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How to Build a B2B Contact List for ABM: Part 1 – Getting Started

How to Build a B2B Contact List for ABM: Part 1 – Getting StartedSuccessful ABM programs consistently engage the right contacts in the right accounts. That’s why every ABM strategy always starts out with a targeted account and B2B contact list. But an organization’s key decision makers can sometimes be very hard to identify and profile, even more so if you want this process to scale.

We’re putting together this blog series to help you out with ABM list building. In upcoming posts, we’ll take a detailed look at several proven strategies for creating ABM-focused contact lists that contain the right stakeholders and the right information about them.

To kick things off, our first topic will focus on the essential things you need to have in place to ensure a productive and successful contact list building program. Use this post as a checklist of sorts on the prerequisites of account selection and profiling.

Chief Marketer outlines three key ingredients to help ensure you choose the right accounts and pave the way for accurate contact profiling:

 

Define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and target personas

An ideal customer profile (ICP) describes the companies that you really want to sell to. It lays down the specific characteristics and attributes that represent your best customers (companies that will benefit the most from your product or service). ICPs often include the following types of company information:

  • Industry
  • Business size
  • Annual revenue
  • Location
  • Technology in use
  • Target customer

A target persona (or buyer persona) pulls together the common characteristics of a specific buyer role (end-user, economic buyer, technical buyer, champion, etc.). Each target stakeholder is associated with at least one buyer persona. Buyer personas often outline:

  • Job title
  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Content preferences
  • Demographics
  • Preferred channels

 

Size up your market

The total addressable market (TAM) is the total number of potential accounts that meet your ICP. In short, it’s the total size of the market you can potentially sell to. Your TAM helps you determine if your market has sufficient amount of opportunities to meet your sales goals.

Another crucial number to know before account selection is your market coverage. Market coverage tells you how many potential accounts in your TAM are already your customers.

Getting the difference between your TAM and market coverage will give you an estimate of the opportunities still available in your target market.

 

Use the “3 C’s” to craft a data management plan

According to Chief Marketer, ABM targeting requires a marketing database that meets the 3 C’s of data quality: complete, current, and consistent.

 

Complete

Remember the attributes in your ICP and buyer personas? Each attribute will refer to a specific field in your target account and B2B contact list.

This is why no record in either list should contain missing values for any of those fields. Otherwise, your ABM targeting capabilities won’t be very effective.

 

Current

ABM data also needs to be regularly updated. As Forbes points out, B2B data decays really fast: each year, 18% of contact info changes and up to 60% of employees switch jobs.

Without continuous data maintenance, you won’t be able to reach the right people in your target accounts.

 

Consistent

ABM data comes from different sources, and it’s also used by different endpoints. Your website, landing pages, marketing campaigns, data vendor, etc. all contribute to the pool of data resources your ABM program relies on.

This opens up the possibility of inconsistent and incompatible data flowing through your ABM pipeline. In fact, as much as 41% of marketers say that inconsistent data across different technologies is their biggest barrier to maximizing ROI.

Conclusion:  Now, you’re all set to build your target account and B2B contact list for ABM. Next up, our topic will be building a B2B contact list for ABM using the data you already have, which most likely lives in your CRM.

Top Email Marketing Benchmarks of 2017 (and How to Do Better in 2018)

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In a few short days, we’ll be starting another email marketing year. But before we do that, let’s first look back at 2017 and see how well email marketers collectively performed. Even more importantly, let’s use these email marketing benchmarks as guideposts to do better in the upcoming year.

Today’s blog entry compiles key 2017 email marketing benchmarks from Delivera, MailChimp, Inbox Marketer, and SignUp.to. The numbers cited here describe 2017’s email marketing campaigns in terms of oepns, clicks, bounces, and other metrics, plus some actionable tips to help you improve in each category. Let’s dive right in.

 

Opens

While there’s some variation in the actual number, our data sources all seem to agree on the average email marketing open rates in 2017:

  • The average open rate is 31.92% for all industries (Delivera).
  • On average, overall open rate was recorded at 24.79% (SignUp.to)
  • Open rates increase to 28.8%, up from 25.9% in the past year (Inbox Marketer).
  • On a per-industry level, open rates ranged from 15.2% to 28.4% and averaged 21.8% (MailChimp)

This year, the following tactics resulted in better-than-average open rates:

  • Subject lines less than 50 characters long resulted in 58% open rate (Adestra).
  • The open rate for personalized emails is 1.4 times higher than generic ones (Statista).
  • Segmentation results in 14.3% higher open rates (MailChimp).

 

Click-Throughs

In two of the references we used, the findings indicate overall higher click-through rates for the year (although the number widely varied):

  • Overall, CTRs incrementally increased by 0.8 percentage points, averaging 5.8% (Inbox Marketer).
  • Average CTRs across all sectors were reported to be 3.57 percent (Delivera).
  • CTRs came in at 4.19% for all industries (SignUp.to).
  • Depending on the industry, CTRs ranged between 1.25% to 5.13%, averaging 2.62% (MailChimp).

Here’s how email best practices enhanced CTRs of email campaigns:

  • Trigger emails generate 2x higher CTRs than traditional emails (Super Office).
  • CTRs for segmented emails are more than 8x higher than non-segmented emails (Super Office).
  • Subject line personalization improves CTRs by 17.36% (MarketingSherpa).

 

Click-to-Open

While CTRs measure the number of clicks over the number of emails sent, the click-to-open rate (CTOR) expresses the number of clicks as a percentage of the total opens. That’s why CTOR is a better gauge of email engagement.

SignUp.to finds that average CTOR is around 11.88% (SignUp.to). Meanwhile, Smart Insights recommends aiming for a CTOR between 10% to 15%. If your campaign is underperforming in terms of click-to-opens, follow the below tips:

  • Write short and clear subject lines.
  • Keep your copy between 50 to 125 words long.
  • Make sure your call-to-action (CTA) stands out.
  • Close with a specific option and end with gratitude.

 

Hard Bounces

Email marketers remain very effective at keeping hard bounces in check. According to Inbox Manager, bounce rates remain low at just 0.9% across all industries in 2017.

MailChimp’s industry-level email marketing benchmarks report shows that hard bounce rates vary from industry to industry, with a minimum of 0.7% and a maximum of 1.2%.

To keep your hard bounce rates within acceptable limits, try out the following:

Use a double opt-in list signup method

Keep your list spotlessly clean

Verify each contact in your list

Work with a data scrubbing and maintenance company

 

Conclusion

While averages and aggregate numbers give us a quick way to compare and evaluate our campaigns, keep in mind that these headline values oftentimes don’t tell the whole story. That’s why we need to go past these top-level email marketing benchmarks to find out what’s really going on. In that sense, the best reference metrics will always be your own campaign results.

Happy New Year!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Email Marketing Campaign Plan

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Email Marketing Campaign Plan

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Here’s a number to think about: 3,800%. That’s the average email marketing ROI according to the DMA. But just because you’re doing email marketing, too, doesn’t guarantee you’ll also be getting the same spectacular returns. To generate decent ROI, you first need to develop a working email marketing campaign plan.

Putting together a coherent and doable email marketing campaign plan remains a daunting challenge for a great number of marketers. A lot of moving parts make up a typical email campaign, and it’s easy to get lost in the dizzying details. But with a clear planning process, the task becomes more manageable. Today’s post provides a step-by-step guide to campaign planning, plus a ton of email marketing tips and tricks to get you started.

 

Step 1: Set specific campaign goals and objectives

As email marketers, we’ve been raised to believe that everything starts with the list. But this mindset needs to change. Goals and objectives actually precede the email list. Everything only follows once you’ve identified the things your campaign needs to achieve.

Some email marketing campaign goals include:

  • Reaching out to cold prospects
  • Nurturing email prospects
  • Welcoming new subscribers
  • Verifying/Updating subscription
  • Promoting/Announcing new offers
  • Achieving conversion goals
  • Responding to triggers or actions

 

Step 2: Identify the types of emails to be used

Once you’ve specified your campaign targets, it’s time to figure out which types of emails work best for the tasks at hand. Marketers use dozens of email types, but these can be grouped into:

  • Prospecting Emails – These are emails sent to identify new opportunities for customer acquisition
  • Nurturing Emails – These are emails that cultivate relationships with leads, subscribers, or existing customers.
  • Promotional Emails – This type of emails announces offers or company-related news.
  • Transactional Emails – These emails are sent in response to a specific action or trigger.

 

Step 3: Know the target audience and segments

This looks like a fairly straightforward activity. But almost half of marketers still fail to segment their lists into relevant groups. There’s more to audience identification than simply knowing your target market. You have to define specific buyer personas that serve as your ideal audience profiles.

We’ve written about effective ways to segment a list in a previous post, and the key points are worth repeating here:

  1. Start with basic firmographics
  2. Map emails to sales funnel stages
  3. Follow a contact’s clickpath on your site4Find out what content they’re engaging with
  4. Find out what content they’re engaging with
  5. Keep track of responses and activities
  6. Apply a lead scoring scheme

 

Step 4: Flesh out a robust sending schedule

Now you’re ready to set the schedule and frequency of email send-outs. Different sources cite varying optimal times of day and days of week for sending out emails, but it’s good practice to test this out for your own campaign. The same holds true for sending frequency.

While not all campaigns need a detailed sending schedule, the following email marketing tips and tricks for scheduling will help you find the right send-out times:

  • Start with the widely-accepted “best” times for sending out emails (Tuesdays through Thursdays, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.)
  • Let subscribers indicate how often to receive emails
  • Keep initial follow-ups to within 3 days of last touch point
  • Sync nurturing emails with your content calendar
  • Tweak schedule and frequency based on campaign results

 

Step 5: Brainstorm content and design ideas

You now have the why, what, who, and when of your email marketing campaign plan. The next things to think about are your emails’ content and design. Compelling copy and great design go hand-in-hand at producing successful email campaigns.

In terms of content, your emails need to speak to your audience and achieve a purpose. Consider the following tips when crafting email copies:

  • Use a catchy subject line
  • Make the copy easy to scan and skim
  • Keep it short and strong
  • End with a clear CTA

For the design, it’s the message that dictates the email’s look and feel:

  • Place main takeaways and CTAs at the top
  • Divide text into sections
  • Use contrasting color schemes
  • Format everything for easy skimming

 

Step 6: Choose suitable metrics and KPIs

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s why selecting a suitable set of metrics is part of campaign planning.

Email marketing continues to be one of the most data-rich marketing channels around today. So, if you think “vanity metrics” (delivery rates, open rates, CTRs, bounces, spam reports, and unsubscribes) can tell you everything you need to know about your campaign, then you’re leaving a huge insight gap in your program.

To ensure your dashboard displays only the right numbers, follow the below steps:

  1. Revisit your campaign goals and objectives
  2. Use metrics that determine if you’ve reached each goal
  3. Look at all your campaign data sources
  4. Know which pieces of data improve timing, content, and impact

 

Step 7: Outline a clear process for testing

The final step in the planning process is to come up with a program for testing and tracking your email campaign. Testing allows you to continuously improve your email marketing campaign plan. So, you need to hammer out a workable testing procedure before hitting “send”.

But, with so many individual components to test, creating a testing plan (as well as carrying it out) can feel overwhelming. Put the following tips into practice to make this part of the planning process run more smoothly:

  • Test basic elements first
  • Focus on one component at a time
  • Make your sample sizes sufficiently large (i.e., at least 1,000 observations)
  • Use consistent schedules when testing
  • Trust the test results over gut-feelings, no matter how counterintuitive

 

Conclusion

At this point, you now have a working email marketing campaign plan. But before you hit send, it’s crucial to go over your outline once or twice to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

If you think some aspects of your campaign look tedious or too time-consuming, then a good email marketing automation tool can make things easier. In addition, reputable email marketing service providers help you carry out part or all of your campaign activities more effectively.

What other steps do you follow when putting together an email marketing campaign plan?

5 Key Qualities to Look For in a Data Gathering Solution Provider

5 Key Qualities to Look For in a Data Gathering Solution Provider

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We’re living through some pretty exciting times for data-driven marketing. Recent research from the Winterberry Group and Global Direct Marketing Association finds that almost 80% of marketers agree data is more critical than ever. The same study also reports that 88% actively use list segmentation and that 64% of marketers buy data from third-party data gathering solution providers and database vendors. If current trends continue, then practically all marketers will embrace the data-driven mindset in just a matter of years.

That means more and more marketers will be seeking the services of business list providers to help them fill their demand for rich, targeted data. If you happen to be part of this group, keep in mind that not all data gathering solution providers are created equal. There’s more to choosing a list vendor than simply comparing prices. To help you find the right data company for you, here’s a quick rundown of the things you should look for in a potential list seller.

 

  1. Data Source

One of the key things that a list vendor needs to let you know upfront is its data sources. Typically, data gathering solution companies acquire prospect and customer information through in-house data mining and/or third-party sources. Oftentimes, data providers use a combination of multiple internal and external sources to find and collect information.

The issue arises when a provider relies too heavily on outside data sources. That’s because data vendors do not exert the same level of control over data quality on externally-sourced data than it does on data obtained through in-house efforts. That’s why you really need to know this right off the bat.

 

  1. Data Shelf Life

As you know all too well already, data has an expiry date. On average, data decays at a rate of 2% each month. If you apply that to the millions of database records that most data providers claim they have, that’s going to be a huge number by any metric.

That’s why it pays to ask a potential list seller how recent the datasets they’re offering are. You don’t want to use marketing information that’s stale. Bad data will cost you bigtime, not only in terms of poor marketing results but also through significantly lower top and bottom-line figures. Look for vendors that refresh their records at least twice a year.

 

  1. QA Process

Data quality covers such a broad area that it can be a little challenging for a customer to evaluate how well a data provider’s QA processes are running. Some crucial things to consider are a list vendor’s data cleansing practices, its data validation methods, and the data maintenance technology it uses.

Another key differentiator that sets most great third-party data vendors apart from the rest is the use of manual data verification in their QA processes. Keeping humans in the data maintenance loop ensures that critical pieces of information aren’t left solely to the whims of algorithms and models.

 

  1. Metrics/KPIs

Just as any other marketing service you’re about to invest in, data gathering solution initiatives should include the relevant set of yardsticks for measuring performance. This makes it easier for you to set objectives and gauge how much the deliverable (list or added prospect details) is contributing to the campaign results.

As a starting point, you should ask a potential data gathering solution partner what deliverability rates to expect. Then, the data provider should also let you know what guarantees it’s making about the initial overall state of the data product along with the actions the vendor will take to fix data issues.

 

  1. Compliance Practices

Compliance is another crucial aspect you need to carefully consider when working with a list vendor. Depending on the geographic area you’re targeting, there can be an entire minefield of laws and regulations you may need to navigate around. Your list provider should help you steer clear of these potential problems.

While specific regulations vary, some important compliance considerations to think about in general include:

  • Data must be lawfully obtained.
  • Information must be given/acquired based on consent.
  • Opt-out requests must be promptly acted upon.
  • Records must be checked against DNC and DNE lists

You can now confidently assess data gathering solution providers as potential marketing partners. The important thing to take away from this blog entry is to do your due diligence before choosing a list vendor.

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing Lists

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing Lists

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Whether IT managers, directors, or CIOs (or all three) make up your information technology mailing lists, reaching out to an organization’s IT decision-makers via email can be a tough nut to crack. IT folks tend to be a well-informed bunch (i.e., keeping up with developments in their field is an unwritten item on their job description). This makes them almost pathologically allergic to sales and marketing efforts that try to “educate” them on a pain point or solution they can figure out on their own.

But with the right message delivered to the right person at the right time and for the right reasons, it’s not impossible to get decent email campaign results with your information technology mailing lists. That’s right. I’m talking about good-old email list segmentation.

List segmentation breaks up your contact database into groupings based on some criteria (more on this below). The main idea is that these groupings (or segments) let you deliver more relevant email messages, so that recipients respond better to your emails. Actual campaign results show that segmented email lists produce, on average, 14% more opens and 101% higher CTRs than non-segmented lists.

It’s a bit surprising (to me, at least) that despite the measurable benefits list segmentation brings to the table, a whopping 42% of companies still avoid using this tactic. That’s according to a DMA report that claims segmentation generated 58% of revenues and 77% of ROI in 2015.

So, there you have it. Segmentation isn’t only good for your email campaigns; it also works well at boosting your top and bottom-lines. Now, let’s go over a few segmentation techniques you can apply on your information technology mailing lists right away. Although there can be hundreds of ways to slice and dice your email lists, most of these boil down to the following:

 

  1. Start with basic firmographics

I’m sure you’ve come across some fancy ways of breaking lists up. But, in most cases in IT sales and marketing, segmenting lists according to your target prospects’ company attributes can already get the job done.

Information like industry, annual revenues, geographic location, and company size are good parameters to get started with chopping up your information technology mailing lists, especially if you also throw in additional segmentation criteria such as software or technology in use along with the company’s purchase process.

 

  1. Map emails to sales funnel stages

If you need a bit more precision in your email campaigns, then targeting based on where prospects are in your sales funnel is the logical next step to build on top of firmographic segmentation.

It goes without saying that emails sent to top-of-funnel prospects shouldn’t be the same as emails intended for leads that have been in your pipeline for a while. New email subscribers, for example, are most likely looking for general information about your products and company. They’re usually not yet ready for emails about product comparisons or pricing.

 

  1. Follow a contact’s clickpath on your site

A clickpath is simply the series of links a visitor follows. It tracks the steps a prospect takes to get what she wants from your website.

How prospects navigate your site can reveal a lot about what they’re interested in and what their intentions are. Leads who have made it to your product pages, for instance, may be expecting a more product-oriented email message than someone who’s only been to your careers page.

 

  1. Find out what content they’re engaging with

Which of your whitepapers does a prospect download? What topics on your blog does that prospect tend to view? Which of these does she share often?

The content that a prospect consumes can help you craft email messages that are likely going to resonate with that lead. If you’re able to map your content materials with your sales funnel stages, your email list segments will become even more granulated once you include content preferences as a criterion.

 

  1. Keep track of responses and activities

If you’ve been using your information technology mailing lists for a while, then you’ve most probably already gathered enough data on prospect responses and email activities to identify patterns in how they interact with your campaigns.

Activities like opens, clicks, replies, and opt-outs can let you segment your list according to how engaged or interested prospects are. These interactions enable you to prioritize or reengage stalled leads with relevant messages.

 

  1. Apply a lead scoring scheme

One way to put all of these different segmentation techniques together is to use a lead scoring system. A lead score quantifies many of the things we’ve talked about earlier and assigns a value to a prospect based on how that lead meets each of the criteria.

For example, a lead scoring system might assign more points to an IT director whose company falls within a given industry, but deducts a corresponding value if that contact just happens to be browsing job vacancies on your site. A lead scoring scheme can give bigger points to prospects that view a certain topic (e.g., bottom-of-funnel content) and smaller scores to top-of-funnel leads. All these points are then added in order to compute the lead score for that particular contact.

Whatever segmentation strategy you choose to stick to, the key thing is to realize that the old “spray and pray” approach at email marketing won’t work on your information technology mailing lists. It’s relevant, engaging emails which are going to get you the right results.

5 Tradeshow Tips to Grow Human Resource Email Lists the Right Way

Tips to Grow Human Resource Email Lists

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Surveys reveal that between 75% to 77% of B2B marketers rank in-person events like tradeshows and conferences as their top-performing marketing tactic. Tradeshows are great venues for finding qualified leads in an industry or market, since these events are where you’ll typically meet decision-makers, influencers, and thought leaders face-to-face. That’s why, if you’re looking for ways to grow your human resource email lists, joining relevant HR conferences can be the right strategy.

That is, if you know how to leverage your tradeshow attendance for email list building. For today’s post, we’ve hand-picked five proven tips you can quickly apply on your next HR event to make each contact count.

 

  1. Choose your tradeshows wisely

From the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition to the HR Tech Expo, there’s no shortage of in-person HR events happening each year. But, even if you can afford to attend every single one of them, it’s best to join only those tradeshows relevant to your target customer or solution. This keeps potential email contacts to only within your target prospects as much as possible.

So, make sure to do thorough research on a tradeshow you’re interested in. See to it that the event’s target attendees match your target decision-maker profile. Be sure that your offer is consistent with the theme or focus, and not just tangentially related.

 

  1. Use the right lead capture tools

A study done by event automation provider Certain, Inc. finds that 73% of marketers still use manual data capture tools at live events. That’s despite the availability of digital lead retrieval tools that make collecting attendee contact details many times simpler and faster than with traditional fishbowl and spiral notebooks.

Capturing lead information is now as easy as downloading apps for scanning badges, administering surveys, taking notes, prequalifying leads, and doing other event lead generation activities.

 

  1. Segment your tradeshow contacts

Most event marketing experts agree that contacts obtained at tradeshows and conferences need to be segmented as soon as acquired. Tradeshow contacts should be grouped according to the action or interest they’re showing. You can classify these prospects into labels like “visited booth”, “requested more information”, “set appointment”, and “general attendee”.

This helps you put together a more robust follow-up plan and send relevant messages later on. As we’ll see in the following point, segmentation lets you avoid spammy behavior as well as steer clear of opt-in issues with your human resource email lists.

 

  1. Follow up on time and on point

According to the same Certain, Inc. study mentioned above, 57% of marketers say it takes four days for them to follow up with tradeshow leads. There’s, of course, no universal rule on the best time to check back with event prospects but, in general, the sooner you follow up, the better.

If you’ve classified contacts into appropriate segments, then you’ll be better able to craft a more relevant and compelling email message for each group. Don’t send the same follow-up email to all your tradeshow contacts.  Always start off by reminding your leads you met at the event and tell them how you were able to obtain their contact information.

 

  1. Validate and verify email addresses right away

Before you add the tradeshow contacts into your main human resource email lists, there are some things you need to do first:

  • Verify if the contact details are correct
  • Look for duplicates and redundant entries
  • Check whether an email address already exists in your main database
  • Remove hard bounces
  • Ask if a contact wants to opt out

Also, if the event organizer provides you with a list of attendees, you should never directly add them as contacts in your main database. The best thing to do is send one-on-one email to these contacts asking them to opt in.

With these expert tradeshow tips, it’s going to be much easier for you to cultivate your human resource email lists. The key thing to remember is to always be timely and relevant.

5 Metrics to Measure the Health of Your B2B Contact List

B2B Contact List

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You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s according to an old business adage that’s still relevant in marketing today, especially now that marketers are drowning in an ocean of metrics and KPIs that let them know what works and what doesn’t. So what numbers should you be keeping track of to get a feel for how your B2B contact list is performing?

As you may know all too well already, everything in B2B marketing starts with your list. That’s why you need to keep this critical campaign component firing on all four cylinders. To find out whether your B2B contact leads database is really up to the task, here are the five key metrics you should always be monitoring:

 

  1. Inbox Placement Rates and Delivery Rates

Inbox placement rates (IPRs) and delivery rates are two distinct metrics that measure email deliverability, although they’re often incorrectly used interchangeably. Delivery rates count the number of emails sent that didn’t bounce, while IPRs only consider emails that actually made it into the recipients’ inbox.

These two numbers can indicate the overall health of your B2B contact list. Low IPRs and delivery rates are often taken as signs that a list probably needs some scrubbing and updating. Recent research from Return Path reports that average global inbox placement rates hover around 80%.

 

  1. Hard Bounces

Bounce rates refer to the percentage of total emails that were not delivered. Soft bounces happen when emails get rejected from the recipient’s server because of a full inbox. Hard bounces, on the other hand, take place when emails are not delivered because of invalid email addresses.

You want to keep an eye on hard bounce rates, since ISPs and mail providers view high levels of hard bounces as a sign of spammy behavior. To help minimize hard bounces, regularly scrub your B2B contact list for invalid or non-existent email addresses.

 

  1. Unengaged Subscribers

Unengaged subscribers are inactive contacts in your list that have yet to promptly opt out. These are subscribers who remain on your B2B contact leads database but haven’t opened or responded to your emails in a while.

Sending emails to unengaged subscribers can harm email deliverability, since doing this tends to trigger spam alerts in most ISPs. So, manage inactive subscribers with a reengagement campaign or by removing them from your B2B contact list altogether.

 

  1. List Churn Rate

List churn rate or attrition rate is the proportion of subscribers that either opt out or drop out of your list in a given period. Factors like the number of opt-outs, hard bounces, spam complaints, and subscriber inactivity are the main drivers behind list churn rates.

List churn tells you how fast your B2B contact leads database is shrinking. That’s why you need to acquire new contacts at a rate that exceeds the churn rate in order to grow your list. GetResponse estimates average annual list churn rates to be around 25%-30%.

 

  1. Spam Complaints/Reports

Every time a recipient marks your email as spam, you’re racking up spam complaints under your sender record. Once the number of spam complaints exceeds a given threshold, mailbox providers automatically classify your emails as junk. According to data from MailChimp, average spam complaint rates can vary from 0.01% to 0.04%, depending on the industry.

While spam complaints tend to reflect the quality of your email messages, they can also give you an idea about the quality of your B2B contact list. Email lists sometimes contain spam traps, which are email addresses created by mailbox providers to catch spammers red-handed. Clearly, it’s important that you find and remove this type of address from your B2B contacts leads database to help reduce the risk of incurring spam complaints.

Now, you know the crucial set of numbers that help you accurately gauge your contact list’s performance. To gain sharper insights on your B2B contact list, don’t just passively measure these metrics against industry benchmarks. Also actively run tests designed to optimize your database on a regular basis.

The 5 Cases Where It’s Okay to Buy a B2B Contact Database

buy b2b contact database

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If you go around asking whether to buy a B2B contact database, chances are you’d soon end up being chastised for simply just thinking about it. This is a little unfortunate, since a bought list sometimes makes more business sense. In fact, there are specific cases where buying a list can potentially bring you better results than taking the organic route.

The main reason why a lot of marketers advise against buying B2B contact databases is that people tend to use purchased lists for spamming contacts. While this is a valid point, the truth is that it still boils down to how you use a bought list that determines whether you’re engaging in spammy activities. So with that aside, here are five situations where it’s really okay for you to buy a B2B contact list:

 

Case 1:  Your solution solves a real pain point.

Early-stage investor and serial entrepreneur Jason Lemkin raises this very interesting idea. If you can solve a real pain point, outbound marketing will always work for you.

The same can be said about using a bought prospect list in your campaigns. When your solution fixes an urgent issue or fulfills a pressing need that your target buyers are experiencing right now, why wait for leads to naturally start trickling into your funnel? Why not reach out to them and deliver value right away?

 

Case 2:  You’ve clearly identified your target prospects.

In an eye-opening post, creative strategist Jake Jorgovan shares the story behind his cold email campaign that landed him a consulting project with a bunch of new customers including some Fortune 500 clients.

Among the key points he mentions is that he was only able to build a cold email list after knowing exactly who the target audience was. So, instead of sending generic templates, he came up with relevant, compelling email messages that cold prospects were interested in.

 

Case 3:  You’re targeting a high-turnover industry.

It’s no secret that marketing data has an expiration date. MarketingSherpa places the average rate of database decay at about 2.1% per month or around 22.5% each year. For some industries, this can reach as high as 6.1% every month.

So if you’re targeting decision-makers in an industry where people tend to change job titles or move to new locations relatively frequently, one way to keep up is through using bought contact databases from a reputable list vendor.

 

Case 4:  You don’t have the resources to build a list at scale.

Aside from the time investment required to help your B2B list reach critical mass, organically growing your database also needs tons of effort and the right kind of expertise.

That’s why, if you’re unable to make all these necessary commitments, buying a contact list is a more viable option. What you’re paying for when you buy B2B contact database goes beyond list records. You’re putting resources where they’re needed the most.

 

Case 5:  You’re expected to deliver results in the near-term.

Let’s say your revenue goal for this quarter is $300,000, the average deal size is $10,000, and your sales cycle is around two weeks. That means you need to close 30 deals. At a close rate of 5%, you need to generate at least 600 new leads by the first half of the quarter to reach your targets.

While we’ve played around with figures in our hypothetical scenario above, the main point is that hitting sales targets is still pretty much a numbers game. In most industries, B2B conversion rates (lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-close rates) simply aren’t in your favor, so you need to start out with a large number of relevant prospects to get any meaningful results further down the funnel.

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, then by all means start looking for a trusted list vendor right now. Don’t pay too much attention to people who think they know what’s good for your campaign. Instead, let your solution, audience, industry, capabilities, and objectives decide whether you should buy a B2B contact database.