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3 Steps to Stellar List Building


The best list is the one nobody else has. Gathering valuable information enables you to build targeted niche lists, track emerging companies in specific markets, and segment larger sectors or lists. 

Good B2B list building affects all aspects of business, including the funnel and pipeline. Collecting the names, titles, emails, phone numbers, and social data creates that holistic record.  However, building a quality, accurate, and targeted list requires planning.

Here are the key steps to keep in mind.

1. Understand Your Audience.

Before you can start building a list, you must know your target audience. Who do you sell to? Even more, knowing your target means understanding their biggest challenges. According to Debbie Madden, CEO of Stride, “Consider your target as a group of people who share specific needs and reference each other.”

To identify your market, consider their key locations, industries, titles, company size, etc. Uncover the personas of the individuals you want as clients. This enables you to define your real client. “Think of existing and past clients,” shared Debbie, “Think of the ones you love and the ones you wish you didn’t have.” Personas include understanding your audience’s values, beliefs, hobbies, interests, dislikes, deal breakers, etc.

2. Target Your Audience.

It’s very hard to sell something just because you want to sell it. It’s much easier to solve a problem. Therefore, understand the urgent need you’re solving for your client.

Targeting your audience means being able to:

  • Better tailor your sales pitch and marketing message to their needs
  • Improve demand generation response rates
  • Have more successful first sales calls
  • Increase competitive win rates
  • Shorten sales cycles

A common mistake with list building and outreach is targeting a single point of contact. 

For example, if you pull lists of salespeople because that's your prospect, you may be leaving out other important prospects such as that salesperson’s boss, bosses or colleagues. A two or three-prong sales outreach approach enables you to reach out to your direct prospect, the VP of Sales, the VP of Marketing, the COO, and so on.

Determine the optimal set of contacts for the best outreach and target all of them. This way, if your direct contact does not pan out, you have other options. Even more, you can reach out to all of these contacts at once, referencing each other, and establishing credibility and influence in your message as you name drop.

Before you craft a list, determine the absolute best way to engage with your audience. That means determining how many contacts you need in each organization to seal the deal.

3.  Ensure Accurate List Data.

Data ages 3% to 5% a month; therefore, if you’re buying lists or pulling data from bad sources, and that data source has not been updated in a year, for instance, then you’re buying data that’s pretty old. That means duplicates, incorrect titles and phone numbers, and even missing information, such as lack of emails or social data.

Don’t buy more data than you need. For example, if you buy a list that can last you an entire year, but you’re only going to use it for a few months, then you are not only wasting money, you’re guaranteeing that the data will sit and decay. Buy data as you need it. 

Determining how much data you need depends on your strategy for the list. For example, if you’re getting a list related to a specific event, simply gather data around the timeframe of the event.

Data quality outweighs any list size. If you have 100,000 emails, but only 10% are accurate, then the large size of your list doesn’t matter. Completeness and accuracy outweigh quantity. Completeness is what you seek.

With great technology and great data, the future of list development is bright. Greater targeting and segmenting enables us to do more with list building than ever before. Learn more in the latest RingLead ebook, List Building: How to Build the Best Lists EVER. Also, join us for #ProspectingChat next Wednesday to discuss how to best use this data when sales prospecting. 

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About the Author   |   Donato Diorio

Donato Diorio is the CEO of RingLead with the primary responsibility of combining the teams, technology and vision of RingLead and Broadlook Technologies, a data technology company founded by Donato. Donato started his career as a software engineer and quickly became a specialist in process automation. A recognized thought leader and speaker on data quality and recruitment; two diverse areas technology dependent and process-driven, Donato’s mantra is, “Build technology that is the right balance between automation and human interaction.” Executing this vision has delivered consistent innovation for Broadlook and now the RingLead-Broadlook combination.

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