• Results Driven Marketing

How to select the perfect b2b email list?

b2b email list

So, you have identified that your database needs refreshing and are considering a third party b2b email list but have concerns.

In this article, I will address some of those concerns to try and help you make the right buying decisions.


Whether you are considering buying a third-party b2b email list for the first time, or you have bought a thousand lists, making sure the b2b data you receive from your supplier matches your target audiences can be a challenge.

The best place to start when considering what to buy is to think about what your best customers look like and then match them against some or all the search options below.

At Results Driven Marketing we use a proven 7-step data selection process which means we get our clients audiences right every time.

Most b2b data suppliers should have the same filter options available to them, so you can use this method across the board.

1. Location – where are your clients located?

We can search by town, county, postcode, regions, countries and can also run a radius search of a chosen postcode.

Top tip: beware when it comes to a radius search. The search is a perfect radius ‘as the crow flies’, so if you only want companies within a 20-mile drive, you would be better looking at a 15 mile radius otherwise you will end up receiving prospects outside of your service area.

2. Industries – what industry sectors do my target markets operate in?

There are a huge number of sectors to supply from and making sure you get this part of the selection right is crucial.

Most data suppliers can provide you with a breakdown of sectors to choose from. It is well worth requesting something like this if you are lacking some inspiration.

Top tip: industry sectors are usually classified by SIC’s (Standard Industry Classifications) and LOB’s (Lines of Business). SIC’s can be very vague and leave you open to buying data that is not relevant to your services. Try and work with a supplier that can offer you access to both SIC’s and LOB’s. Lines of business are far clearer and makes picking your sectors much easier and reduces the risk of disappointment.

3. Business size – how big or small are my targets?

Most b2b email list suppliers will be able to search their database based on number of employees and company turnover.

Keeping this in mind is important during the selection process. You do not want to be paying for information of companies that could either be too big or too small to be interested in your products or services.

Top tip: Be flexible when thinking about this and discuss it with your supplier. Sometimes we have clients that have a hard and fast 100+ employee rule in place as a selection criterion. However, when we ask, well would you ever work with a company that employs 99 people, the answer is invariably yes.

4. Suppressions – do you have records on hand that you would like to suppress your counts against?

This is an important consideration to make sure you are not buying data that you already hold on file.

Top tip: gather all your information into one place if you can and send it across for suppression as one file. It makes it easier for the supplier but also makes it easy for you to highlight any significant gaps in. your own database that you might want to find information for.

5. Contacts – who within organisations do you look to target?

This is a crucial step in the b2b email list selection process!

It is possible to choose specific job titles and job roles within organisations so feel free to be as granular with this as you like.

Top tip: Ask your supplier to run a count and the supply you with a breakdown of the job titles included. You can run through that list quickly and easily, removing any job titles that are not relevant.

6. Channels – what type of campaigns do you plan to run to your chosen b2b email list

Most b2b email list suppliers will be able to provide postal, telephone and email addresses and it is important that you are clear on what you require from them.

Top tip: be sure to ask for a total of exactly how many records come with a postal address, telephone number or email address. Don’t presume that the quoted numbers will be the volume your supplier holds with all three channels.

7. Other business criteria – outside of the above, what else would be good to have?

You can often choose the type of premises companies operate from, the number of vehicles they have in their fleets or the legal entity of the organisation.

Top tip: ask a supplier about their premium files. They might just hold some information outside of their normal database that could be gold dust!



Purchasing an accurate database is crucial to the success of your campaigns. Pretty obvious, I know, but it’s that important, it needed to be said anyway.

Inaccurate data just costs so much when you add all the failures up:

· Cost of the data

· Cost to reputation

· Cost of marketing to the data

· Cost in lost earnings

So, how do you work with a supplier that is going to supply accurate data????

You need guarantees. Make sure your prospective supplier has clear, hard and fast guarantees with an obvious recourse in place should you be unhappy.

To give you an example, these are our accuracy guarantees on all our b2b email lists.

As a minimum, we must achieve the following industry high accuracy guarantees:

· 98% postal address accuracy

· 90% telephone number and contact name accuracy

· 90% email address accuracy

Should we fall below any of the above, we are obliged to supply a pro-rata refund or replacement records.

Top Tip: get these guarantees in writing prior to purchase.


In an ideal world, our marketing budgets would be limitless, and we could spend it on chucking a load of mud at the wall and converting what sticks, well that wouldn’t do us any good in terms of reputation, but you know what I mean.

Here, in the real world, our budgets are tightly managed, and we need to get as much bang for our buck as possible.

The best b2b email lists, from reputable suppliers, will cost you £250 + vat per thousand records up, depending on the number of records ordered.

Top tip: Negotiate!


Another concern around purchasing third-party b2b email lists is their terms and conditions.

Start by thinking about the campaigns you want to run to the bought list and bring it to the attention of the potential supplier when discussing what they have available.

Everything we supply comes on a 12-month, multi-use licence and this is all easily explainable during your journey to purchasing from us.

To discuss b2b email list licences in more detail, feel free to contact us here and we will talk you through all available options.

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