As a B2B marketer, you understand the importance of having access to only the most reliable and compliant B2B data lists. They’re the heart and soul of cold outreach and frequently fill your top-of-funnel pipeline.
However, even if you’re working with B2B data providers, these lists could contain any number of unusable data points.
That could be outdated personal information, or addresses for folks on do-not-contact lists. It’s also not surprising to find data that’s non-compliant with international regulations.
The potential consequences of using this type of information range from extra work for your team (and a decreased ROI) all the way to serious legal consequences.
The last thing you need is to find out your business practices aren’t GDPR or CCPA compliant, but most marketers don’t have the bandwidth to add “compliance officer” to their job title — so ensuring your data lists adhere to regulations is much easier said than done.
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Let’s talk about data regulations and compliance
The digital age has been full of massive leaps forward in every facet of business operations. Today, marketers can access more information about their prospects and customers than ever before.
Communication can be tailored to the individual — based on location, job title, job function, and more.
This treasure trove of data is a dream for B2B marketers, but it doesn’t come without its own unique set of concerns. With every new advancement comes new challenges.
One of these challenges, which you are undoubtedly aware of, is data privacy. Knowing what data is available to be used, and how you can use it, is critical to the success of your marketing programs and operations.
What to know about GDPR, CCPA, and CPA regulations
Recently, regulators have been furiously cracking down on what data can be used with and without consent.
In 2016, the EU released its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws — which fundamentally changed how data was utilized.
The TLDR: instead of assumed consent for data release, consumers must now explicitly “opt-in” to have their personal data shared.
In the context of marketing, we’re mostly talking about personal data such as contact information collected on websites, social media, and other digital platforms.
Personal data also covers online activity tracked using cookies or other tracking technologies.
The GDPR also requires businesses to be transparent about their specific data collection and usage practices, and to notify consumers in the event of a data breach.
Statutory and regulatory bodies didn’t just stop here.
Explicit user rights were further mirrored by California in the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2018. Consumers have the right to know and opt-out of the sale of their personal information at any time.
The Colorado Privacy Act (CPA), set to go into effect in 2024, builds on the CCPA’s framework and expands on consumer privacy rights.
So how do the GDPR and other regulations affect marketers?
Our stance here is to be safe rather than sorry.
These data regulations mean that you, as a marketer, need to ensure that any email lists you source containing data from these regions are not simply scraped from the internet — but have been explicitly released for use.
Failing to be compliant isn’t just a regulatory nightmare, it’s also incredibly costly to an organization.
On average, the loss of revenue from the business disruption of a single infraction is over $5 million.
This doesn’t even begin to account for reputational damage, in fact, lost business due to downtime or diminished reputation accounted for 38% of the overall cost of a breach according to a 2021 IBM report.
Picking the best B2B data provider
Does all of this mean that you should simply give up on list buying and cold outreach entirely?
Well… the answer to that question contains both good news and bad.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of data providers out there that aren’t compliant and, by working with them, you open yourself up to all the regulatory challenges and pitfalls discussed above.
These companies purchase various forms of second and third-party from data aggregators and data-sharing partners, oftentimes without negotiation of consent, or for unfair and deceptive usage.
And if an individual’s email address is on a purchased data list and they have not explicitly agreed for your company to contact them, reaching out to them would be a violation of regulations.
Fortunately, there are B2B data providers out there that have got data collection down to a science, ensuring that the information they source and share won’t harm themselves or their customers.
There are specific things you can, and should, look for when picking the right data partner for your marketing team.
Tip 1: Dig deeper into how data is being sourced
First, and perhaps most importantly, look at the quality of data and how it is being sourced. This includes talking to potential data providers about their process for checking and updating information, so you’re sure you’re only dealing with compliant B2B data lists.
The best partners constantly validate the data that they provide to their customers — nothing you are sent is ever illegal or antiquated.
Additionally, any provider that uses web scraping or third-party data should raise some alarm bells. Third-party data sources will often provide you with lots of data and contacts but at very low quality.
Conversely, zero and first-part data are not only the safest forms of data — but also the most reliable, and can be easily tailored to your specific use case.
While you might not get thousands of addresses, you will get contacts that fit your buyers and personas. This is ultimately better for business across the board.
Tip 2: Consider your data provider’s expertise and services
Second, you want to look into your potential data provider’s expertise and services. Find a partner that has worked closely with your industry in the past — an organization that specializes in sourcing leads for healthcare might not be the best pick for your retail business.
You should also take into account what additional services are available, beyond sharing data lists.
Will you gain access to lead generation tools? Are consultancy services offered?
Maybe email marking lead generation, or content syndication?
These added components can make a massive difference in the success of a program, and also help take off a lot of tasks from your plate.
I know evaluating a vendor can be quite a subjective and unique process, depending on your industry.
So I created this checklist of 15 universal questions to ask instead. It should make your vetting process feel much more structured.
Tip 3: Review or ask for their track record
Lastly, check out the company’s reputation!
There are plenty of well-respected providers with a proven track record of success in the industry.
Can your potential data partner share case studies or success metrics with you? What do customers from your industry say about them?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections at companies they have worked with in the past. The more information you have, the better decision you can make in the long run.
Tech professionals don’t like to give up their contact information. That’s why Lauren from OffSec works closely with ViB for targeted demand generation — that exceeds her goals on repeat.
ViB for better and compliant B2B data lists
At ViB, we understand that B2B demand generation isn’t a place where anyone should be cutting corners.
Instead of scraping the web for email addresses, we actively source, segment, and nurture a community of tech decision makers who are eager to learn about cutting-edge brands and solutions. These tech profiles in turn make up our ViB Community.
Our ViB Community prioritizes an opt-in approach, meaning the prospects in our database have chosen to be there — volunteering their personal information for use by our partners.
The outcome is precise data that flawlessly captures intent, providing mutual value to both parties and allowing us to connect solution providers with high-quality leads — leads that are not only precisely segmented but also genuinely interested in the solutions offered.
Want to learn more about how VIB could become your go-to B2B lead generation partner?