Exclusive lists the way forward in B2B?

A quick look at the B2B list marketplace reveals a plethora of databases for sale at low prices – prices that are continuing to freefall. Low prices might sound like a great development for B2B marketers, but unfortunately it’s not. Many of these prospect databases are not up-to-date and lack fresh insight because the same few sources of B2B data form their backbone.

The low costs means there is little margin available for the owners to bring new data on board or update them. Furthermore, the majority of these lists have been purchased so many times that the business decision makers on them have been bombarded to death with communications, which on the whole are of little relevance to them.

These factors have combined to create the tired and unsustainable data marketplace we live in today, which sees B2B list owners facing diminishing revenue from their lists and marketers diminishing returns from their customer acquisition campaigns.

So what is the solution? I’d argue that it is the wide availability and use of exclusive data sets. In fact, I’ll put my neck on the line and say that these lists are set to revolutionise and re-invigorate the B2B marketing industry over the next twelve months.

While the creation and use of exclusive prospect databases is not new, what is turning the tide in their favour are static and slowly growing marketing budgets and increasingly demanding financial directors. Both are encouraging B2B marketers to focus more on reducing the risk and justifying return on investment from their customer acquisition campaigns. It’s a far cry from the free spending pre-recession days, when the evaluation of campaigns was often cursory. 

To maximise ROI from their new business efforts marketers need access to strong insight on genuine decision-maker leads in their industry sector – leads their competitors ideally don’t have access to. Exclusive databases provide this access. 

These are databases perfectly suited to the B2B industry because marketers generally sell higher value goods and services to businesses. Therefore, they are more amenable to investing slightly more of their budget in an exclusive partnership with a data supplier when they can clearly see the huge rewards they offer in generating new customers.

There are providers of exclusive data sets in the marketplace who are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and offer even greater opportunities for B2B marketers to learn about their prospects and therefore boost their chances of converting them into customers. These suppliers are offering marketers the chance to ask questions directly to their prospects. These can be related to contract renewal dates, buying behaviour or new product development, for example. By embracing this opportunity marketers will generate a very detailed picture of their prospects which will further have a positive impact on their sales efforts.

In fact, in the near future I can see B2B marketers outsourcing their entire customer acquisition process to these exclusive data providers to reduce fixed costs – opening up a wealth of opportunity for smart data suppliers. Those who don’t want to be left behind should take serious note.

There is no excuse for B2B marketers to ignore a relevant exclusive database if they are serious about driving sales and at the same time maximise ROI from their budgets. Data is a means to an end in driving sales, and the fact is smarter, exclusive data sets deliver cost effective quick sales.

Soon, standard B2B databases may ultimately not prove to be cost effective even if they are given away free. Exclusive data sets are poised to re-invigorate and revolutionise the B2B data industry and help wise B2B marketers exceed their customer acquisition targets.

By Andrew Colwell, marketing director, B2Group


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