An overview of the Barbour ABI service


The market for construction sales leads has four players, two large and two small. Planning Pipe and Builders Conference are the smaller providers, and the big two are Glenigan and Barbour ABI.

Like Glenigan, Barbour ABI deals in the full spectrum of sales leads, from the earliest stages of planning right through to contract awards. It’s an absolute mine of information for the construction industry, and an invaluable resource for marketers. But let’s dig a little deeper into the Barbour ABI service and what makes it distinctive.

To start with, Barbour ABI has many decades of experience behind it. It began some 80 years ago, and has grown and evolved over time. The merger of ABI Building Data with the publisher of The Barbour Index gives the firm its name, and it trades on its reputation as a reliable source of construction industry information.

Based in Cheshire with full national coverage, Barbour ABI scans and logs data from the planning process and makes it easily searchable. A team of around 60 researchers fleshes out the details, delivering fully researched sales leads to subscribers. Almost half-a-million planning applications will feed into the system in any given year, and any judged to be worth over £100k will be researched. The service is geared towards bigger contracts and so smaller jobs get less research time, but they are all logged in the database.

Marketers can access this information through a web portal, viewing the details of the job, the key decision makers and their contact details. Projects will then be updated as they progress through planning, through the tendering process and to contract awards stages – all information that can benefit different companies with different specialities within the building trade. With projects running two or three years in advance of going on site coming in from the planning system, and projects stretching back twenty years into the past, it’s a hugely versatile database to a creative sales team or business development manager.

Like its main competitor, Barbour ABI has invested seriously in its web portal, which is called Evolution. It’s a planning lead research and CRM system that is powerful but intuitive, complex at first glance but easy to use and understand with a little training. Users are able to personalise the data that they see, generate reports automatically, and view projects through an associated app.

If you’re in the market for a top end construction sales lead service, you’ll be choosing between Glenigan and Barbour ABI. From a neutral’s perspective, it’s not really possible to recommend one over the other. They are similar in all their basic functions, and the main differences will emerge in pricing as you discuss your specific needs. There may be a specialist service that would add value to a subscription to one or the other. You may also find differences in customer service or in the ease of use of their respective web portals. I always recommend talking to both.



Download our free guide:
The Really Useful Guide To Construction Marketing
You can read it as part of your CPD with the CIOB


Call us now on 01256 475880