Contact Data: How We Earn Your Trust

In our previous blog, we mentioned the enormous importance of being able to trust your data provider and outlined our philosophy with regard to personal contact data (we strive for compliance, quality, and scale) — a philosophy that is one important reason why our customers put their trust in us. We discover over 500 million contacts each year, but only 10% meet our strict quality and compliance standards and make it into the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud.

Experience honed over many years curating global company and contact data has led us to understand that it takes the right mix of people, process, and technology to deliver the best data and insights for our clients. Curation alone is not enough; quality has always been important, and privacy is becoming increasingly important. We achieve our goals of compliance, quality, and scale with a model covering three essential aspects: curation, verification, and aggregation. This is complex work that we undertake to ensure our clients realize the most value from the data we deliver.

1. Assessment

Before any contact can make it into the Data Cloud, it must pass a series of standard acceptance rules. As an example, if a record is incomplete, contains personal emails, or has invalid data formats it is automatically rejected as a new record candidate. We check email hygiene every 30 days. Additionally, we have a robust compliance program instituting privacy by design principles to ensure the record was sourced using legitimate means that do not violate privacy laws, such as CCPA, CAN-SPAM, CASL, and the GDPR. This ensures fewer downstream compliance issues and an overall better experience for our customers.

2. Validation

We validate all contacts before they can make it into the Data Cloud. Our proprietary contact validation process, CleneStep®, uses human verification and machine learning to help with title accuracy, phone connectability, and email deliverability. This level of validation means you can trust our contact data will deliver improved performance for all your go-to-market activities.

Once a record is accepted as a potential addition to the Data Cloud, it must pass a series of validation rules:

  • Email Deliverability and Risk: We leverage multiple sources to validate deliverability and identify potential email threats such as spam traps and catchalls. This helps ensure that our customers do not end up on blacklists.
  • Phone Connectability: Our editorial team conducts 15 million phone dials a year, leveraging both human verification and automated tools to ensure the phone number tied to the contact is active.
  • Title Accuracy: CleneStep also leverages machine learning to verify and classify title data.
  • Social Confirmation: We never source contact data directly from social media as it doesn’t meet our privacy compliance standards. But, once a contact record passes the above validation rules, the last step is to confirm the contact matches publicly available social media information.
  • Crowd Validation: Over many years working with data, we have built a network of trusted individuals who we work with to validate contact intelligence in line with our compliance and quality checks. Our editorial team works directly with the data submitted by these partners to verify the accuracy of our data. In addition, clients are always able to report changes directly to us.

3. Aggregation

When a contact has passed all validation rules, it is matched to a company record that exists in the Data Cloud, leveraging our market-leading entity matching capabilities. Contacts then become part of our ‘Live Business Identity’ for that company and are available for our clients to use to fuel game-changing sales and marketing programs.

What Does All This Mean for B2B Marketers?

The bottom line is that the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud helps organizations reach the right buyers.

The bottom line is that the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud helps organizations reach the right buyers. We do this through our deep and broad company data and insights, and also by delivering over 130 million high-quality active contacts globally (that's as of November 2019; we are always adding more). All contacts are associated with entities represented in our Data Cloud, so customers can easily connect them to their highest potential accounts.


We know these entities so well, we can tell you if they are part of a corporate hierarchy or have other linkages; for many we can also connect to IP addresses giving you digital insights as well. When marketing and selling into a company, understanding as much about them as possible is critical — especially in Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programs. We can also offer you valuable profiles on over 162 million companies – companies! That more than eclipses what you might find elsewhere. Senior contacts are especially valuable; with Dun & Bradstreet, you can find over 55 million — ten times more than others claim.

Trust Means You're "Regulatory Ready"

Organizations around the globe trust the commercial data and insights from the Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud to help them grow revenues, improve margins, and stay compliant. In curating and maintaining the Data Cloud, our award-winning and “regulatory ready” data governance process anticipates regulatory changes and puts related checks in place. 

Our “Privacy by Design” approach ensures privacy is considered through the entire data lifecycle.

For example, our “Privacy by Design” approach ensures privacy is considered through the entire data lifecycle. We stay on top of data privacy laws and regulations as they apply regionally, nationally, and locally. We have completed and documented hundreds of privacy impact assessments to ensure that everything we do with personal data complies with applicable privacy legislation as well as our own contractual obligations and high ethical standards. We're proud to be at the forefront of data privacy compliance; we have achieved and maintained Privacy Shield certification since the onset of the program. We subject all our compliance programs, both GDPR and the CCPA, to external and internal audits to ensure a robust and functional compliance program is in place. This was how we — and our customers — were “GDPR ready” on day one and is how we will be “CCPA ready” as well.


In short, we do the hard work of contact curation and verification so you can rest assured that the data you use to inform your business decisions is timely, accurate, and ethically sourced. Clearly, part of what makes us so trusted is our intense focus on compliance. With changes in the market, it is time to take the ethics and compliance of your contact data sourcing seriously as well. To help you evaluate your contact data vendor, download our “5 Questions to Ask Your Contact Data Provider” guide.

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