Lead Gen Strategies: Finding Quality Data and Lead List Providers

Many expansion-stage technology company sales and marketing leaders find themselves wondering — ‘What are the best data providers out there when it comes to providing my marketing and/or sales organizations with the most quality, targeted lead lists?’

One of the benefits of working with OpenView Labs is that we have a dedicated Research and Analytics team (the dapper group featured to the right – Nick, Brandon, Tien Anh and Rene) that helps our portfolio companies generate lead lists based on the specific segments and buyer personas that they want to target. There’s no secret sauce to our list generation efforts — to be quite honest, our primary resource for gathering data for our lead list requests are the company’s website and LinkedIn. Okay, so you might be thinking, How can OVP meet all the requests from its 20 companies in two week time periods (the average time it takes for us to generate a standard list)? Well, we are able to generate quality lead lists in such a timely fashion because we have designed a highly efficient data collection process, with hyper-focused team members who have the sole function of executing online research — as per our very specific instructions — and inputting data into an importable excel format.

That being said, most of OVP’s companies also use additional data providers to supplement the list generation efforts that the Labs provides.

Most recently, The Bridge Group, an Inside Sales Consulting firm that OVP highly recommends, released its annual Lead Generation Report, citing the most popular data providers based on their survey respondents’ input (featured to the right). These providers are commonly used among our portfolio companies, but it’s interesting to see where they stack up against each other “popularity-wise” in this survey.

Here’s a thought — just because a lead list is the most commonly used/popular does not necessarily mean it’s the best. In fact, one complaint I’ve seen coming from our portfolio about Data.com/Jigsaw is that everyone is reaching out to those leads, so the conversation and email response rates associated with that source tend to be lower. At the end of the day, the leads are getting so many calls that they are now likely avoiding their phones like the plague.

If you are targeting IT professionals I hear that RainKing and DiscoverOrg are great providers (albeit more expensive).

Just last week, Brian Carroll of MECLABS wrote a great article entitled, List Buying: 6 Tips for Buying the Most Effective Lead List. (On a side note: We are big fans of Brian Carroll here at OpenView; he is actually leading a B2B Marketing Workshop for our portfolio’s marketers on October 10th at OpenView Studios.) In the article, Brian explains that when you decide to purchase a list you need to check-off the following things first:

  1. Know who you are targeting
  2. Consider using Dun and Bradstreet or InfoUSA as a starting point
  3. Find a list provider who is consultative
  4. Invest in the best, not the cheapest
  5. Test your lists
  6. Make one person the list guru

Brian gives some great deal around these six recommendations — the article is worth taking a look, for sure.

What data providers have yielded you the best results for your sales and marketing organizations, and what industry/titles do you target? Which providers do you recommend people steer clear of, and why?



Devon McDonald is a Partner at OpenView, where she sits on the firm’s investment committee and oversees OpenView’s Growth team, a group of Research, Sales and Marketing Strategists responsible for helping its portfolio companies acquire more customers and scale at an accelerated rate.
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