Getting to Your Ideal List of Prospects
The mainstay of lead generation and prospecting is a list. The success of your campaigns is contingent on its quality. But how do you get the list without getting bogged down in the data collection process?
I’ve seen sales reps who will spend two hours doing prospecting activities, but only complete five calls. And then there are marketing associates who take 30 days to launch a fully completed lead generation campaign. Where did the time go? In the research to create a list.
In these situations you have to ask yourself if this much research really makes sense. Can’t you just launch? Well, it depends on the purpose of your list.
If you’re prospecting, your goal is to find people who are interested or ready to purchase now.
While you want to begin with a list of contacts that fit your target market criteria, you don’t need to do a great deal of research beyond the initial criteria. Limit your research to measurable criteria, for example: industry niche, number of employees, and annual revenue size.
Researching qualitative criteria, such as how highly a prospect values IT, will take a long time. Ultimately it’s just a guess on your part until you actually reach the contact to verify it. This information definitely will allow your reps to make a more personalized call, but if your goal is to find people who are interested or ready to purchase now, you need to start making calls right now.
Start with a list of companies or contacts who meet your measurable target market criteria, then use your prospecting calls to refine the list.
If you’re running a lead generation campaign, your goal is to uncover people who are interested or ready to purchase soon.
Similar to prospecting, you want a list of contacts that fit your measureable target market criteria, but here you do need to have the right contact name to approach the first time. If you send an email campaign designed for a business owner to the IT manager, not only could it be ignored, but it may also cause bad will, hurting your chances of breaking into the company.
Once you have your list of contacts and companies, let the lead generation campaign help you refine your list and uncover those prospects who are most interested in talking with you now.
If you’re running a nurturing campaign, your goal is to gradually educate a group of contacts over time until they are interested in purchasing — eventually.
In nurturing, you want a good list to begin with. Your campaign may run for six months, a year or even longer. You want to be sure the people you’re nurturing are potential prospects for you but just aren’t ready to engage yet.
Like lead generation, you want a list of companies that fit your measurable target market criteria, including target contact. The best nurturing list is contacts who have had exposure to your company in the past. They may have met you at a networking event, attended a webinar or clicked through on a lead generation campaign at some point. Because they are aware of your company they are more likely to pay attention to your nurturing campaign. Then when they are ready to explore making a purchase, you’ll be top of mind because of the nurturing you’ve been doing.
Let your goals determine the value of time spent researching to create a list vs. simply executing and reaching as many people as possible.
For strategies on how to build an email list, check out Build Better Email Lists, Get Better Leads.