Predictable University Day 4: Ways to Start List Building

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Now that we’ve decided on a niche to focus on (via the Nail Your Niche exercise), determined specific criteria to target our highest value customers (via the Ideal Customer Profile exercise), we’re ready to start building a List of Target Accounts and sourcing Contact information for these accounts.

Key Concepts to Learn:

  1. Building lists can be difficult, tedious and time consuming. Get over it and do it yourself initially. This will help you lay the foundation for your future outbound strategy.
  2. There will never be a perfect list, so don’t waste time striving for perfection. While quality is definitely important, focus first on getting started within the first 24 hours and iterate from there.
  3. Developing an effective and repeatable list building system will take lots of trial and error, and may even take months to finalize.
  4. Once you’ve built your initial lists and even developed a system for doing so in the future, keeping this information clean, accurate and up to date is whole other challenge. Don’t worry about this right now.

Recommendations or Exercises:

  1. Build a List of 10–15 Accounts that fit into your Ideal Customer Profile
  2. For Each of these 10–15 Accounts within your ICP, find contact information for the key individuals you would want to speak to about your product or serve.

There are a number of resources and blog posts available online to help you automate, simplify and optimize your list building process using tools. I’ve tried many of these tools myself, and while some are better than others, the “best” will depend on your industry and the type of information that’s relevant to you. In any case, I’ve provided a couple of resources below that will help you get started in building your very first account and contact lists below.

2 Quick Resources and Tools to Help Build Lists and Find Contact Information:

Benefits of this Lesson to Startups & Modern Sellers:

  1. Start Outbound as a Process — Building a process for list building is part of the journey towards repeatable revenue, and ultimately predictable revenue in the future. Even though you will continue to iterate on this process, this initial DIY system will be the foundation of your outbound sales process and revenue machine.
  2. Determine Data Sources— Building your own target account and contact lists, will help you determine where to get high quality and accurate information on prospects that fit your ICP. It will also help you choose specific data sources to continue using and which ones to avoid.
  3. Understand Work Effort — Building your own target account and contact lists, will help you understand the work effort involved in sourcing this information and keeping it up to date. Then in the future, as you look to hand this off to another sales rep, hire a lead sourcing company, or even purchase a list for yourself, you’ll have context to evaluate the ROI of making an investment in this area.
  4. Iterate on Your ICP — The process of going through and finding contact information to build your lists, can actually help you iterate on your ICP. When conducting prospect research, you may come across additional pieces of information or criteria that you may want to add to your ICP.

Tomorrow we’ll take the next step in learning why customer interviews matter, and how to conduct them in a way that helps sales.

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You can learn more about my work at www.salestraction.io and you can follow me on Twitter @RajenSanghvi

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