What Is B2B Data: The Ultimate Guide

Want to build targeted lists of pre-qualified leads?

You need a source of B2B data.

But, sourcing B2B data in a time- and cost-efficient way is hard.

In this guide, we’ll show you the benefits of using B2B data, and the best methods to source, cleanse, validate, and store your data.

Let’s get into it.

What Is B2B Data?

Business-to-business data, often referred to as B2B data, is information that can be used to help power your marketing and sales campaigns.

Sophisticated information will help your business identify new sales leads and get in touch with them.

What Does Business Data Include?

B2B data includes things like company names, employee names, email addresses, phone numbers, technographics, and firmographics.

It includes anything that can qualify someone as a good sales lead and includes information you can use to get in contact with them.

Sales and marketing teams use B2B data to inform decisions about who to contact within companies.

Why Use B2B Data?

Do you use cold outreach or Account-Based Marketing (ABM) to grow your sales?

If so, B2B data is a vital asset.

It enables you to create segmented lists of contacts that your sales team can put to good use to grow your lead pipeline.

How Can I Use B2B Data?

B2B data is crucial to the results and productivity of marketing and sales teams.

It can help with a range of activities:

1. Prospecting

B2B data from a source like DemandScience provides all the information you need for prospecting. You can filter by job titles, firmographics, and technographics to create lists of contacts your sales team can use.

2. Cold Outreach

B2B data provides your sales team with up-to-date, accurate data such as email addresses and phone numbers. These can be used to get in touch with people who look like great leads for your business.

3. Account-Based Marketing

Good B2B business data is the fuel for successful ABM campaigns. Information on a company’s spending on tech can be used to qualify prospects before you engage with them.

How to Source B2B Data

Now you know how B2B data can help power your marketing and sales, let’s find out how you can source it.

There are several ways you can source B2B sales data.

But, before looking at those we’re going to outline why you should never source your data in-house.

Precursor: Why You Shouldn’t Source B2B Data In-House

It’s tempting to bring your B2B data sourcing in-house.

You’ll have full control over the process and there will be a fast turnaround from sourcing the data to your sales team being able to use it.

Here’s why those things don’t matter and you shouldn’t do it in-house.

Firstly, employing a team of data researchers isn’t simple.

Here’s a quick overview of what the in-house data sourcing process could look like.

1. Hiring and Training

As you’ll know, hiring a team takes time and money.

You’ll need to handle employment contracts, pension contributions, and setting up payroll.

If you’re located in a large city, salaries are going to be high, and your office space needs to be large enough for new employees.

Not all businesses are ready to take such a large step simply to source B2B data.

You’ll need to train your team in data acquisition and best practices for cleansing, validating, and storing data.

Employee turnover is inevitable and you’ll need to start all over again when someone leaves.

2. Purchase Subscriptions to Multiple Tools

Sourcing data requires a range of tools to identify and scrape contact details of leads.

Your team will need LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which costs $79.99/mo, per person.

You’ll also need subscriptions for many tools and the costs add up fast.

3. Time-Consuming and Complicated Workload

Sourcing your B2B data in-house isn’t worth it. There are multiple, time-intensive steps required to produce a clean spreadsheet of B2B data.

Firstly, your team will need to source and scrape the data.

This can be done using LinkedIn (hence the Sales Navigator subscription), using other email sourcing tools, or searching company websites for email addresses. Email sourcing tools can be inaccurate and it’s a slow and manual process for your team.

There will always be emails that can’t be found, and the only way to find them will be to guess the format used by a company (e.g. [email protected] vs. [email protected]). This leads to a higher bounce rate in your final email campaigns and missed opportunities.

After sourcing the data, your team will need to cleanse, append it with valid information, and validate it.

This means they’ll still need to do things like:

  • Remove inaccurate data (e.g out of date job titles)
  • Remove duplicates that already exist in your database
  • Match details with your database to ensure you’ve sourced the right data (i.e. if there are multiple companies with the same name you need to guarantee your data matches the right one)
  • Validate the emails using tools such as BriteVerify
  • Upload your data to your CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce
  • Ongoing data validation and cleansing to make sure everything is up to date

Now we’ve seen the difficulties of sourcing B2B data in-house, let’s take a look at two other popular ways.

1. Hire a Freelance Web Scraper

You can turn to Upwork, PeoplePerHour, or Freelancer.com.

This is a popular way to source B2B data. You’ll be able to tell a freelancer what you’re looking for, and they’ll scrape the web for the data.

It’s usually affordable and the turnaround time for short lists of data can take as little as a few days.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to going with a freelance web scraper.

Working over a platform where contracts are usually short and can be ended at the will of both parties risks time being wasted.

As well as that, you don’t know the true source of the data.

Your B2B data may not have been sourced in a GDPR-compliant way. As you don’t know the source, you shouldn’t risk using it for any purposes. Of course, some freelancers will source in a GDPR-compliant way and you should confirm this with them.

2. Use a Supplier like DemandScience

The fastest and most cost-effective way to source B2B data is by using a tool like DemandScience.

Once you know who you’re planning to target, DemandScience is the fastest way to find relevant B2B data.

You can generate targeted sales lead lists to filter by data such as job titles, industry, technographics, and firmographics.

The data is regularly cleaned, validated, and updated to improve your email deliverability.

Data from DemandScience is also GDPR-ready so you won’t need to worry about improper sourcing techniques.

The biggest benefit?

Your sales team can spend less time prospecting and more time talking to great leads!

Cleansing Your B2B Data

Email databases decay by over 20% each year. Data cleansing is key to ensuring your B2B data is up-to-date.

What Is Data Cleansing?

Data Cleansing is the process of updating your data to ensure it’s accurate.

When it comes to B2B data, regular data cleansing is vital. People change jobs, companies grow or update their tech stack, or leads opt-out of your emails.

How to Cleanse Your B2B Data

You could entrust your sales team to update and clean your data.

Whenever an email to a contact bounces they could update their contact database and erase out-of-date contacts.

However, that’s as tedious as it sounds. You don’t want your sales team spending their time cleansing your data.

You could also use a 3rd-party tool to cleanse your data.

For example, there are a range of email validation tools out there you could use.

If you’re using DemandScience, you can upload any bounced emails from your sales campaigns. DemandScience will clean those emails and provide you with credits in return to download more B2B data.

The key is to have a fast and reliable way to cleanse your data.

You also don’t want your sales and marketing team to spend their time on it.

Data Validation

It’s estimated that 81% of companies have email deliverability challenges.

As well as this, around 25% of data in the average B2B database is inaccurate.

Regular data validation will help you reduce bad matches and is a best practice we recommend.

Why Do You Need to Validate Your Data?

If you have low engagement rates, high email bounce rates, or are using old contact lists, then data validation will improve those.

How to Ensure Your Data Is Valid

Having clean and valid B2B data is vital.

If you have a large contact database, there are a range of bulk email validation services to help you such as ZeroBounce and Xverify. These will help you verify if they’re valid and can be used.

The alternative to doing this would be manually emailing your list, removing contacts that bounce, and removing emails that have been in your database for too long (there is no perfect time frame, but for sales purposes, one to two years is likely long enough).

Securely Storing Your B2B Data

IBM Security research cites that the average cost of a data breach of fewer than 100,000 records is $3.86 million.

Storing your B2B data in a secure, GDPR-compliant way is more important now than ever.

Companies are at risk of data breaches and you should ensure your B2B data is stored securely.

There are several best practices to follow to ensure your data is stored in a GDPR-ready and secure way:

1. Data Minimization

60 to 73% of data that companies store goes unused.

Taking a look at your CRM, chances are that you’ll discover that the same applies to your data.

The first step to good B2B data storage is to reduce the amount of data you’re storing.

If you don’t need it, you should erase it. If someone asks to opt out of your emails, their data should be erased from your CRM. Data minimization also ensures you’re GDPR compliant.

2. Take Appropriate Cyber Security Measures

When dealing with personal details you have to take appropriate data security measures.

While there is no one best way to do this, we recommend reading the ICO’s guide to data security and the Cyber Essentials scheme.

Good data storage is an investment, and your team will need to be trained on this and uphold best practices.

If you’re thinking of using B2B data from DemandScience you can read more about the measures we take to ensure our B2B data security is of the highest standard here.

Sourcing B2B data from a supplier investing in their data security will save your team time and ensure you’re GDPR compliant.

Why You Should Outsource Your B2B Data Needs

Sourcing, cleansing, validating, and storing your B2B data takes a lot of work.

You don’t want your sales team sourcing B2B data.

Their time should be spent having conversations with qualified leads and closing new business.

A solution like DemandScience will save you huge costs of building and training an in-house team, and you won’t need to rely on freelancers.

It enables your team to create targeted lists of contacts with all of the B2B data you need to craft a successful cold outreach or ABM campaign.

You also ensure that the data you’re using is valid and regularly cleansed, as well as being GDPR compliant.

Outsourcing your B2B data sourcing is key to high-performing sales teams.

Recap: Everything You Should Know About B2B Data

B2B data will help your team build email or cold call lists, and find qualified leads.

You could hire a freelancer to source your B2B data, or build an in-house data research team. Unfortunately, these come with high costs and no guarantee of results.

B2B data enables your team to save time prospecting, and spend more of their time closing deals.

Using a B2B data supplier like DemandScience will provide your team with accurate, up-to-date, and GDPR-ready data.

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