List building is basically making a list of prospects that you can initiate communications with, nurture into leads, and later convert into customers.
Building a list is also an integral component of any B2B marketing campaign. A B2B list, however, is far more targeted than a B2C - you will need to have the contacts and details on the specific point person of the businesses that you are looking to reach out to, and this will require very in-depth research.
What is a B2B List?
A B2B list is basically a list of companies that you can potentially turn into customers. This is important for businesses that have grown big enough to be able to cater to other companies in their industry or other related markets that would require the former's services in their day-to-day operations.
You cannot just grow a B2B list overnight, so to speak. Building such a list is not as simple as simply collecting the information on point persons who may be interested in what your company can offer for their business. It takes the following steps to build a list of businesses that you want to turn into customers.
Step 1: Create a buyer persona
This is the first step that anyone should take when they decide to build their list. A buyer persona specifies the ideal sort of customers that you want to do business with. Creating one involves finding their relevant details - their industry, the size of their business, their role in the company, what is required from them, and the challenges they face - and putting it into a single, well-organized profile.
Step 2: Identify companies that you're looking to target and their relevant decision makers
This involves finding the companies that fit best into your ideal customer profile. Of course, to reach out to these companies, you will need to find the right people to contact. These people should be decision makers that have a say in how the company should be run, the sort of which can integrate your product or service into their operations.
Step 3: Build your list
Having identified the companies that fit best into your buyer persona and the best people to contact, the next step is to put them together in a list. This is where you will have to research your prospects' contact details. You will have to look into their websites, social media profiles, or any other piece of information where their contact information may be publicly available.
Step 4: Validate your list
It certainly is not enough that you have a list of contacts on hand; be sure that the information you have gets you to the right person. For that matter, you may send your contacts a brief email or give them a quick call where you introduce yourself and your company, ask them a few questions that ascertain their qualification to your list, and then tell them that your company will contact them sometime in the future to discuss how your service or product can help their business. This is not only a great way to identify your leads but is also a good strategy to warm them up to your incoming pitch.
Some Tools that can Simplify B2B List Building
As you can tell, building a B2B list is a task heavy on prospecting and can be time-consuming when done manually. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can help make the work a lot easier, and here are some that we can recommend to ease your workload.
This is basically the social network of professionals and it should be your first stopover if you're looking to build a B2B list. LinkedIn easily lets you find the decision makers in your target companies, and a premium membership practically turns the site into a comprehensive people search engine with unlimited searches and filters that lets you narrow down your search to the specifics set by your ideal buyer profile.
An online database of companies and startups, Crunchbase is the best place to find businesses that you can work with and their founders. It has an array of filters that lets you find companies according to their establishments date, niche, and funding rounds. It also lets you conveniently import your searches into CSV file.
ContactOut is a lightweight but powerful Chrome extension that quickly finds your prospects' email addresses and phone numbers on LinkedIn. Beyond that, the tool features a dashboard that lets you effortlessly manage your saved contacts and a very comprehensive search engine that lets you find the contact information of people that you cannot find on the aforementioned site.
A popular email search tool, Hunter is one of your best bets when it comes to finding the business emails of your prospects. Its Chrome and Firefox extension finds the email addresses in pretty much any site, while its search engine practically makes it easy for you to find the email addresses of the employees of a company with nothing more than their site's domain. It also features an email verification feature that lets you quickly validate your list and save you a lot of time.
Also known as Norbert, this tool is an email search service that lets you find the email address of your prospects. All you need to put in is their name and company website, and the tool will fetch you their email address automatically.
This software is a more comprehensive B2B prospecting and list building tool. It finds not only your prospect's email address and phone number but also relevant information such as the name of their business, location, social media accounts, and even their WhoIs information. It basically scrapes the web for all of this information and then lets you export your data to your desktop. It also integrates with various CRM systems such as HubSpot, Salesforce, Zapier, and Zoho.
If you're looking to get the lead capture route, this tool can really help you. It provides you with opt-in features such as popups and welcome mats, as well as heat maps that tell you where your visitors click on you site and an optional floating social share bar. The best thing about this tool, though, is that you can use it for free.
Did we miss a cool tool? Feel free to share your recommendations with us!