Making the Investment in a Great List: Well Worth It!
As I have written in many previous blog posts, the list is the single most important factor in the success of a cold calling program. You can prepare the best script, hire the most capable calling team, and write engaging email follow-ups, but if you’re not targeting the right leads all of that is moot.
It may seem like information to create any kind of list should be readily available. With all that we hear about “big data” and “data mining”, you should be able to find appropriate contacts in any target market instantly. Often, that’s simply not the case. The information may be out there, but finding it can sometimes be more difficult that it appears.
We have experience building lists for a variety of cold calling programs, targeting many different markets. Just as an example, in the past month alone we have had clients ask us for lists of:
• Companies who spend over $10,000 on office furniture annually,
• Companies who want to keep track of news and events in the energy industry,
• And companies who want to hire consultants specializing in proposal writing.
As a result, we have explored many different Internet resources for not only identifying appropriate companies, but also accessing the names, titles, and contact information for potential decision makers and influencers. Even if you only have a vague idea of your target market, you can start there and begin to build.
Bear in mind that many of these resources, such as ZoomInfo and Salesforce’s Data.com, require paid subscriptions. Whether these databases are worth the subscription depends your company’s needs and how many records you wish to access. Other free resources can help you search for companies based on industry and location (e.g. the Worldwide Business Directory), but may not allow you to access individual contact information. Often a combination of sources can be used to narrow down a list of potential leads.
Many clients come to us with a list already prepared, which gives these clients a competitive edge and makes our job easier. These lists are often built over time from trade show contacts, association memberships, website traffic, email campaigns, etc. Even if the exact decision maker name is not known, we can navigate to find that person(s). A well-qualified list of appropriate companies is enough of a footing to start with to reach great leads.
The process of developing a good list, whether using Internet sources or more traditional networking and marketing strategies, takes time. Do not underestimate the value of this time investment. First, it will help you develop a repeatable list-building process and identify the best resources, giving you a competitive advantage over time. Second, it will save you from wasting time and money on a cold calling campaign that is not targeting the best leads. Often using a bad list is more costly than not moving forward; a great list is worth the wait.