How to build a sales prospecting list Developing a prospecting list has the potential to help you attract more customers and increase revenue. It can also be a great way to learn more about your potential customers. Having a prospecting list can help to reduce the time you spend communicating with your prospects and establish a concrete customer base. Here are a few steps you can take to build a sales prospecting list: 1. Learn more about what you’re selling Before you begin to construct a prospecting list, it’s important to first understand what product or service you’re selling and what its potential benefits are. This can make it easier to identify potential prospects and close deals. Most products and services help to solve a specific problem, while others might solve multiple problems. See if there’s a program or course available that can educate you about what you’re selling and why it’s so important. It’s can also be useful to practice explaining your product to multiple different people. You may also want to meet with your supervisor, your peers or a product expert if you have any confusion about what you’re selling. The more you know about the product or service, the easier it can be to find potential buyers. 2. Research potential prospects You can use a variety of market intelligence tools, competitor surveys and websites to find potential buyers and learn more about them. Job listings can also be a good way to understand more about prospects’ specific needs to see how you might be able to help them. You can also check the directories of a business journal or a trade magazine that closely relates to your industry. Joining certain social media groups can also be a useful way to engage with prospects and learn more about their interests and pain points or problems. Purchasing or renting a list of prospects directly from a direct marketing firm or ordering a mailing list of a set number of companies within an industry are also ways you can identify prospective buyers. No matter how you choose to collect information about prospects, it’s important to consider their biggest challenges and how your product or service can help. It’s also useful to think about the specific industry your prospects are in and what their job titles are. Understanding whether you’re selling to senior executives, middle management or everyday employees may make it easier to identify the prospect’s motivations. 3. Begin creating your list After you understand more about what you’re selling and what you want your target market to be, you can begin to obtain information directly from prospects by asking them information about themselves from your website before downloading material, watching videos or signing up for an online newsletter. This information can include their full name, email address, telephone number, job title, company, industry and any other information that might become relevant. Prospects may also include past customers whose information you might already have. 4. Prioritize your prospects After creating your basic list of prospects, you can begin researching and qualifying your leads. A qualified lead is a customer who has a high potential of purchasing your product or service and closely meets your requirements. It’s unlikely that every prospect you have on your list is a qualified lead, which is why it’s important to determine the likelihood of a prospect making a purchase and prioritizing the prospects who have a greater chance of buying a product or a service. You can begin the lead qualification process by making the first initial contact with the prospect through email, telephone or an in-person or online meeting. In your first contact, you can find more information about a prospect’s needs, their timeline, who has the ultimate authority to make a purchase in their organization and whether they have any budgetary constraints that might prevent them from making the purchase. Related: Qualified Leads: What Are They and How To Use Them 5. Add additional details to your list and refine it As you begin to qualify leads and locate additional prospects to add to your list, it’s important to update your list with any changes. Regularly monitor your response to phone calls or emails so you can better gauge which prospects have the most interest and which channels of communication are most effective at getting a response. It’s important to also research the prospect and include as much information about them as possible, including important or relevant information that relates to their industry in some way. It’s also useful to remove old prospects, so your list doesn’t become so long that it’s difficult to find useful information. You may want to create separate lists of prospects for the ones who you were able to get in contact with and the ones who didn’t respond. This can make it easier to keep track of your prospects and identify who to send a follow-up email or voicemail. Related: What Is a Sales Cycle? Understanding and Managing the Sales Cycle Sales prospecting list template Depending on how many prospects you plan to contact and what your goals are, your prospecting list may look a little different. Regardless of what you’re selling, it’s still important to include some basic contact information about each prospect. Here’s a template you can use to get started creating your sales prospecting list: Company information [Company name] [Company website] [Company phone number] [Basic information about the company, such as the industry the company’s in, what they do, its market and its geographic location] Prospect information [Prospect’s name] [Prospect’s phone number] [Prospect’s email address] [Prospect’s job title] [Prospect’s preferred method of communication] [Basic information about the prospect, including information about any prior communication] Example of a sales prospecting list Many sales professionals use spreadsheet software to develop their list of prospects. As long as you include a prospect’s basic contact information, in addition to information about the company, the specific order of your list is at your own discretion. In the following example, you’re selling plumbing supplies to a variety of home hardware stores: Company information Company name: Pier’s Home Improvement Company website: www.pierhomeimprovement.com Company phone number: 888-674-5532 Company information: Been in operation for 20 years; has several stores on the east coast; family owned and operated; currently sells a variety of building materials but lacks many plumbing supplies Prospect information Prospect’s name: Sandra Walters Prospect’s phone number: 888-456-4893 Prospect’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Prospect’s job title: Head of merchandising team Preferred method of communication: Email, unavailable on Thursdays About prospect: Expressed interest in initial email, wants additional information about most popular products by Friday Are you looking for a job now? Tips for creating a sales prospecting list Here are a few tips for creating a reliable sales prospecting list that can generate real sales opportunities: Invest in customer relationship management software Customer relationship management (CRM) software may make it easier to search through your list of prospects and prioritize them through automation. It can also organize them as you add more prospects and automatically remove the ones you no longer need. This can be especially useful later in the sales cycle, when you’re making negotiations and are in the process of adding new prospects. Related: What Is CRM? Review the company’s finances as part of your research If you’re planning on selling directly to a company, it’s important to look over the company’s potential growth and funding. If the company’s doing well, there’s greater sales potential. Conversely, if the company is struggling, you may want to consider looking for a new prospect. Companies that are growing quickly may also have a lot of money to invest in other projects and possess additional pain points. Create a buyer persona A buyer persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer based on your own data and research. Creating a buyer persona can make it easier to identify prospects and see how closely they fit. To create this persona, you can conduct a brief survey with an existing customer or research customer feedback online. You can include basic demographic information about your persona, in addition to information about their specific motivations and lifestyle. Validate any contact information As you’re creating your prospect list, it’s important to validate each prospect’s contact information so you can make sure your calls and emails go through. If you’re unable to find a valid email address or contact information, consider removing the prospect from the list. Consider using an automated tool if you want to verify your email data all at once and save some time.