How to Build a Sales Prospect List in 5 Steps

    by Arlen Robinson

    Sales Prospect List

    A prospect list is an essential component of the sales process and the first item on your outbound lead generation checklist. Whether you’re running email campaigns, social media, or paid ads, your prospect list must be on-point if you’re to gather the most-likely-to-convert leads for your business.

    If you’re always generating inconsistent sales numbers, it could mean one of three things. First, your lead generation campaigns are not consistent. Second, your prospects are not responding well to your message. Third, and most often forgotten, is that you’re always creating a prospect list that doesn’t capture the prospects’ needs or misrepresents their pain points.

    Read to the end of this article as we unveil the 5 key steps on how to build a prospect list that’s guaranteed to spruce up your sales numbers. 

    What Is a Sales Prospect List?

    A sales prospect list is a datasheet detailing potential customers' information, including their email addresses. Of course, more information fields can be added as per the needs of the selling company.

    For smaller sales teams, a simple spreadsheet will suffice to hold basic information fields such as prospect names, ages, emails, phone numbers, and so on. Larger teams need to be more organized, which is why a CRM would be necessary to hold prospect information. CRM tools can hold prospect data and move it across the sales process through automation. 


    What Is a Sales Prospect List?

    What to Know About Your Prospects When Building Your List

    Understanding your prospects is the first step to building a prospect list. Some common questions sales representatives should ask about prospects include:

    • Who is the prospect?
    • What do they do for a living?
    • Where do they work?
    • What’s their position at the company?
    • What are their pain points?

    All this information can be obtained with insights from the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and the buyer persona. The ICP is the person or company that is most likely to benefit from your products or services. These people have higher chances of converting, and salespeople should concentrate their conversion efforts on them.

    The ICP and buyer persona complement each other. Once you have an ideal customer base, you can create a clearer picture of who they are as a person by creating a buyer persona. 

    The buyer persona provides granular details about:

    • Who the customer is
    • Their age
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Occupation
    • The company they work for
    • Their pains
    • Objections/beliefs about your product/service
    • Interests and hobbies

    Here, you can include any information that will help you craft a message tailored specifically for them. Personalized messages spark more interest, and as it stands, 91% of customers want to do business with companies that provide relevant offers and recommendations. That can only happen when you understand your leads.

    What Information Should Be on Your List of Prospects

    The information you'll want to include on your list of prospects will vary by the business and its target market. At a minimum, you'll need each prospect's:

    • Name
    • Title
    • Company
    • Contact information (phone number, email address), and 
    • Any relevant notes about the prospect (recent interactions, next steps, areas of interest, etc.). 

    What Information Should Be on Your List of Prospects

    In addition, include additional information such as job title, industry, company size, location, etc. By including this information on your list of prospects, you'll be able to better target your marketing efforts and maximize your chances of making a sale.

    Can’t find your prospect’s phone number anywhere on the internet? Don’t panic. Try out our phone number extractor to collect prospect phone numbers by parsing the information from websites that could contain it.

    How to Build, Organize and Prioritize Your Sales Prospect List

    Everything that you have accomplished leads to this moment. But before you get down on collecting information and pasting it on your spreadsheet, follow these steps to ensure that you get it right from the start.

    Here’s how to build a sales prospect list from the ground up:

    1. Teach Your Sales Reps About Your Product or Service Offering

    Your sales representatives are the bridge between your company and its customers. Yet sometimes, they lack sufficient knowledge about exactly what the company sells. More specifically, how what the company sells can solve a prospect’s challenges. Only 13% of customers believe that a salesperson can understand their business needs. This belief can be shattered with sales training.

    But not so fast! 26% of sales reps admit that their training is ineffective. The solution is to develop an in-house training program that goes beyond the feature-benefit of your product or service. Consider aligning your new program around the product’s solution to equip the team with the knowledge that they need to sway the customer into action.

    Tip: Strive to smoothen the communication between sales, marketing, product development, QA, and customer service departments. Seamless inter-department communication keeps everyone on the same page, which leads to higher customer satisfaction.

    2. Do Your Homework and Research About the Prospect

    First, take some time to brainstorm who your ideal customers are. 

    • Who would benefit the most from your products and services?
    • What industries are they in? 
    • What company do they work for? 
    • What pain points do they have that your product or service can solve?

    Now that you have a better understanding of the ideal customer, it’s time to hunt them down. Think about where your ideal customer hangs out. That’s the best place to start.

    For instance, B2B prospects hang out on LinkedIn. They share their industry insights and, more importantly, content for their websites and blogs. If you’re an avid LinkedIn user, you’ll find loads of information about your prospects on the professional platform, including their current industry, position at the company, contact details, skills, and interests, all listed on their profile. 

    3. Start Building Your List

    Consider building your own list. Here’s why: 

    Pre-qualified email lists can provide quick relief to sales-hungry teams, but they’re not the most effective lead-generation approach for the long haul. Often, these lists are bundled with errors, and since they’re collected for you, it’s obvious that the list builder did not take into account your products and services. 

    Instead, we’ll always recommend that you build prospect list from scratch. This gives you more time to focus on refining your leads, understanding their needs, and eventually creating email copy that persuades them to consider your products/services as potential solutions to their unique challenges.

    You’ll probably have to scour the internet from website to website before you can find some prospect’s email. Spare yourself the struggle and try our email addresses collector to capture prospect emails by typing in website URLs and other keywords in a matter of seconds!

    4. More Research

    Your targeted prospect list will start taking shape once you start eliminating the leads that aren’t a good fit for your products and services. This step demands that you take a closer look at your draft prospect list and their industry challenges. Can your product or service solve these challenges? 

    In your evaluation, make an effort to estimate the likelihood of your lead becoming an existing customer.

    Next, disqualify unsuitable leads, and then sort out your prospect list draft. Start by identifying your hottest leads — these are the prospects that are most likely to buy from you. Then, rank your prospects in order of priority, with the hottest leads at the top. This will tell your sales team where to channel their efforts.

    5. Reach Out and Test Your Campaign

    Now you have all you need to run your first test campaign. In marketing and sales, testing provides first-hand results on what works and what doesn’t. Rather than testing every lead on your list or struggling to collect a massive list of 1000+ prospects, we recommend starting out with 50-100 in your first test.

    Run Outreach Campaigns With the Help of Professional Software

    Congratulations! You just built a clean prospect list. Emailing your prospects is the next step. Unfortunately, you can’t send bulk emails to test your lead generation hypotheses without your web-service email provider limits getting in the way. Besides, your prospect’s spam filters are on high alert for spammy emails, and your beautifully-crafted email copy ends up in the spam folder.

    That’s where mass tools from AtomPark Software come in. With our full suite of email tools, testing your email message delivery couldn’t get any easier! Our email software enables sales reps to send out bulk emails with zero restrictions whatsoever.

    What’s more, you don’t have to create a new template from scratch every time you start a fresh email campaign! We know that as a salesperson, your customers need more of your attention. So, why not try out our pre-built templates in your campaign and see how they fair?

    Ready to start winning more opportunities for your business? Download and install any Atomic Software on your PC and see how you can generate more opportunities for your business today!

    Final Words

    Building, organizing, and prioritizing your sales prospect list doesn't have to be complicated. By following these simple tips, you can create a high-quality list that will help you close more sales and grow your business.

    Written by:
    Arlen Robinson
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