Is Buying Lead Lists a Viable Option for Lead Generation?

Illustration by Gamma Valeri via Dribbble

Buying lead lists seems an easy and convenient way to provide a sales team with an unending stream of business leads, right? The answer is not that straightforward. Many aspects affect the answer:

  • Who’s the vendor?
  • What’s the lead source?
  • How complete lead data is?
  • And finally, how do the leads from a list fit your Ideal Customer Profile?

After all, a lead list is just contact information for people that fill out a form. What good does it make to sales to get email addresses or phone numbers of a bunch of individuals who have zero interest in buying your product? Let’s zoom in and have a look.

The pros and cons of buying business leads

Let’s start with identifying all the benefits and drawbacks of lead lists. We’ll take an average situation. In the perfect world, an opportunity to buy a top-quality lead list at a cheap price would have no downsides.

However, in our reality, there are many risks associated with getting leads from third parties. We’ll start by looking at the downsides of buying lead lists.

Cons of purchased lead lists

1. Poor quality leads

Buying lead lists from random, unverified vendors is risky. Leads on the list can be stale and outdated. Business leads can be worn out.

Just imagine, a lead list vendor has sold the same lead list to several customers. Your sales team starts an email outreach campaign and gets a zero conversion rate because all the leads have already been reached out by your competitors.

2. Bad fit leads

Not necessarily a lead provider is ill-intentional and sells you email addresses that take your SDRs to spam traps and unresponsive email address owners. Due to lack of experience and knowledge, new businesses may find themselves in a situation when the leads are not industry-specific and simply poor fit.

The list is complete with phone numbers, job titles, company size, and so on, but the leads are unqualified. And your team will find it out only after spending hours on cold emails and cold calling.

3. Low deliverability

This is an essential metric. Companies buy email spam checkers and employ email marketing in B2B lead generation to boost their email deliverability rates.

Your marketing team might spend their energy on email content, tweaking subject lines, and improving the messages, only to see their work going to spam.

4. Ruined email reputation

Did you know that sending unsolicited emails is qualified as spam, which is illegal under the CAN-SPAM Act in the US, EN, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a dozen other countries? It’s important how you obtain emails.

If you send emails to people who had no prior contact with you the odds of seeing your messages go to spam increases manifolds.

What do most people do when they get an unsolicited email from an unknown company? Hit the spam button. Then, what’s the point of buying a lead list that will crush your email reputation?

5. Cost

Some companies name a high price of top-quality hand-curated lead lists as a drawback. But is it? Given the sheer number of risks of poor-quality email lists, it is highly reasonable to pay an arm and a leg and get cherry-picked business leads that your team will convert into deals.

If, however, you buy a pricey email list and find it incomplete and poor-fit to your ICP, that’s a shame.

Pros of purchased lead lists

1. Time

How are lead lists put together organically? Prospects browse B2B websites and leave their contact information online in exchange for a newsletter or a free eBook. That’s lead generation 1.0. Then an SDR gathers emails from on-site lead forms and makes a list for lead nurturing.

Clearly, manually collecting emails one by one is a time-consuming process. And if you had an opportunity to buy a lead list as if it was your sales team that put it together, it would be a terrific start to your new B2B lead generation campaign, enabling your team to focus on courting potential clients rather than just looking for them.

2. High ROI

If you figure out how to find top-quality lead lists, the Return on Investment can be high due to time saved for your sales team and potential deals generated for the company. The top priority is to find lists with accurate data.

However, very cheap lead lists are too much risk to land poor-quality leads, which undermines the very idea of having a great ROI.

What Where and How of purchased lead lists

Ok, we’ve got it. Buying lead lists is tricky. But it’s possible if you know what to look for, where to buy, and how to use it correctly.

What to look for

Leads from a third-party list must fit your criteria, and that’s the recipe for a successful purchase. The criteria of qualified leads remain unchanged. High-quality leads are those who potentially can buy from you, which means fitting your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Where to get leads

Many marketing agencies and professional lead generators take pride in selling only hand-curated leads that fit customers’ ICP. Another very useful option is buying leads by subscription.

Subscription-based lead generation services give a lot of leeway to their clients, enabling lead research in vast databases at any quantity and at any time.

How to use a lead list

Having a lead list at your hand is just the beginning of your lead generation journey. These days of banner blindness and total ad fatigue make people highly unresponsive to most advertising propositions.

Here’s a shortlist of tips to use when you get hold of a list of contact information of prospective clients.

 icon-angle-right Don’t skip research

No matter how reputable a lead vendor is, research is impossible to skip. First, SDRs verify the contact information. Second, they look up for data to personalize their outreach.

 icon-angle-right Don’t rush in

Sales can’t start right away from the first cold email. Use the info you would dig on a lead during the research stage and reach out to them to establish a connection.

 icon-angle-right Don’t push

Pushing can occur at the stage of cold emailing when SDRs use aggressive selling tactics. Using deceptive subject lines and giving unrealistic promises isn’t worth high opening rates. Approach leads with respect and don’t think you’re Mr. Smarty-Pants or Miss Know-It-All.

 icon-angle-right Don’t underestimate technical tips

It’s not enough to grab a list. You need to be able to use it too. Make sure you use all anti-spam tips like warming up your email address, avoiding spam-like words (cheap, urgent, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, etc.), providing simple unsubscribe options, and so on.

I want organic growth. Can’t I buy lead lists?

Third-party lead lists can help your sales team a great deal if you buy leads from a trusted vendor who knows your company’s ICP and adds to the list only the best-fitting leads.

In its essence, a purchased lead list is an outsourced lead generation for B2B by Belkins or any other trusted professional in the field.

Setting up a lead generation channel is instrumental for broadening your customer base and boosting the success of your business. Weigh up risks and benefits and collaborate only with the best vendors in the industry.

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