Inbound Marketing, Sales & Marketing Alignment

Why Purchased B2B Lead Lists Fail and What to Use Instead

While they might seem like a quick and simple solution for your lead generation needs, purchased B2B lead lists can actually cause more harm than good for your company.

We understand the appeal. Having a long list of emails you can target directly seems like an effective shortcut compared to gaining a list of leads organically. However, the convenience of purchased lead lists comes with a cost, and not just the money you shelled out for the list itself.

Quantity minus the quality

Purchased lead lists give you access to thousands of inboxes to directly target with your email campaigns. While it is possible to get segmented lists from lead list providers, you’ll be receiving a list of people who may not even be interested in what you have to offer. Truth is, no one likes getting spammed, and by purchasing a lead list you end up coming across more annoying than helpful.

It’s important to keep in mind that you are most likely not the only person who has purchased that specific list. This means the people you’re targeting have already been spammed multiple times by other companies trying to generate leads. By the time you send out your emails, the list has probably already been worn out and you’ll be lost in the pack.


People don’t like receiving mail they didn’t ask for, and it’s likely that your email will land right into the receiver’s spam folder. In fact, emails from marketing campaigns are responsible for 70% of 'this is spam' complaints -- don’t be that marketer. Thinking from a consumer point of view rather than a marketing one will help you understand a potential lead’s needs and their turnoffs. Spending money on a list of emails of people who aren’t qualified leads is counterproductive to your marketing goals, and that money is better spent elsewhere.

They have a bad reputation for a reason

Mail services hate purchased lead lists. So much so, that many include their restrictions on the use of purchased lead lists in their guidelines. This distaste comes from the fact that purchased lead lists target people who didn’t ask to be targeted, and we all know how annoying it is to be solicited.

Not only that, sending out masses of emails that have a high bounce rate gets your email account marked as spam. That means all of your emails will probably never be seen by the people you’re targeting, which is once again, highly counterproductive to your marketing goals.

The use of purchased lead lists is a quick way to get your account terminated, and then you’ll be back to square one: this time without an email provider. If top mail service providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact discourage the use of purchased lead lists, it’s safe to say that they aren’t a productive option in your effort to drive sales.

What to Do Instead

These reasons, among numerous others, are perfect examples for why  you should look into lead generating options that do not involve purchasing B2B lead lists. By using a more personal, customer-based approach, you will see a higher rate of lead generation that is more likely to turn into sales. Here are some ways you can effectively generate leads.

Utilizing Opt-In Incentives

Prospects will provide their contact information if they’re blown away by your content, and incentivized by something they want. Whether it is valuable information they have been seeking or even to receive a free product or service, your prospects will fill out forms if they see benefit in the result.

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If you create valuable content such as ebooks, whitepapers and videos, don’t give it away without requiring potential leads to fill out a form with their information. If they’re really interested in information you’re providing, they will be willing to give you their contact information. Not only does this give you truly qualified leads, it helps you position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Sales prospecting

You might be used to cold calling and cold emailing as part of your sales and marketing process, but seeking out qualified potential customers is a much more effective method for generating leads. By researching and taking the time to connect with the right people, you will have a better chance of closing a sale than if you were to try to make leads out of a large group of uninterested targets.

Through inbound sales prospecting, you are looking for potential customers who are in need of your specific service, then contacting them in a more personal way to show how you can help solve that problem. This is a distinct contrast from a purchased B2B email list because you’re only targeting those who have a high chance of being interested in what you have to offer.


Once you’ve discovered great potential prospects, craft your email with personalization in mind and don’t use a hard sell or a big ask -- your prospects won’t be ready for it. Keeping things conversational at the beginning will open the door for future conversations.

Engaging on socialScreen Shot 2017-03-08 at 4.31.08 PM.pngConnecting with potential leads on social media is a great way to introduce them to your company and build more personal relationships. With 83% of all marketers actively pursuing social media marketing initiatives, it’s evident that it is an important method for generating leads. Even on the B2B level, commenting on and “liking” their content will get them used to seeing your name. Therefore, when you do begin the selling process, you won’t be a complete stranger. First impressions matter, and if a potential customer views you as more of a potential partner than someone trying to make a sale, you’ll have a better chance at connecting with them.

As you can see, building your own list of leads is significantly more beneficial than purchasing B2B lead lists. The key to a successful marketing campaign is to reach the right people and show them how your company is the perfect solution to their problem. If you’re ready to generate qualified B2B leads, schedule a discovery session with us.

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