The Ultimate Guide to Buying Lead Lists

Author
Dmitry Chervonyi
Published
Nov 24, 2021
Reading duration
6m
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To be profitable, every business must have clients to buy their products. Where do customers come from? Some search for your products and the percentage of these clients is small. The bigger percentage comes from qualified leads whom you convince and show to them why they need your products. That is why a lead list is required to fuel the sales pipeline, increase customers and revenue, and, ultimately, make the business more profitable. Sales leads are either generated internally by the company’s marketing team or bought from suppliers.

When to buy a lead list

At times, the usual organic lead generation strategies are not sufficient to help achieve the company’s targets. Therefore, for an organization not to fall far behind in sales, it makes sense to purchase business lists. Such an approach allows business owners to add new clients, increase the number of existing customers, and take the business to the next level. At the same time, it is sometimes not recommended to do so (without the necessary knowledge and strategies) because of the associated risks involved. However, at times, it is the only viable option.

Thus, if you need to buy leads, you must know how to proceed to obtain a quality list that will produce effective results.

How to buy leads 

Target audience selection

The starting point when considering buying B2B lead lists is to know your target audience. Without this analysis, you are more likely to end up buying a poor-quality lead list. It consists mostly of contacts who are not likely to buy your products. As such, target audience selection allows you to select new leads specific to your target market.

The best way to compile information for your targeted audience is to look at your existing customers' contact information and find similarities. The parameters for this task are the demographic data, company size, technologies that are used, and the specific industry of these companies. The analysis will provide a clear template for your ideal leads who are most likely to become your customers.

Pay more

Usually, most lead list companies provide a business lead list with 10,000 prospects. However, the downside is that, in most cases, these leads are rarely refreshed. Therefore, the probability of having a highly inaccurate list is very high. To resolve this issue, more lead generation companies are now offering monthly or annual plans. It enables the lists to be constantly refreshed to maintain the high accuracy of the leads.

If you are buying a target list, the cost will vary from supplier to supplier, depending on the following factors:

  • The number of leads. For example, 1000, 10,000, etc., to cater for different company sizes.
  • The target audience. In some specific industries, B2B leads are usually more expensive compared to the general industries. 
  • Details about the lead. Containing only general information like email addresses will cost less compared to the more detailed data like the revenue of the lead, what they like, their jobs, etc. 
  • The accuracy of lead information will make the purchased lead list cost more as the leads are verified and contain precise data. 

Therefore, when purchasing lists, these are some of the factors you should consider. Also, before you buy, you should be more concerned about the quality of the sales leads rather than the price.

How to use a lead list 

1) Prepare for research

After you have acquired your list, it will be cold. Be careful of taking the list and start sending sales messages. It could create a big disaster for you as you are most likely to damage your sender reputation and end up getting blacklisted. Research is required to double-verify the correctness of the information and start the sales process with a refined better list. After research, you will be able to gain a whole lot of insights on your leads and come up with a better strategy suited for that particular lead. 

2) Soft outreach

Diving straight into the inbox of a lead without any previous communication and selling your products is a blunder and a big no. Start slowly by establishing communication first. It can be done by sending information to the prospect. Provide expert advice and gradually prove that you are the best in your industry. Once the communication has been established, you can then proceed to move the prospect into the sales pipeline.

3) Prospective research

Before using the lead list, the first step is to clean it up. Go through each contact information and check if they satisfy your customer profile or they are miles away from your ideal picture of potential leads. Then, disqualify the leads that are not interested and remain with those who are more likely to respond to your proposals. 

Not only does the cleaning process enable you to retain high-quality prospects, but it also helps you to remove invalid emails, which can seriously damage your sender reputation, if not excluded from your email list. The reason for this research is to get more details on your prospect so that you can strategize your sales campaign as stated earlier on. 

This task is easily done by checking the lead's LinkedIn profile to see if the information is still valid. Also, you can check their company's website for more information. This process can either be done manually or using a program software with additional features to check multiple parameters.

The use of selection software is much more preferable as it greatly minimizes the time required to clean your list to remain with ideal customer contact information.

Once you have finished getting the details, you can start your campaign with increased confidence in retaining most of your leads. 

4) For startups

For startups, which are usually small businesses, buying a leads list must be a temporary solution. It's better to perfect your lead generation efforts and marketing campaign strategy. Warm leads are the most effective as they come from signing in to your websites, following your social platforms, and downloading your content. They have shown interest in your product through interaction with your services. Once a company has come up with its marketing strategy, the sales team must move towards lead generation or order lead generation service from a third-party company. 

5) Be careful about complaints 

Before you use any purchased lead list, you must clean it up first before use. Failure to do so will result in:

  1. Complaints from the people who are particular about receiving emails from companies they have subscribed to. 
  2. Getting your email address being sent to the spam folder. 
  3. Leads ignore and don’t open your emails.

All these factors can result in you being charged with privacy violations and paying a large number of fines. Also, your sender’s reputation becomes compromised, and you risk being blacklisted. Recovering from this issue is an incredibly hard task to accomplish. Therefore, to eliminate the possibility of that ever occurring to your business, take the stated precaution measures of dealing with the lead data from cold lists to retain the credibility of your domain. 

Pros and cons of buying leads 

Pros

  • The most common reason companies buy cold leads is to save time. The list-building process requires a lot of resources to set up data collection points, including a marketing team, money, and time. Unfortunately, time is usually against many small businesses, making the option of buying leads more viable. The leads list enables the marketing sales reps to perform all their strategies. And still, they have enough time to assess what might have gone wrong in their strategies. It enables the company to move quickly to the next level whilst generating leads of their own. 
  • Next, there is the quality of leads. Reputable suppliers provide high-quality sales leads with accurate data, which is specific to your ideal target market. The lists usually include most contact information, including phone numbers, marital status, job titles, etc. Acquiring such leads makes your marketing much easier. The ROI is high with a possibility of increased annual revenue. It is particularly useful when the company needs to boost its existing lead generation B2B database. 

Cons

Whilst buying leads can be advantageous in some cases, there are associated risks in buying leads. 

  • First, there is the issue of how fresh the list is. Other lists can have more than two years without any updates done on them. These lists are stale and contain low-quality data, such as email addresses that no longer function. Also, a list that goes for so long without being updated provides lots of incorrect information as many people have already changed their positions. Such lists are costly as you need to clean them first, which presents another demanding task if it is to be done manually. Then, there is the issue of crippling your reputation if you skip the cleaning process or if it wasn't thorough. 
  • Second, there is the issue of buying a list that has been sold to more than 20 companies. Just as you have the urgency of buying a list, many companies have done that and used the list. It is even worse when your competitors have that particular list. Most probably, they have exhausted all potential customers and proceeded to close deals. In many cases, you will have wasted your resources on that list. 
  • Then, there is the issue of addressing these leads. Cold leads require a different approach compared to the ones you generate yourself. The fact that these people don't know you presents a challenge in effectively communicating with them without raising any suspicion, which might hinder the sales line progress. Without a carefully detailed approach strategy, your overall sales success is already compromised before even starting the sales campaign. 
  • Another disadvantage of buying leads is that if your business operates in a specific industry, you might struggle to obtain high-quality leads matching your target audience criteria. As such, you may end up buying a list with half of what you are looking for. 
  • Another factor is the cost. Quality leads, which have been double- or triple-verified, are more expensive compared to the ones that have been just collected. As such, obtaining quality leads that will be useful in your sales process requires you to spend more money. Therefore, a thorough evaluation of the costs and benefits is essential. 
  • Then, there is the issue of questionable lists. The cheapest lists must be treated with caution as most of them are of poor quality. As such, if you don't have a reasonable budget and you are racing against time, take note of falling into the trap of buying cheap lead lists from questionable vendors.

CAN-SPAM Act

CAN-SPAM is an acronym for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing. It provides rules and restrictions for digital communication. It contains the rules for email marketing and communication.

As a business that uses email for marketing strategies, you must read and understand the requirements to stay on the right side of the law.

Violations of the rules attract hefty amounts of fines and/or getting banned. For email marketing, the rules in the simplified version are:

  1. Never use deceptive subject lines to get new leads to open your emails. 
  2. If your emails are an advertisement, this should be clearly stated in the email body. 
  3. You need to provide an unsubscribe option for your subscribers to opt out if they are no longer interested in receiving more emails from you. 
  4. Your emails must contain a postal address.

Spam Traps

Spam traps are the emails created to catch spammers. They look like real addresses, but they have never been used to send an email. To prevent falling into such traps, every email on your target list must be legit. You must, therefore, eliminate all the emails that are unclear of their owners.

Conclusion

Under normal circumstances, a company must aim to develop its own leads list. But some scenarios require one to buy one. Therefore, take note to implement all the best practices when dealing with a purchased list to prevent your company from getting into trouble.

Buying a leads list is easy and risky if you don't know what you are doing. For this reason, Belkins is there to provide appropriate and accurate leads for businesses wanting to achieve more. Follow all the steps stated above, and you won't regret the decision.

Dmitry Chervonyi

Dmitry Chervonyi

Chief Marketing Officer at Belkins
Since starting his career in sales & marketing 9 years ago, Dmitry never stopped searching for new opportunities that can turn the tables on sales development and the ways that shape B2B relationships. He is always eager to share his findings with the audience.
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