Beware of Dubious Data Providers: A 9-Point Checklist
So, to get to the point, here is my list of yes/no questions, which can be examined fairly easily, without any direct contact with the vendor.
- Do they have a website you can visit?
- Do they provide a physical business address?
- Do they have a company page on LinkedIn?
- Are the names of the management team provided on the website?
- Is there a client list on the website?
- Is there a testimonial on the website with a real name attached?
- Do they claim some kind of guaranteed level of accuracy for their data?
- Do they require 100 percent pre-payment?
- Is the sales rep using a Gmail or other email address unrelated to the company name?
For question Nos. 7, 8 and 9, a "no" is the right answer. For the first six, "yes" is what you're looking for. I'd say that any vendor who gets more than one or two wrong answers should be avoided. Any other ideas out there?
A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.