5 Crucial Steps to Consider When Building a Cold Outreach List

As we continue to go over cold outreach campaigns, it's essential to talk about where to start. Knowing that the right message to the wrong person won't get you anywhere is obvious. But there are many things people get sidetracked with when running a company.

You can improve one of your many sales skills — closing, your pitch, being natural on the phone, loads of things. And these are all great things to spend your time on, but if you aren't trying to get ahold of the right people, you're doing yourself a disservice.

The amount of sales strategy that you can hone or delegate can be burdensome. Knowing where to start is not easy in regards to cold outreach.

The List

Lists are the beginning of your sales process. I think about the list as the trampoline that will give you the highest jump. If the list is weak, the results won't take you as high. You can have a springboard that is 100% effective or one that's 50% effective. You have to put in twice the effort to make the height of the better trampoline, maybe more.

The first thing we need to define to make a great list is the persona. Simply put, a persona is the right person, at the right company, in the right hierarchy. You want to find a prospect that will have pain or desire for your product.

If a teacher spent most of her after school or conference time grading papers, and you had a solution to automate that, would it hit a nerve? Of course, it would! She could spend time on what made her start teaching in the first place.

Now the hard part comes in. The teacher may or may not be the decision-maker when it comes to budget and priorities. So how do you find out who has the authority and who writes the checks? Then how do get them on the phone?

The Persona

An important factor to consider when developing a persona is a job function. If you work up the corporate ladder, job function is the implementation level, management level, accountable level, and authority level.

Implementation level is the person that directly executes a task or job. Management is a person who leads the implementation level with purpose, direction, and motivation. Accountable people ensure that policies and procedures are carried out with the correct budget and priorities. This level is commonly a VP or Director. The authority level is the person(s) who establishes budget and priorities for the organization or a business segment. This person is commonly an SVP, head of their department, or a C-level executive.

This can vary heavily in some market segments, and it entirely depends on how the higher-ups choose to delegate. That's why job function is often more accurate than job title, but using job function does require more market research to find the right person.

Now that you have an idea of who the persona is, where do you get their contact and company information from?

List Resources

LinkedIn Sales Navigator, DNB Hoovers, Uplead, and Reference are some of the resources you can use when creating a cold outreach list.

I primarily use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator paired with Seamless AI. It gives you an easy to search active database, with a variety of company sizes and industry verticals. Inaccuracy in lists often comes from job changes and people not updated their LinkedIn profiles.

DNB and Uplead are very similar. I use keywords or SIC/NAICS codes, along with revenue, which is the one thing Sales Navigator doesn't do as good. These databases are best used for lists where you know the market segment and some of the criteria like industry, revenue, or number of employees.

If you do know the criteria of your customer base, you can fill up your leads very quickly and efficiently using these two services.

Validating the email addresses

No database of contact information is perfect; they all have flaws. The list researcher's job is to get the highest quality data possible. When conducting an email outreach campaign, it's essential to keep your email bounce rate low. You can use tools like Neverbounce or Zerobounce to ensure you are sending emails to valid email addresses only. 

Integration with Marketing

Once you've exported the list and are ready to push it to the marketing team, consider the format of your list. Here are some tips on how to make a standardized list that will make the data mining easier and more consistent across all departments.

First, save the original export in an organized folder. Start by cleaning up the fields to be similar. You want there to be continuity among all your documents. For example, I shorten things like Sr. Vice-President or Senior VP to SVP. Also, I make sure "&" is spelled out, and numbers have unique fields for Company, Contact, and Extension number.

I do this so I can easily search records for reports, look back at how many titles I have, and, most importantly, see who has booked appointments. That's what the list is for in the first place. To advance someone in the sales process.

This also ensures that you have a hassle-free integration between your list and how you interact with prospects. You want your marketing efforts to be an efficient use of your time. Having a good process on the front end can save you time so you can put your efforts into calling.

These are just some of the key aspects of list building. If you need help building a cold outreach list, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you optimize the process and get more high-quality leads. 

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Patrick Giles

List-building expert by day, guitarist by night, Patrick's marketing skills are best described as smooth jazz.

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