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5 Steps to Buying B2B Data for the Public Sector

GCL | 2 March 2021

To Buy or Not to Buy?

Data is one of your key tools and should be the raw material used to drive engagement through intelligence led decisions. Your team will spend hours developing your outreach strategy, crafting the perfect messaging and designing assets which capture attention. But all that effort is wasted if you then use an old or outdated database.

Too often experienced marketers overlook the data they have in their own databases which leads to one of their core tools becoming recycled, overused or outdated. We’ve seen it time and time again with clients big and small who elect to save money by reusing a database, only to find that a few days into a campaign they can’t get hold of anyone and half the businesses have closed!

Ensuring you have the correct data won’t solve all your problems but it will give you the best possible start to maximising the ROI for any campaign and surely that’s what we’re all here to do?


It’s a Question of Trust

Data, whether it’s intended to be used for email, social media, mail or phone outreach, can easily be overlooked due to the complexity of specific requirements. But shying away from the requirement can lead to poor results and decisions based on out of date intelligence. When you do decide to take the plunge and buy a new list there’s the issue of where to go and who to buy from?


The Right Time to Buy?

On top of all this, often organisations either don’t know when they need to buy new data or it is shifted down the priority list by shiny new solutions. The warning signs all too often aren’t recognised. With the slow attrition of results, it is easy to blame the guy on the phone or the process following the data input rather than the raw data itself. Just because it worked 2 years ago does not mean the data is the right fit for you now! Resources become misspent on corrections, wasted calls, underperforming campaigns when all that was required was a bit of time spent finding the right data up front.

Working with hundreds of clients on thousands of campaigns over 30+ years, we have built an enviable knowledge of how, where and when to get the best data. Based on our experiences we’ve put together a best practice tool kit for sourcing the best B2B data for your outreach campaigns.


Stage 1: Clearly Define your Data Requirements

Before buying a database, it is important to understand what requirements the data needs to satisfy and if those requirements are realistic. All too often marketers rush into buying data they think they need; only to find the requirements they thought they had didn’t drive them to source the correct data. Work backwards from what requirements the data needs to fulfil. Begin by identifying your KPI’s. You can then work backwards to build a conversion funnel. Once this is aligned with accurate target personas, you will be in a position to define exactly what you require from your data.


Stage 2: Know your Source!

With Data it’s important that you trust the supplier and the quality of information you’re buying. Ensuring that data is of the best fit and highest quality for the purpose not only supports your existing campaigns but will give you real options for the future. We’ve all seen the “flash sale” or million records for an unbelievable rate. However, large volume doesn’t always beget quality and as with anything in life often buying cheap means buying twice.

If you are unsure about a particular untested supplier ask for references from multiple reputable companies and don’t be afraid to ask how they source their data. Questions around provenance, collection techniques and GDPR compliance are common practice, and the comprehensiveness of the answer can reveal a lot about the supplier.


Stage 3: Consider Your Options

Now that you know what’s on offer and for how much, is purchasing data still the right option? Purchasing data could be the right option for you however if the data available out there on the open market doesn’t match your requirements then you may want to consider other options such as building the data or cleansing the data you already have.

Building data may seem like an expensive option but you will know that every record built will match your exact customer profile. Meaning it could pay off longer term. Again, ask your providers for their recommendations on which option is best.


Stage 4: Make it Work for You

Make sure that everything about the data works for you. The format, quantity and timing of your data purchase needs to be right. If you really need 100,000 records do you need them all right now? Would online access or drawdown service work better for you? Remember that the larger the order the more likely you are to get flexibility on delivery and pricing.


Stage 5: Test, Test and Test Again

Most importantly – Test it! If a data company won’t give you reasonable samples (at least 10 or more records) then walk away, you wouldn’t invest in a car you’d never driven or house you hadn’t seen, don’t let data be any different.



Finding the right data that performs for your business is an art form and may take several attempts to get it right, however knowing what to look for and how to avoid the pitfalls can make the process easier. Be realistic with your requirements and always test the data before committing to a large purchase. When in doubt get help and work with a data partner you can trust to deliver you quality data for any eventuality.

For more detail on which data optimisation options would benefit your marketing outreach, download our guide:

Marketing Data Guide