data sources database vendorsComparing B2B sales leads from different database vendors is not like comparing other products or services. It might seem like a lead is a lead, but there’s an important differentiator that can determine whether a contact record is a value-packed potential deal or a waste of time: its source.

Why there’s so much confusion over data sources

One big reason it’s so challenging to get a straight answer on where B2B sales leads come from is that vendors aren’t exactly forthcoming about this information. Most companies won’t tell you exactly how they gather their information, but in some cases, the explanations they provide are nearly incomprehensible.

For example, on the “About Us” section of their website, major data provider Hoovers writes: “Hoovers’ in-house Editorial staff compiles, analyzes, and transforms business data into business insight. This “human component” sets us apart from other business information companies.”

Explanations like these sound nice, but don’t provide many actual answers about where their data comes from. If you can’t understand a company’s explanation about their sources, it’s probably a sign that their data isn’t reliable.

The most common sources of data

Here are some of the most typical ways that companies who sell sales intelligence leads collect their data:

  • Government filings
  • Utility connections
  • Yellow pages
  • Free online databases
  • Dunn & Bradstreet

There are many other sources depending on the specific vendor and the type of data they specialize in.

Which database vendors are best?

Of all the different data sources used by B2B sales leads providers, the most reliable are self-reported. This data is particularly valuable because people provide their own information. If you’re looking for someone’s email address, what better source is there than the person you want to email?

That’s why so many data providers use community-based data sources. Many companies have databases that can be added to or edited by its paying customers. Some providers will even allow users to access data for free, once they make a certain number of contributions to the community database.

While this is a great way to ensure that contact records are updated regularly, it presents a new set of problems. Who will regulate the contributions made by users? How often will user data be checked? Allowing users unrestrained access to update a provider’s database is a recipe for errors, duplicate records and unusable contact data.

When you are looking to choose a database vendor, it’s critical to consider all of these elements before you commit to a vendor. For more details about the data sources of some of the top sales intelligence tools, download our new white paper Buyers Guide to Sellers Intelligence Toolsby clicking below:

Contact Database Comparison