How to build an effective & targeted prospect list for your business

A prospect list is a group consisting of people who may potentially be interested in your product offering or who may benefit from your company and its product or service. Prospects are individuals who have never had contact or very minimal contact with your company.

Building a prospect list is essential for establishing a solid customer base as it provides you with a pool of potential customers who could be treated, nurtured, and followed-up on. Effective prospecting requires planning, organization, and management to ensure each lead potentially turns into a committed customer.

Who is a prospect?

A prospect is an individual or organization that fits your company’s criteria (buyer persona/ ideal customer profile) to be a potential customer. A prospect is someone who already exists in the market and is interested in your product.

  • Prospect vs Lead

A lead is an individual or a company, that has provided contact information, and in doing so, has shown interest in what your company or product has to offer. However, a lead may or may not fit your target profile. Meanwhile, a prospect is someone who fits the target profile but has not yet shown interest in the company yet.

For example, let’s take the case of Adam, who’s landed on your website, browsed through some of your webpages, and finally filled in his contact information. He automatically becomes a lead since he submitted the form on your website. At this point, you do not know much about Adam except for his contact information. Based on this information you cannot tell if Adam fits your target profile. Sales reps can then do a discovery call or send him an email for qualification, if Adam qualifies he then becomes a qualified lead that you’d want to pursue and convert into a paying customer.

A prospect could also be someone who has say, downloaded a piece of content or engaged in a webinar but has not yet shown any interest in purchasing from a company. A prospect could also meet the target profile but end up being unqualified because they don’t have any budget or if it’s not currently a priority to buy a product or service.

What is the purpose of a prospect list & why does your business need one?

Here are four great reasons why a prospect list is useful:

  • To reach the right people
  • To perfectly position your product/ service
  • To be more aware of your prospects
  • To provide a list for your Sales or Marketing team to reach out to and sell your product

How to build a prospect list in five easy steps

1. Understand what you’re selling beforehand.

It is important that you understand what you’re selling before you identify who your prospects are. Having a clear understanding of your product/ service, specifically – what pain points your product/ service solves – will help you target profiles better and improve your chances at prospecting.

Diving deep into your product offering will not only increase your product knowledge, and improve your ability to pinpoint qualified prospects, but it will also help you close more deals, answer difficult questions, speak confidently on calls, and more. It’s simple, the more you know your product the better you’re at convincing and closing.

As a sales rep if you don’t have a clear understanding of your product/ service, seek the advice of your sales manager, a product expert, or a peer. After all, the more you know about your products and services, the easier your job will be.

2. Understand your buyer.

This may seem obvious, but bear with us! Just like how it is important for you to understand the product/ service, and the role it plays in the market, you must also have a deep understanding of your buyers and the factors that determine them to make a purchase. Especially their challenges and needs, which we will look at in detail below. This vital information will allow you to narrow down your prospect pool even further and make the target audience even more accurate.

3. Create your ideal customer profile (ICP)

To narrow down your prospect pool and target more accurately, sales managers must create their ideal customer profile (ICP)/ buyer persona. Consider ICP as a tool or vehicle to help you better understand your buyer.

To create your ideal customer profile, there are certain search parameters you may need to consider some basic ones like:

  1. Industry: Identity what industry your best customers come from
  2. Company size: Do these customers come from a similar company size?
  3. Job Title: Who are your different profiles involved at different stages in the buying process?
  4. Revenue: What would be the minimum revenue of the company you want to target?

Once you’ve answers to these basic questions, it makes sense to move forward and refine your search by focusing on deeper issues like:

  1. Challenges: What problems does your customer face and how can your product solve them? What is the current solution they are using?
  2. Pain Points: What are the pain points they must be facing, and how does your product relieve these pain points?

After having answers to these questions, you can proceed to the most granular details like:

  1. Customer lifetime value: how valuable is each of your customers? How much money do they contribute over their lifetime tenure with your company? How does their value correspond with their industry, company size, etc?
  2. Referral potential: What types of customers have the most referral potential? How much business does your average customer refer?
  3. Customer loyalty and advocacy: Is there any factors correlated with the probability of a customer becoming a brand advocate?

4. Identify your search portals

Now that you’ve gathered sufficient intel, and you have a good idea of what your ideal customer looks like. It is time to prospect. But, where does the search begin? We recommend these channels to build for the most comprehensive prospect list:

  1. Go look at your historical or existing prospect data: this should be the first place to get started, the volume of good prospects you may find will be low but it’s still a good start.
  2. Check in with your partners: partner programs help you go a long way, maintain and nurture these relationships and you may keep getting relevant leads from them.
  3. Offline events: identify events happening around you where you may have the chance to bump into a prospect. Look out for events, see who it is for, what the theme for an event is and you’ll have a good guess whether to attend the event or not.
  4. Webinars: organize webinars on relevant topics that address the pain points and challenges of your ideal customers and promote it on social. Follow -up with attendees via email and nurture them.
  5. Google search: the simplest and most powerful tool, find queries that are most relevant to what you’re looking for, it may not directly lead you to your prospect but will definitely help you to get to know them better.
  6. LinkedIn: world’s largest professional social network is the best platform you could be using to build your prospect by just doing some basic search on it.
  7. Purchase a prospecting list: one of the oldest tricks in the book. There are many sources from where you can purchase a prospecting list based upon whom and what you want to target. However, beware that the accuracy of these lists cannot be relied upon and many could be outdated.

5. Import all these lists to your lead management software.

Once you have your prospect list, the next step is to import or add the list to your lead management software. This is a very important step because a lead management software will simplify the process of managing these prospects and moving them ahead in the sales pipeline as and when sales reps perform an action on the leads they’ve been assigned. Learn how noCRM.io helps you import your prospect list in the easiest of ways here.

Tools to help you build a prospect list and improve prospecting.

Listed below are some tools that’ll help your sales reps in the process of prospecting. They’ll help them build lists, identify ideal customers, and qualify your sales calls.

  • Prospectin
    Easy to use software for sales reps who want to grow their network, build stronger relationships, making prospecting more reliable and efficient.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator
    For sales managers who want to build a list of ideal customer profiles to target better and more precisely.
  • Lead Clipper
    Lead Clipper allows you to transform information on a website – and particularly on LinkedIn – into a lead without needing to fill out any details. You can now capture leads on LinkedIn with just a click.
  • Sales Script generator
    Sales reps can create scripts for sales reps to use on their calls with prospects. Calls now have a structure, so that no important information is missed and all the data is saved in your noCRM.io account.

You can find more such prospecting tools in our article here.

Take prospecting a notch-up with noCRM.io

Prospecting lists can do wonders but they aren’t of much use if you don’t use them properly. Hence it is imperative that you use prospecting lists along with a lead management software for them to be well integrated.

noCRM.io is a lead management software designed for salespeople by salespeople. We understand all the trouble that goes in at every stage of sales, even while you’re prospecting. With noCRM.io build prospecting lists in a jiffy, follow up with your prospects, and book meetings on the go!