There is no question that targeted business lists are the way to go in B2B lead generation. Whether you start the purchase journey with an introductory phone call or mailing, the key is fine-tuning the list.
Business lists are very different than consumer lists in the way they are compiled and updated.
Let’s start at the beginning. Business lists are compiled from lots of public and proprietary sources. The first source is the yellow pages – every business has a phone number. Additional sources include industry directories, lists of conference exhibitors, and the corporate property database. Data is also added from state professional licenses. That’s where we get information for physicians, attorneys, electricians and even massage therapists.
Does your market have a business journal? There are dozens of these types of journals all over the country. Each week, these newspapers publish a list of businesses in a certain industry. One week it may be the top fifty commercial lenders. Another week might be devoted to the top 100 construction firms in the market. These lists are also added into the database.
What about New Businesses? That kind of data is compiled on a monthly basis from country courthouses. New Business data is also added into the Business Database.
Fine-Tuning the Data
You want to make sure you targeted your Business list so you are only spending time (and money) contacting the businesses you want. That means you want to select only those businesses that makes sense for you to contact.
In the list industry, this process is called filtering. You want to filter out the best possible prospects for your lead generation campaign.
Here are some of the typical selects on a business list:
- Contact name
- Credit rating
- Ethnic owned business
- Fax number
- First year in business
- Gender of owner
- Location type: franchise / free standing
- New Business
- Number of Employees
- Number of Years in Business
- Phone Number
- Sales Volume
- SIC Code / Business Description
- SOHO / Small office – home office
- Contact person’s title
- Women owned business
- Website URL
- Email address of contact
- Mailing address / physical location
Standing Out from the Crowd
OK – you’ve narrowed down the universe of businesses in your market to the top 100 companies you want to do business with. Now, you need to be able to distinguish yourself from the competition. You want to stand out from the crowd.
I have a colleague who once told me that she was having trouble getting a foot into the door of top CEOs in her market. She bought a targeted business list and culled it down to the top 20 CEOS she wanted to work with.
My colleague decided that she needed to make an impact to get noticed. She went to a local florist and bought 20 trees. (I mean trees – not little plants) She had these delivered to the companies she wanted to impact. And impact she did. The trees had little fake birds perched on the branches. These were knockouts.
When she called to follow up and got the CEO’s gatekeeper, they were so impressed with her creativity, they put her right through!
The campaign generated 18 meetings, out of a possible 20. Now that’s creative lead generation.
A Numbers Game
For many businesses, lead generation using a targeted business list for telemarketing is a numbers game. That means being diligent in your calling and understanding that it takes multiple calls to get through.