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Crafting an Ideal Sales Prospecting List: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Crafting an Ideal Sales Prospecting List: A Step-by-Step Guide

Blog / Crafting an Ideal Sales Prospecting List: A Step-by-Step Guide

Crafting an Ideal Sales Prospecting List: A Step-by-Step Guide

In the world of sales, prospecting stands as a pivotal factor for achieving success. Getting it right allows you to optimise your efforts and focus on the prospects that truly matter – those with genuine potential to become paying customers.

To embark on a fruitful sales prospecting marketing journey, a robust and relevant sales prospecting list serves as the foundation. With this carefully curated collection of potential customers, you gain the clarity to identify exactly who to target.

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However, creating such a list is no easy task.

Many sales professionals find themselves struggling with prospecting lists that contain irrelevant contacts; in fact, around 40% of salespeople fail to target the right audience. Moreover, 41% admit to wasting valuable time engaging with prospects who have no intention of converting into customers.

That’s why we’ve taken the initiative to guide you in building the perfect prospecting list. By doing so, you can channel your time, energy, and resources towards prospects that hold the highest potential for conversion. Here’s how you can achieve it with precision.

Identifying the Perfect Prospect

Let’s take a moment to review what sales prospecting marketing entails: it involves the process of pinpointing potential customers or buyers who align with your ideal customer profile (ICP).

Once you’ve identified these prospects, the next crucial step is to add them to your CRM (Customer Relationship Management system). This enables you to nurture leads and guide them through the sales funnel until they are prepared to convert into paying customers.

To kickstart your sales prospecting marketing journey and determine your ideal prospects, it’s essential to identify the types of companies that make the best customers. Additionally, defining your buyer personas becomes imperative as they represent the decision-makers within these companies who will ultimately finalise the deals.

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Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

If you have existing customers, determining the criteria for your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) becomes more straightforward, especially if you’ve reviewed our guide and ICP template.

Essential considerations include industry, company size and location. However, to refine your criteria, you need to delve deeper. Broad criteria, such as company size and location, can result in extensive prospecting lists with less relevant companies.

Here are three quick steps to identify your ICP:

  • Assess your current top customers: Analyse those who closed deals swiftly, generated the highest average deal size, exhibited strong Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), provided referrals, or were amenable to upselling.
  • Predict long-term prospects: Evaluate if customers are fully utilising your product, understand its capabilities, and have experienced improvements and ROI from using it.
  • Spot commonalities: After identifying 10-20 best customers, look for shared attributes among them.

These insights will unveil the distinctive traits of your ideal customers, which you can incorporate into your ICP template.

Crafting Buyer Personas: Understanding Your Target Audience

To pinpoint your ideal prospects, crafting buyer personas becomes essential. Don’t worry; we also have a comprehensive guide and template for this.

Buyer personas represent fictional characters embodying potential decision-makers within companies that align with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

Consider the following key criteria when defining your buyer personas:

  • Title and seniority: Determine decision-makers titles and their rank within the organisation. Decide whether mid-level managers or C-suite executives should be targeted at the early stage of the sales planning process.
  • Decision-making authority: Assess their purchasing power and ascertain if additional stakeholders need involvement later on.
  • Personal goals: Understand how prospects’ performance is evaluated at work and what their current goals are.
  • User: Determine if the prospect will be the one utilising your offering.

By identifying the characteristics of your ICP and creating distinct buyer personas, you’ll gain clarity on which companies to pursue and which to disregard. Moreover, you’ll know precisely who to approach within the organisation.

Constructing an Effective Sales Prospecting List

Having understood how to identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and create buyer personas, you’re now prepared to embark on building your sales prospecting list.

The process of creating a sales prospecting list involves four straightforward steps:

1) Searching for Companies that Align with Your ICP

Equipped with your ICP criteria (industry, company size, maturity, revenue, tech stack, service region, etc.), it’s time to start searching for new prospects.

The method of searching for relevant companies varies depending on your criteria. For instance, if industry and service region are your key factors, Google Maps can be a simple tool to identify restaurants in a specific area if you’re selling industrial dishwashers to them.

However, for selling social media management software to startup marketing teams in a marketing and sales strategy example, a different approach is required. Utilising tools like G2, Crunchbase, and LinkedIn allows you to narrow down potential customers based on criteria such as company size, latest funding round, and employee count.

Nonetheless, these methods can be manual, repetitive, and time-consuming.

Learn More: Google Maps Marketing

2) Pinpointing the Right Decision-Makers

Once you have your prospect list, the next crucial step is to identify the right decision-makers within the target companies. This is where your customer personas come into play.

For example, if you sell HRM software to enterprise companies and your top customer personas include Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs), HR VPs, and Chief Benefits Officers, you’ll need to locate individuals holding these positions in each company on your prospect list.

LinkedIn proves to be an excellent tool for this purpose. You can conduct targeted searches for specific roles, gaining valuable insights about the prospects, their responsibilities, and interests. This information becomes invaluable for crafting effective outreach sales emails.

3) Obtaining Relevant Contact Information

A prospecting list is of little value without the means to contact your prospects effectively.

After pinpointing the right individuals to approach, the next step is to find their email addresses and phone numbers.

Numerous tools can assist with this task, such as Swordfish AI, DiscoveryOrg, Uplead, Clearbit, AeroLeads, and more. While reaching out through LinkedIn is an option, it does have its drawbacks.

4) Scoring and Prioritising Your Leads

Last but not least, you need to prioritise your prospect list through lead scoring. This process involves ranking your prospects based on who should be targeted first or who holds greater strategic, reliable, or valuable potential.

While all prospects technically align with your ICP, some may stand out as more advantageous or responsive than others. For instance, you might discover that mid-level marketing managers and in marketing strategy plans, despite being a part of the same customer persona, respond faster and lead to shorter sales cycles compared to marketing VPs.

The Significance of Maintaining Your Prospecting List

Once you’ve established your ICP criteria, created customer personas, identified prospects, collected their contact information, and applied lead scoring, the work doesn’t end there—it requires ongoing management and refinement to align with your sales team and business goals.

Effective ways to manage your prospecting list and keep it up-to-date include:

  • Keeping contacts current: Regularly updating the list to reflect prospects’ job changes, promotions, and company shifts ensures that your sales emails are directed at relevant individuals.
  • Updating notes: Stay informed about each prospect’s company through tools like Google alerts or Traffic Radius Sales Signals, monitoring changes like mergers, acquisitions, executive moves, and other buyer triggers.
  • Continuous growth: To expand your business, consistently nurture more prospects and add new results from regular searches to your list.
  • Ensuring relevance: As your sales strategy plan evolves, review and update your prospecting list to match any changes in your ICP criteria and customer buyers.
  • Re-ranking: With prospects being added or eliminated, regularly re-rank and score the list, enabling your SDRs to prioritise effectively.

Avoiding Common Sales Prospecting Pitfalls

For salespeople juggling numerous tasks and facing pressure from their superiors, constructing a prospecting list might appear overwhelming. Even with the aid of automation tools, analysing customers, defining the ICP, and establishing customer personas remain essential responsibilities.

While it’s tempting to take shortcuts, they can lead to more issues than solutions. Here are four common sales prospecting mistakes to steer clear of when striving to build an efficient and effective prospecting list:

1) Refrain from Purchasing Low-Quality Lead Lists

Under no circumstances should you consider buying a lead list. Such a decision will likely result in a multitude of issues, including mostly irrelevant contacts, broken email addresses, outdated roles, and contacts from completely unrelated companies.

This unfortunate combination is undoubtedly something you should avoid at all costs.

Purchasing a lead list will not accelerate your prospecting process; instead, you’ll find yourself spending more time cleaning up the list than it would have taken to create one from scratch.

2) Avoid Casting a Net That’s Overly Broad

Creating a generalised ICP will lead to an abundance of prospects who may not be suitable customers. This approach will prove to be an inefficient use of your time and resources.

To maximise effectiveness, invest time in carefully analysing your customers and developing a comprehensive and specific set of criteria to define your ICP.

3) Prevent Casting a Net That’s Too Narrow

Though less frequent, it’s possible to become overly specific with your ICP criteria, potentially leading you to overlook excellent potential customers.

While pursuing companies that possess the desired traits is crucial, it’s also essential to maintain flexibility and explore opportunities with companies that offer unique value as customers.

4) Ensuring Alignment with Marketing Efforts

Sales and marketing plan alignment, also known as “smarketing,” is a pivotal aspect of successful sales, especially when constructing a prospecting list.

Collaborating closely with the marketing team proves highly beneficial during the list-building process. Marketers play a key role in developing customer personas, which are vital for creating targeted campaigns. By working together and leveraging their insights, you can craft more comprehensive personas that enhance your outreach efforts.

This collaboration also ensures continuity throughout the buyers’ journey and beyond, leading to a positive customer experience.

Speedy Prospect List Building

We have streamlined and expedited the process of building a sales prospecting list, making your sales action plan efforts more efficient than ever. Here’s how we do it:

  • Advanced search: Utilise our lead generator tool with a wide array of filters to create a prospect list tailored to your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
  • Contacts: Easily find the contact details of the right decision-makers within your target accounts.
  • CRM sync: Seamlessly download the contact information directly into your CRM (HubSpot or Salesforce) or export it to an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Lead scoring: Leverage our lead scoring mechanisms to enhance lead qualification and prioritise your prospects effectively.
  • Insights generator: Enhance your industry, competitor, and account knowledge with our insights generator, along with website performance data.
  • Sales planning process signals: Stay informed with company updates, role changes, and new business opportunities to keep your prospecting list up-to-date and seize upsell or cross-sell chances.

Does this sound appealing to you? Book a demo or consult with one of our experts to explore how our solutions align with your sales goals for this year.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I develop a targeted prospecting list?

To create a targeted prospecting list, begin by defining your ideal customer profile (ICP) and then gather contact details from online databases, professional platforms, and industry-specific directories that align with your criteria and sales business plan.

What advantages does a prospecting list offer?

A prospecting list allows you to concentrate on potential customers who are more likely to be interested in your offering, thereby saving valuable time and resources. It facilitates personalised outreach and provides a means to track and measure the effectiveness of your prospecting efforts.

How do I ensure my prospecting list remains current?

To keep your prospecting list up to date, regularly review and validate contact information, employ data cleansing tools or services to eliminate duplicates, update outdated details, and verify email addresses.

What strategies can I employ to optimise my prospecting list for improved outcomes?

To optimise your prospecting list, analyse it for patterns or trends among successful leads. Adjust your targeting criteria based on these insights, tailor your messaging to address specific needs, and consistently track and measure results for ongoing improvement.

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