How to Quickly Build a B2B List of Qualified Prospects
October 30, 2020
Having a defined list of qualified prospects that you want to reach out to will improve the results your sales efforts generate.
Instead of scrambling to find new prospects every week when you’re trying to hit your quota, a well-crafted list of prospects enables you to quickly get in touch with qualified accounts who are an excellent fit for what you’re selling.
In this post, I’ll show you how you can start building your B2B list to help you spend more time talking with qualified leads.
We’re going to talk about:
- What is a B2B List?
- Popular Ways to Build a B2B List
- How to Create a Qualified Prospect List with DemandScience
Let’s dive in.
What do we mean by a B2B List?
B2B lists are lists of people or accounts that your sales team will reach out to and try to close as customers.
As you know, leads don’t appear out of thin air. Creating a B2B list of target accounts is hard work. If your list doesn’t match your buyer persona, you’re not going to get responses.
Take the necessary time to build your list, and make sure every person and account on there is going to be a near-perfect match for your business.
In the next section, I’ll show you a few popular ways your sales team can create a B2B list.
Common Ways to Build a B2B List of Qualified Prospects
1. Inbound List Building
Inbound list building is a popular way to gather a list of qualified leads. 75% of marketers say inbound works well for their business.
That’s for good reason.
But what exactly is inbound list building? It’s when you capture your existing website visitors’ information, and add them to your list of prospects to reach out to.
This can be done in a few ways:
- Have gated content that visitors can opt-in to by providing their email address
- Run a targeted industry newsletter
- Offer free demo calls where qualified leads can opt-in
These are all easy ways to start growing your list of qualified prospects.
Benefits of Inbound B2B List Building
Benefit #1: They’re Pre-Qualified
Firstly, your inbound prospects are pre-qualified. They’ve come to your website, decided they want to engage with some content you’ve created, or want a product demo, and you’ve been able to collect their email.
Because they already know your brand, you can assume your inbound prospects are solution-aware, and may even be purchase-ready.
This differs from outbound list building because when you cold call or cold email someone, they may not be ready to purchase, and it could take months to close them.
Benefit #2: You Control The Entire Interaction
With inbound list building, you’re in the driving seat. You create the opt-ins. You write the email nurturing campaign. You run the product demo.
The control you have over the process is a key reason why inbound list building is a great way to build a list. Because you have control over the flow, you can create a semi-automated lead generation system.
Benefit #3: After the Initial Setup, There’s Little Maintenance Needed
Once your lead generation forms are set up and you have a flow of leads arriving on your website, there’s very little extra time investment.
Of course, you’ll likely spend at least a few days to weeks creating an inbound list building system that’s reliable, predictable, and proves that it’s an effective way to capture qualified leads.
But once your inbound list building system is in place, all you need to do is sit back and wait for your leads to arrive.
Downsides of Inbound B2B List Building
That said, inbound list building still isn’t perfect. Here are some downsides that you should consider.
Downside #1: You Can’t Control Who Ends Up on Your List
Because you’re not individually selecting the accounts who arrive on your website and fill out a form, you’re not fully in control of who ends up on that list.
Chances are, you’ll end up with a certain percentage of unqualified leads that you’ll need to filter out before contacting them.
Downside #2: If Your Business Changes, Your Inbound System Will Need to be Reviewed
Changes are, your business is different today from the first day you opened it.
If you commit to an inbound B2B list building system early-on, you’re likely to need to change it within a few months as you gain more understanding of your ideal customer, and the pain points they experience. You could end up spending days building an automated system, only to need to change it a few months later, meaning your work was for nothing.
Inbound list building isn’t as easy to change as outbound list building is (we’ll come to this soon).
Using LinkedIn to Build a Prospect List
If you don’t have the time (or will) to create an inbound system, that’s okay. Many businesses can do extremely well just using LinkedIn outreach as their only outreach tactic. In fact, 59% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is generating leads for them. 93% of B2B brands say LinkedIn is the most valuable social platform.
But, is LinkedIn the right place to build your B2B list? Let’s take a look.
Benefit #1: Up-to-Date Information on Prospects
Most professionals keep their LinkedIn profiles up to date, even if they don’t use LinkedIn much in their day-to-day work. That means it’s a great place to quickly discover exactly what people are in what roles at a company. If you’re targeting CMOs at companies with 50+ people in New York, you can easily run a search and get a qualified list of prospects.
Benefit #2: Sales Navigator Allows You to Save Prospects to Lists
Building B2B lists inside LinkedIn can be sped up with Sales Navigator. It’s like a mini CRM and it enables you to save prospects to different lists, and take actions like connecting with them or sending them an InMail. It makes prospecting simple, especially if you’re already using LinkedIn as part of your workflow.
Downsides of Using LinkedIn to Create Your Lead Lists
Downside #1: Lots of Manual Work
Unfortunately, you still have to spend time on the platform, scrolling through pages of prospects. If you want to send messages at scale, you’ll need to use a third party tool to do so. It’s not as convenient as email, where you can easily send messages at scale from your existing CRM.
Downside #2: Inactive Users Lead to Less Responses
Your customers check their emails multiple times per day. The same can’t always be said of LinkedIn. Despite it being a great platform to connect with potential customers, it’s still not the place people expect to hear from new potential vendors or partners.
Email remains the number one place for that. If you rely too heavily on LinkedIn for your list building, you’ll likely see fewer replies than if you sent an equivalent campaign through email.
Building a Qualified List with DemandScience
If you had access to a filtered list of prospects, complete with contact details, that perfectly match your ideal customer profile, how would your business benefit?
With DemandScience, that’s what you can get. Our B2B data platform allows you to build targeted lead lists based on granular criteria. Let’s take a look at what it can help you achieve.
Benefits of DemandScience
Benefit #1: Instant List of Leads That Match Your ICP
In real terms, that means you can search our database of 59+ million B2B decision-makers by almost any criteria you can think of.
Narrow your searches by criteria like
- Software companies use on their website
- How much revenue they generate every year
- Job titles and functions
This enables you to build B2B lists that are more relevant than the traditional methods, and you’re going to see higher reply rates to your outreach campaigns.
Benefit #2: Accurate and Verified Contact Data
Considering databases decay by over 20% every year, you’re probably wondering how we deal with that.
Our system runs regular checks on our data to re-verify and validate it.
DemandScience uses a Contact Validity Score (CVS) to ensure only contacts with a score of 95% or more make it to, and stay in our database.
Our data is reviewed by our machine learning models, as well as an in-house team. Data is also cross-referenced with government registries, postal records, and online records.
This means you’ll have fewer emails bouncing, and fewer cold calls that put you through to the wrong person.
Your B2B list is a critical part of your sales process.
If your list is good, you’ll have more productive conversations with leads. If your list is bad, you’ll see bounced emails, low response rates, and, ultimately, low close rates.
You can build a list in several ways, but some of the most popular tried and tested methods include building an automated inbound lead generation system, or using platforms like LinkedIn to connect with decision-makers.
If you’re looking to identify prospects who are a great fit for your solution at scale, try DemandScience for free and start building your list.