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How to Find B2B Prospects Worldwide

Do you know of a growing B2B company that sells only domestically?  I can’t think of one.  U.S. producers of products and services for other companies and institutions are highly likely to be selling abroad, whether through distributors or directly through subsidiaries and ecommerce.

So, most B2B marketers are desperate to get their hands on good quality prospecting data in other regions, for sales lead generation.  This is not easy.  Beware of random suppliers who claim to have international data sets—most of them don’t.  And be further aware that there are plenty of charlatans in the data industry.  Research carefully before you select a supplier.

In my travels, I’ve only come across five firms that reliably provide U.S. B2B marketers with prospecting lists.  Here they are, in alphabetical order.  Hat tip to Matt Staudt for his expert input.

1 Stop Data   Based in Ireland, and led by Pauline Murphy, 1 Stop Data offers not only prospecting data but also lead generation and multilingual call center services.   Very strong in U.K. and the continent.    One especially useful offering is their expertise in generating proof of GDPR compliance for B2B house files, via a program of outbound communications.  Exclusively B2B.

ACTON International Ltd.  Since its founding in Lincoln NE in 1968 by the late, great Jon Lambert, ACTON has scoured the world looking for unusual data sources to offer B2B marketers in a wide variety of industries.  Data from 49 countries, with special strength in Asia, both B2B and B2C.

Dun & Bradstreet, the granddaddy of business data (since 1841) claims over 80 million “marketable records” in its gigantic WorldBase product.  With its roots in business credit reporting, no surprise DNB records are top quality at the account level, especially in larger enterprises, but include limited individual contacts across various job functions. For global reach—AsiaPac, EMEA, Latin America—D&B is unparalleled.  Their marketing solutions have been modernized in recent years, with intent, ABM and real-time data flow capabilities.

FrescoData, founded by Tony Raval, offers access to 100 million global B2B contacts—which they call “people data”—including opt-in email addresses, in some cases.  With data from 60 countries, FrescoData also provides full-service marketing programs: email, programmatic advertising, direct mail, creative and so forth.   Both B2B and B2C.

Infocore, which claims B2B contact data in 100 countries, also provides email marketing services.  B2B, B2C and automotive data.  Fascinating: Is it a coincidence that Infocore and FrescoData are located 5 minutes from each other in Carlsbad CA? 

You may be surprised at the small number of providers listed here.  The data industry was hit hard by the introduction of GDPR.  Cyndi Greenglass, senior VP at Diamond Communication Solutions, explains: “The burden of GDPR has been great.  Some very good providers in the industry were either unable to invest in GDPR compliance or were unwilling to take on the risk, and have decided to leave the data market.” 

How do you shop among these options?  Matt Staudt, having looked into many of them, tells me that among various providers, the data counts are similar.  So, your decision is likely to boil down to service, and simple chemistry.  Be sure to ask each provider about GDPR and their regulatory compliance in general.  And ask for a sample of your target audience, to inspect.  Then, conduct a test.

So, that’s the lot of them, as far as I know.  But stay tuned, I hear Stirista may be expanding its global data access.  And surely others are making similar plans.  The more, the merrier. 

Ruth Stevens

Ruth Stevens advises clients on customer acquisition and retention. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, 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 serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the business accelerator in New York City. Ruth is an author and contributor to many notable business publications. Her books include B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results and Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, Trade Show and Event Marketing, and co-author of the white paper series “B-to-B Database Marketing.” Ruth is a sought-after speaker and trainer, and has presented to audiences and business schools in Asia, Australia, and Latin America. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff Davis, and IBM.

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  1. Randy

    Great, helpful article as usual Ruth – thank you for sharing your expertise!

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