Table of Contents

    What is B2B leads data?

    B2B leads data delivers a comprehensive list of historical and real-time details (such as contact information) of prospects (lead lists). It includes business information and contact details of business owners and decision-makers for small businesses, start-ups, and corporations. B2B sales leads should be categorized and organized in order to improve the customer journey. 

    B2B leads data contributes to sales intelligence and helps build the target audiences and customer profiles. 

    What are the types of B2B leads data?

    A qualified lead is a nurtured and certified sales lead. B2B leads are categorized based on the levels of their qualification. Their qualification level indicates their position in the sales process or funnel.

    • Information Qualified Lead (IQL): When prospects offer their contact details to access gated data or content, they are termed IQL. Typically considered a cold lead, an IQL is interested in the information about the company and its products but does not indicate any buying intent. IQLs usually get a ‘Thank you’ message with ‘learn more’ links to take them to the next stage in the sales funnel, and are often added to email lists. 
    • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): When IQLs download product or service-specific information from a company, they are considered MQL. Treated as warm leads, MQLs get offers for additional content, free trials, free consultations, price estimates, and information about relevant events.
    • Sales Ready Lead (SRL): When prospects request to interact with the sales team or company reps, indicating their purchase intent, they move to the next stage in the sales funnel as SRLs.
    • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): An SQL is a hot lead, indicating that the decision-maker has your attention and is ready to buy. Companies make a quick moves to negotiate, close deals, and convert the leads into sales.

    Where does the data come from?

    B2B leads come from multiple sources, ranging from manual methods to social media. The sources also depend on the company’s products and services, and at which stage of the sales funnel the prospects make the buying decision.

    • Manual methods: The manual methods include phone and email communication to identify potential leads. As these methods need time and effort to collect the leads, it is not very cost-effective or scalable.
    • Events: Various industry, trade, and corporate events can be good sources for leads. Visitors and company representatives attending the events provide the contact details and may also fill surveys or contact forms. The information goes into the leads database, or CRM tool.
    • Browser cookies: They can collect a lot of information about website traffic and visitors, including pages viewed, time spent on specific pages, number of visits, products views, and the channel directing them to the website. Cookies present a precise method to determine what the leads are looking for and which strategies can efficiently convert the new leads into sales.
    • Lead Capture Forms: Visitors of the company website fill forms to provide their contact details and information on how they reached the website. These lead capture forms often offer incentives of gated content, product or service discounts, or newsletter subscription. These forms provide a lot of leads with minimal effort.
    • Company registries: Web scraping tools collect information from government registries about companies, multi-channel contact details, and key personnel.
    • Social Media: Automated tools scrape the social media accounts (commonly LinkedIn for B2B lead generation) and use NLP (Natural Language Processing) to collect information on leads. The information derived includes contact details, expansion plans, growth strategy, as well as buying intent. Social media tends to get regularly updated, and the collected information improves the timeliness of the datasets.

    What types of attributes should I expect?

    B2B data typically includes data points such as firmographic information, contact details of key persons, and buying intent. 

    • Company Profile:
      • Company name
      • Company size – SME, enterprise, employees, revenue  
      • Industry – verticals with SIC, GICS, or NAICS codes, as applicable
      • Legal status – Inc, LLC, public, private, non-profit, NGO
      • Locations – region, country, state, city, zip code
      • Structure – parent and subsidiary companies if any, headquarters
      • Contact database – address, phone, email, social media presence
      • Additional information about credit rating, revenue, sales, profits, dividends, any announcement of M&A, any relevant news, and potentially, information about the company’s target demographics
    • Contact persons:
      • Name
      • Job Title – department, position in the organizational structure
      • Contact details – geographical location, office address, email ids, phone numbers, social media accounts
    • Products and Services of interest:
      • Ad clicks
      • Email link clicks
      • Potential products and services of interest
      • Visits to website, specific product or services pages 
      • Social media engagement
      • Account activity levels
      • Purchase intent signals

    How should I test the quality of the data?

    The quality of B2B leads is directly determined by how many leads get converted to sales; high-quality leads convert to sales. Evaluating leads on BUNT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) helps verify if they meet your requirements.

    Ensuring data accuracy, consistency, and timeliness is critical for successful utilization of B2B data. 

    To test the quality of the data:

    • Ascertain the data timeliness and the sources are recently updated.
    • Confirm that the sources are credible.
    • Evaluate leads for suitability based on BUNT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing).
    • Test data for accuracy and consistency. 
    • Track results and compare data from different vendors to evaluate the effectiveness.

    Who uses B2B leads data?

    Sales and marketing professionals use B2B leads data for demand generation, content marketing, email marketing, and to identify and build their target markets and build ideal customer profiles. They leverage the contact details to run multichannel marketing campaigns and communicate with the decision-makers. They leverage the information for data enrichment of internal datasets in order to improve the ROI of marketing investments.

    What are the common challenges when buying this type of data?

    The greatest challenge when buying B2B leads data is the timeliness of data. Obsolete contact details affect marketing and sales initiatives while also limiting the success of marketing campaigns. Privacy compliance is another challenge, and the data providers must certify compliance with the region and industry-specific privacy regulations. Quality data, data completeness, accuracy, and consistency are also of concern, similar to other categories of B2B data.

    • Data timeliness: The value of B2B leads depends on how accurate and recent the information is. Quality leads must be up to date. If the phone number of the decision-makers is not updated, or if the new location of a company is not available in the dataset, the marketing efforts will not result in the expected outcomes. If data is derived from social media, its validity and timeliness depend on when it was last collected and when the reference websites were last updated. The datasets must reflect the recent changes in all the aspects of the leads, including changes in organizational structure and affiliations. 
    • Privacy compliance: B2B data contains contact details of key personnel, which fall in the category of personal information and must comply with privacy regulations. Data derived from online sources and social media may have Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which also needs to be protected under the privacy regulations. Managing industry or region-specific regulations such as GDPR and CCPA is a challenge, and the vendors must provide the relevant compliance certifications.
    • Data accuracy and source credibility: Accuracy of B2B leads data is closely associated with the credibility of the sources. Information from government sources or the companies themselves is usually trustworthy. However, information derived from other sources may need additional verification. For example, visitors to events or websites may intentionally provide inaccurate information. Another reason affecting data accuracy is the quality of data scraping tools, and data collected using this method may need authentication from other sources.
    • Data completeness and consistency: Incomplete data leads to limited use of the dataset for the intended purpose. Marketers use B2B leads data for targeted communication, and if the data provides incomplete contact details, the planned communication gets affected. Data completeness also depends on the use cases, where data may be complete for one use case and incomplete for another. If the data collected across diverse sources is not consistent, it may need extra efforts to reconcile and verify.  

    What are similar data types?

    B2B leads data is similar to B2B Intent Data, B2B Contact Data, B2B Marketing Data, Firmographic Data, Technographic Data, Business Ownership Data, and other categories of business data.

    You can find a variety of examples of B2B and company data in the Explorium Data Gallery.

    Sign up for Explorium’s free trial to access the data available on the platform. 

    What are the most common use cases?

    B2B marketing, lead generation, and Account Based Marketing are the most common use cases for B2B leads data.

    • B2B Marketing: Data-driven B2B marketing personalizes and scales business-to-business marketing communication. Using a broad range of B2B data categories such as B2B leads data, it aims to target leads with personalized content to improve engagement.  B2B marketing improves ROI on marketing spend by focused sales efforts.
    • Lead Generation: Marketers leverage information collected from search engines, lead capture forms, and social media to improve the effectiveness of their marketing activities. Data-driven lead generation uses the collected information to recognize purchase intent and identify the sales funnel stage of the prospective leads. It scores over the  traditional lead generation on scalability and automated prioritization of prospects. Several B2B categories contribute to lead generation, and B2B leads data is one of them. 
    • Account-Based Marketing (ABM): ABM or Key Account Marketing is used in B2B marketing to target existing high-value accounts and generate more revenue. Besides improving the ROI on marketing spend, ABM helps build a long-term relationship with the existing customers. Marketers use B2B leads data to uncover the additional opportunities in the current accounts, identify key decision-makers, and strategize the communication. 

    Which industries commonly use this type of data?

    B2B companies use this data across diverse industries for marketing and sales, including travel, tourism, hospitality, entertainment, retail, CPG, eCommerce, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, hi-tech, banks, insurance, and financial services.         

    How can you judge the quality of your vendors?

    Customer feedback on the vendor website is your first stop in judging the vendor quality. You can then examine the case studies and leverage demos for further analysis. As the final step, interact with vendor reps to get any queries resolved. 

    • Customer reviews and testimonials: Many vendors provide reviews, ratings, and testimonies on their websites. This customer feedback is valuable in assessing vendor strengths and weaknesses. Customer feedback also shows how the vendor interacts with the customer. Customer ratings are numerical, indicating overall vendor quality. Reviews give more details about the industry vertical, project size, and the datasets used. Testimonials coming from partners or customers with long-term relationships with the vendor offer deeper insights into vendor quality. Customer feedback helps in estimating vendor reliability and suitability for your projects. 
    • Success stories and case studies: Vendors often highlight successful projects and case studies on their websites. Case studies describe the challenges customers faced and how the vendors’ contributions helped overcome those challenges. You can examine the case studies to see if your projects and challenges are similar.  Case studies can also be used to get insights into the methodology vendors use and if their datasets can match your requirements.
    • Demos and sample datasets: Demos help you understand the datasets and quality the vendor can provide. You can also assess if the data attributes are suitable for your intended use. Observing data in action builds trust in data quality and the ease of integration, especially when you consider how speedily you want to execute your projects. Some vendors may arrange live demos for you and also provide sample datasets for testing. Sample datasets present an opportunity to try out before deciding on the vendor.
    • Interacting with vendor reps: After narrowing down your selection of vendors based on customer feedback, case studies, and demos, you can take the final step of interacting with vendor reps. When discussing your requirements, you can get your queries resolved and check the availability of custom datasets. Personal interaction can clarify the decisive factors of vendor selection – integration efforts, delivery timelines, quality testing, and others. Interaction with reps is also an opportunity to weigh the possibility of doing multiple projects with the vendor and building a long-term partnership.