost a third of contacts becoming obsolete in a 12-month period.

Choose your data source carefully

When buying or renting a marketing list, you need to make rigorous checks to ensure the data has been obtained fairly and lawfully. This is very important especially when buying B2C data.

A reputable supplier should be able to disclose the source name and provide both evidence and details of how the database has been compiled. Are the individuals aware their details would be passed on for marketing purposes (provided consent)?

These are essential questions that need to be addressed to the data owner in order to assess if the data is compliant.

Always ask if the database is opt-in or based on legitimate interest. If the data provider has taken the consent route, does this cover 3rd party marketing? Any reliable data owner should maintain evidence of consent and provide it when needed.

Assess whether you want to use the data using legitimate interest as a legal basis. If this is the case, you will need to conduct a ‘Legitimate Interest Assessment’(LIA), that will constitute grounds of your future marketing communications.

Whilst evaluating if processing is ‘necessary’, you need assess if your company’s Legitimate Interests are outweighed by the rights and freedoms of the individual and that the processing would not cause unwarranted harm. This is called a ‘balancing test’, according to the DMA guideline on LIA .

In any communication, the opt-out should always be clear.  An objection from an individual will be sufficient to mean the company’s Legitimate Interests are overridden.

You will also need to make sure the database has been recently updated and if so, when? This will help you cut losses, as data can decay.

Businesses can also opt out from receiving unwanted calls using the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS).  So, make sure all these selections are discussed in advance.

What to expect in terms of costs?

Specialist/ Compiled

Cost will most likely vary depending on the type of list you are purchasing. Specialist lists, such as trade publishers, trade unions, and associations will give you more valuable contacts.

For example, an in-depth IT database could give you valuable information such as technology installs. You can find out exactly what CRM system companies are using; how many computers have installed, and who is responsible for these purchases. At the same time, a compiled list will still give you access to IT contacts, but without any additional information.

Another important aspect is that this kind of database will more likely be an opt-in, due to the nature of the data collection methods.  However, please keep in mind these lists are premium priced.

Compiled lists will be cheaper to purchase but they will have a general spectrum of contacts, with multiple industries and contacts available. Most compiled list will have a larger volume of contacts available, mostly Senior Decision Makers. Therefore, this would not be the way to go if you are looking for niche departments or job functions.


One-time use/ multiple uses

The type of licence you are buying will also influence how much you will pay for the data. Multiple use will be more costly than single use, but it will give you the opportunity to have numerous attempts to get thorough to the target audience and gain traction through increased brand awareness.

Volume discount

Most list providers will offer a discount scheme for customers buying large volumes. However, buying in bulk might not always be feasible. Try creating an in-credit order, buying a larger volume but not using it all at once. This way you will still get the volumes discount and also pull the data as and when you need it. This also means that the data will be up to date.


 Additional fields

The list provider will be able to advise what the basic file comes with, in terms of populated fields. These usually include company name, postal address, contact name , contact job role.  Additional costs may incur for additional information such as SIC code, email, telephone, employee size, turnover, parent linkage, anniversary date, legal status and many more.


Make sure you understand the terms of your agreement

You will need to discuss with your data supplier for how long or how many uses you are buying the data for.

You will have the option of either purchasing a licence for one or multiple uses. The first one, will give you the right to communicate with your contacts only once. However, once contact has been made, if you will get a reply indicating they are interested in becoming your customer, that contact can be added to your CRM system and will become yours.

Some databases can be also licensed for 12-months, time in which you can send out as many materials as you need.  However, make sure everything is done with GDPR in mind- individual rights will always supersede your legitimate interest. Terms including guaranties and warranties vary per source and country and should all be made clear in advance of your engagement and subsequent use of the data.

Please keep in mind all list will include tracking seeds, which will flag up if you are breaching the terms of your agreement.

Overall making the right choice when buying the data will ultimately give you access to targeting the right people, at the most suitable organisations for your business. While targeting the right audience will not give you a 100% sales guarantee, it will definitely give you the best change of creating desire and even creating the final push to purchase.

Intermedia Global specialises in providing profitable acquisition, retention and business intelligence solutions utilising our expertise across our List Sourcing, List management, Lead Generation, Data cleaning & Enhancement, Analysis and Data Processing divisions.

If you need help and advice regarding data purchasing both for B2B and B2C in the UK or internationally, get in touch with our team of data solutions experts!