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Without A Quality List Your Cold Calling Efforts Will Not Be Successful


The subject of this blog should be obvious to anyone with a little experience in sales, sales operations or marketing. Problem is, most us, myself included, don’t want to take it upon ourselves to put the time in to go through the painstaking task of scrubbing off all the bad contacts and outdated info on our lists. Believe me, I get it. I would say this aspect of my job ranks right up there with having to let an employee know they need a little work on their hygiene. Generally my experience has been that I’ll sit down with a list and after a half hour of staring at a screen, my eyes feel as if they’re going to fall out of my head. Of course at that point I begin to think of all of the other things I would prefer to be doing and my “scrub” goes from a line-by-line overview of each company/contact, to a “quick skim” over the remainder of the list. This never works out well.

I can virtually guarantee that if we start with poor quality data, then we will fail. Don’t be surprised at the lack of results we had hoped for. Bottom line, your campaign is only as good as the list you’ve put in front of your reps. The better the list, the better your marketing campaign.  Let’s assume you have a great rep making dials and a solid service/technology, then 95% of the time there is only ONE thing you can place blame on. The list. With any post-mortem I’ve done with less successful campaigns invariably the list played a major factor in ability to produce.

I’ve blogged/ranted about this topic in the past and it just doesn’t ever seem to go away. Having worked with the brightest minds in sales and marketing ramping up campaigns, you would assume that this would rank at the top of our list of priorities. Most of the time the messaging is on-point, the reps are trained, the lead transition process is nailed but the list is an afterthought. Quality data is what makes any good campaign go. Quite simply, if you don’t have anything worthwhile to call on then all the prep work you’ve put in prior is useless.

While there isn’t always an easy to answer, here are a couple of random suggestions that have worked for me to increase the chances of converting more leads from the lists your working with.  

Hire an intern to scrub your lists: If you don’t have the time to do it, someone has to. We all have more important things to do, plus its good experience for a college marketing major looking to understand the quality of data required to run the right campaign.

Use an outside firm to scrub your data: There are a few companies we’ve worked with over the years who can ping email addresses and call verify every name on your list. Most recently we’ve partnered with, who have recently helped to bring the accuracy on our lists up to 90%.

Be very wary of the data residing in your CRM: Anytime I’ve been told that we have an amazing list to share out of our CRM, it ends up being 50% accurate at best. If you are under a time crunch and need to get your reps calling immediately I recommend buying a list since they are at least 30-40% more accurate than the crap residing in your CRM.

So let’s end the madness and focus on being more successful. We all have lousy lists that we’ve got to work with. It NEVER makes sense to just throw your rep in front of an “unscrubbed” list and expect good results. It just won’t happen.  Don’t put the cart before the horse. Do it better than you’re doing it now…you’re better than that. 


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