4 Common B2B Data Lists Challenges And How To Prep For Them

January 26, 2024

ViB Editorial Team

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Pop quiz: Relying on large third-party B2B data lists guarantees marketing success — true or false?

And the answer is… “Drumroll…” False! But then, you’re probably wondering why businesses spend millions on third-party leads. The two biggest problems with B2B lead generation are that businesses don’t know how to acquire quality leads. The second issue is their inability to use bad data lists strategically.

When businesses think about B2B data lists with the Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information of prospective companies, they instinctively believe the more, the merrier. They send thousands of emails to uninterested individuals with poor open rates and responses, wasting valuable time and resources. 

There’s no denying that B2B data lists are crucial for growth and success in the highly competitive modern business landscape. 

They provide marketers, sales professionals, and other integrated teams with the necessary information to execute targeted marketing campaigns, nurture leads, connect with decision-makers, and analyze performance based on market trends.  

According to Web marketing, 93% of B2B marketers email businesses to generate more revenue, build brand awareness, and achieve other objectives.

However, there’s no point in having silos of third-party business contact data if the information is inaccurate, incomplete, irrelevant, outdated, duplicated, or even corrupted. 

According to Sales Intel, bad data lists cost businesses nearly $13 million annually. Additionally, a report by Cognism claims over 40% of B2B contact lists or leads are invalid. As a result, businesses lose a huge chunk of their marketing and sales budget before their lead nurturing and other processes even begin. 

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In this post, we’ll share more challenges with B2B data lists you must prepare for and share valuable tips to overcome them. 

So, if you want to avoid wasting time hunting for accurate data or correcting errors like 50% of data managers, this is for you. 

How businesses typically acquire B2B data lists

First, let’s talk about how businesses acquire B2B email marketing lists. If you’re new to this industry, understanding how B2B data providers collect and sell lead lists can prompt you to make more informed decisions when buying and using them. Here are the methods used:

  • Public records and government databases: Most B2B data providers use web scraping tactics to leverage public records and government databases to access official and verified business information. In other words, they do the legwork for businesses and reduce or eliminate the need for an internal lead-generation strategy. 
  • Partnerships and alliances: Many B2B data providers partner with businesses from various industries to provide clients with a broader pool of contacts and create opportunities to connect and collaborate. 
  • Trade shows and conferences: Many traditional lead generation companies employ agents who attend industry-specific events to collect data through interactions, business card exchanges, and registrations. 
  • Social media listening: Social media listening goes beyond conventional web scraping. Lead providers leverage tools that monitor online conversations, interactions, and mentions on popular platforms like Meta, X, Reddit, etc., to provide real-time data to businesses. 
  • Opt-In subscription via email: Email opt-in is among the most popular lead generation strategies data providers use to build and sell consented B2B data lists. This method ensures businesses willingly share their information for specific content or offerings.

As you can see, these methods vary significantly, especially in terms of data quality. In most cases, there’s no way to tell if you’ve bought a compliant B2B data list, as many shady providers collect data without consent, violating the policies of regulatory bodies like the CAN-SPAM Act. This is why ViB stands out, providing businesses with ethically sourced, highly qualified leads. 

5 key challenges with B2B data lists and how to solve them

Without further ado, here are the five key challenges associated with bad B2B contact lists and expert tips to overcome them:

1. Challenge: Poor targeting

Effective targeting is crucial for B2B email marketing campaigns. It helps businesses do more than reach a broad audience. It can connect them with the right companies or decision-makers interested in their products or services. However, when using third-party B2B leads, businesses must deal with various challenges to achieve their engagement goals in terms of open rate, conversion, etc. 

Here are the most common challenges:

Problem 1: Receiving mismatched audience profiles

Perhaps the biggest challenge with B2B lists is the disparity between ideal customer profiles and the leads obtained from third-party sources. 

The lack of alignment can result in communications that fall on deaf ears. Since leads cost money, the last thing you want is to have a significant percentage of irrelevant contacts that affect your overall ROI. 

Tip: Break down the B2B leads in your CRM into segments based on industry, company size, or geographical location. Doing so will allow you to get the most out of your data by tailoring your content according to specific audience segments. 

Problem 2: Receiving Inaccurate demographic information

Third-party leads generally lack accurate demographic details, making it challenging to tailor your messaging based on industry, company size, or other crucial factors. This leads to generic campaigns that miss the mark.

Tip: Gradually gather more information about your leads over time. This approach ensures that your targeting strategies evolve as you deepen your understanding of each lead, leading to more personalized interactions.

Problem 3: Having limited behavioral insights

You can’t craft personalized and targeted content without firsthand knowledge of a lead’s behavior and engagement history. Understanding how leads interact with your brand is key to effective targeting.

Tip: Leverage predictive analytic tools like Hubspot, Segment, or Funnel.io to identify the patterns and behaviors of high-value leads. This data-driven approach improves your ability to prioritize and target prospects with the highest likelihood of conversion.

2. Challenge: Low open rates

Open rates represent the percentage of recipients who open an email, offering a tangible measure of engagement. They provide insights into the level of interest and relevance your emails hold for your audience. 

A high open rate signifies compelling content, effective subject lines, and a well-targeted audience. Conversely, a low open rate signals a potential mismatch between your message and your recipients’ expectations. 

Here are the key challenges businesses face when sending B2B emails to third-party B2B data lists and tips to overcome them:

Problem 1: Leads are too cold

Third-party leads often lack a prior connection or engagement history with your brand. 

They could be wondering, why am I even receiving this email? Can I trust what they’re trying to tell me?

The cold nature of this outreach makes it more challenging to capture attention and entice decision-makers to open emails from unknown sources.

Tip: Find semblances of familiarity to make the first connection. For example, work from accounts who might already be familiar with you. Or reference an external partner that’s a mutual connection. 

For example, by launching campaigns from our ViB domain that tech professionals from our ViB Community already know and trust, we’re able to help clients see a much higher open rate.

Philippe Bourdon, active ViB Community member since 2021
CIO and CISO, Mastech Digital
Like many business leaders today, Bourdon receives over 100 unsolicited sales emails a day — all of which he sends directly to the trash folder.

Unlike the cold emails he receives from unknown senders, Bourdon routes all emails from ViB to a separate folder, which he reads daily.

“The ViB Community cuts my research time in half. Plus, I can trust the quality of the vendors I find on ViB.”

Problem 2: Leads have mismatched expectations

Building on the point of cold leads, using third-party B2B leads can introduce a mismatch — between the expectations set by your email content and the interests of your target businesses. 

When the content doesn’t align with what the leads anticipate, it results in low open rates.

Tip: Segment third-party B2B leads with precision, ensuring your email content aligns closely with the specific needs and interests of each business niche and segment. If you can, really tailor your emails to the recipient’s persona type and role.

Problem 3: Unoptimized sending times

Email delivery timing plays a crucial role in open rates. Suboptimal sending times, such as after business hours, can result in lower open rates. Additionally, failure to consider time zones can make you look lazy in the eyes of companies in different cities or regions. 

Tip: Conduct A/B testing to identify the most effective times for engagement, increasing the likelihood of emails being opened promptly upon receipt.

3. Challenge: Damaged domain reputation

A business’s domain reputation is essential for success online. 

That domain reputation affects email delivery, how easily people find the business on search engines, and how much trust people have in the brand. 

But when using third-party B2B leads, there’s a risk of damaging this reputation, and it’s important to fix it. Here are the main challenges:

See the 10 B2B data providers we trust

Problem 1: More complaints about spam

Using third-party B2B leads without checking them properly can lead to sending emails to people who don’t want them. This often means more people complain about getting spam, which hurts the domain’s reputation.

Tip: Regularly clean and update contact lists. Get rid of people who don’t engage or aren’t interested. This helps avoid high spam complaints.

Problem 2: Getting automatically marked as spam

If third-party B2B leads have old or unverified email addresses, the emails might end up in spam folders, from the get go!

Having a business’s emails marked as spam will hurt the domain’s reputation, even more.

Tip: When getting leads from third parties, confirm whether they’ve consented to receive business emails. With ViB for example, members from the ViB Community are opted-in to receive emails, so that we can help them get matched with the right tech solutions.

Problem 3: Not many people engaging

B2B leads from third parties might not be interested in your business’s offers. This leads to fewer people opening emails or more emails bouncing, which is bad for the domain’s reputation.

Tip: When dealing with new B2B leads, send a few emails. Increase the volume gradually based on how people engage. This helps keep positive engagement and avoid problems.

4. Challenge: Data decay

Data decay is when the information in your B2B contact list gets old or inaccurate over time. 

This happens as people change jobs, companies, or contact details. For businesses, it means dealing with outdated data that can make reaching the right audience a real challenge.

Problem: Large databases are hard to maintain

When you get third-party B2B leads, data decay becomes a bigger issue. 

The contacts you get might be old or inactive, and you might not know about changes in companies or industries in real-time. This makes it hard to keep your contact list accurate and up-to-date.

Tip: Regularly clean your B2B data lists to update business contact details and get rid of old or wrong information. Running frequent checks on your CRM data and using email verification tools is a smart way to prevent data decay. 

Also, choose data providers that offer a more maintained and engaged database, like ViB.

5. Challenge: Legal implications

Staying on the right side of the law is crucial in B2B lead generation. It’s about following rules set by important bodies like GDPR and CAN-SPAM to protect individual and business privacy. When it comes to third-party B2B leads, there are legal challenges you must overcome, including:

Problem 1: No negotiated consent

Acquiring explicit consent from individuals becomes more complex when dealing with third-party B2B leads.

Ensuring that these leads have opted in to receive communications is essential to comply with regulations, and any oversight can result in legal consequences.

Tip: Before engaging with third-party B2B leads, conduct thorough due diligence on their data collection practices. Ensure they have obtained proper consent and adhere to relevant data protection regulations.

Problem 2: Data handling practices

The way third-party B2B leads handle data can pose legal risks. If these leads don’t adhere to proper data protection and privacy practices, businesses partnering with them may inadvertently violate regulations, leading to penalties, damaged domain and brand reputation, and lawsuits.

Tip: Document and communicate clearly with third-party providers regarding data handling practices. Transparent collaboration reduces the risk of legal implications and fosters a shared commitment to regulatory compliance.

Problem 3: Jurisdictional variances

Different regions may have varying regulations concerning B2B communications. Engaging with third-party leads without clearly understanding these jurisdictional nuances can lead to unintentional breaches and legal complications.

Tip: Periodically conduct compliance audits to ensure that all B2B lead generation activities align with prevailing regulations. Regular checks and updates mitigate the risk of unintentional non-compliance.

Is there a way to skip these challenges?

There are a ton of challenges that naturally come with buying B2B data lists. 

The very business model of data providers is what could be complicated: automated web scraping, mass data collection

ViB is your go-to partner for B2B demand generation, trusted by top tech companies for delivering reliable results. Using a unique community-based method, ViB connects businesses with potential buyers in a way that goes beyond traditional lead generation.

Here’s why you should choose us for your B2B lead generation campaigns and communication optimization needs:

ViB's unique approach to quality data lists

1. Zero-Party Data

At ViB, we keep it simple and trustworthy. When people willingly share info by creating accounts and joining our ViB Community, that’s our zero-party data.

This zero-party approach data collection gives us a direct line to your potential leads, making it more dependable. Plus, we’re community members have intrinsic value for being a part of our network.

That’s exactly why we avoid third-party data collected through web scraping – it tends to decay faster.

2. Flexible B2B demand generation options

ViB empowers businesses to start small and scale big with various B2B demand generation solutions..

Whether you need buy targeted leads in tech, pipeline-generating appointments, well-attended webinars, or custom research, ViB offers customizable solutions to meet diverse marketing goals.

3. Assured ROI

Through a consultative process, ViB identifies target segments within the community that align with your goals. The demand generation solutions then facilitate precise matches, ensuring that leads are not just numerous but accurately targeted and self-qualified

In other words, we provide businesses with the confidence of assured ROI, improving lead-to-deal conversions through access to a qualified and engaged community.

Try ViB Emails for free

How Vib Email Service Works

Thinking about tapping on more credible and accurate zero-party B2B data lists? 

If you are, we recommend trying ViB emails — at no risk — to understand better how it works and unlock the true potential of B2B lead generation for your business. 

With our trial, you can send one business email to up to 75,000 businesses in the technology industry on the ViB Community

Don’t miss your chance to get first-hand experience leveraging ViB emails to send targeted campaigns, drive awareness, and maximize ROI. Sign up for a low-risk trial here.

There’s a better alternative to buying lead lists and tedious list cleaning. Try ViB Emails’ unique community-based approach to lead generation — and reach up to 75,000 contacts with a low-cost trial.

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