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Lead Generation & Research

What is a lead list?

A lead list is a collection of names and contact information of potential clients and sales opportunities that sales reps use to reach out and convert into sales. As part of lead generation efforts, B2B lead lists are either created in-house or purchased from third parties. 

What is a lead list in a broader sense?

Whatever the origin of your leads, a certain lead qualification process should be put in place. Otherwise, your reps will spend as much time on enriching the missing or inaccurate data so that it would make more sense for them to generate their own leads.

A good lead list practically means having qualified sales opportunities that will need just a nudge to make a deal. Although each way of getting B2B leads has pros and cons, the best B2B lists tend to conform to a company’s ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and a set of specific criteria, but, first of all, they include:

  • Contact person’s name and job title
  • Contact person’s phone and/or e-mail address
  • Company name

Let’s examine how to make a quality B2B lead list and what to look for when buying from lead list providers.

How to build the best B2B lists?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to lead list building. A lot depends on what lead nurturing strategy a sales team is using and how they are going to reach out to a potential client. The reps using lead lists for cold calling may approach list building somewhat differently than reps who are more into social selling on LinkedIn. So, here are generic suggestions on how to get leads for your lead list and you see for yourself what fits your situation better.

Gather contacts effortlessly

You never know what an occasional contact can bring you. So, don’t let hundreds and thousands of visitors on your website go in vain. Set up onsite forms to capture their contact information and use lead capturing software. It becomes even easier when visitors are offered something in return for joining a newsletter or signing in for a free trial. Offer a free eBook or template to anyone who logs on to the company’s website. As part of your inbound strategy, offering insightful pieces of content from time to time in exchange for contacts is a useful, valuable lead generation method.  

Make use of your competition on social media

Not all B2B companies have a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. But almost all sales reps are. They can monitor online discussions on relevant topics, follow the company’s competitors, and establish contacts with potential customers, creating their qualified lead lists. This method of lead list building can seem time-consuming, but social media groups are also incredibly useful for insights into the buyers’ thinking. Target your audience with paid ads and participate in conversations on pain points the product you sell addresses. To build a lead list, contact the users who leave comments under the topics relevant to the activities of your company.

Use LinkedIn software

Among social media platforms, LinkedIn stands out not only because it’s the Number One professional network worldwide, but also because it’s easy to access user contacts with LinkedIn Sales Navigator and third-party lead generation tools (Dux-Soup, etc.). Paid options provide endless sales opportunities to learn your users’ roles and areas of responsibility in a company and pre-qualify leads before reaching out to them. The features of LinkedIn smart tools enable reps to:

  • Save lead contacts and monitor their accounts in their feed;
  • Set up “sales triggers,” relevant events that, if occurred in their life, make the lead immediately ‘hot’ for a conversation with a rep;
  • Use smart filters to custom search a company’s targeted demographics, location, etc., and save the results;
  • Resell and upsell to a company’s past customers by setting up the Sales Navigator’s ‘past not current’ filter.

Boost your list building efforts with AI

Use the power of Artificial Intelligence to create lead lists that will meet your own criteria. Salestack, AngelLeads, LeadFuze, and many other lead generation tools provide lead data gathered from their own crawling and partners. Smart filtering allows reps to search by leads’ job title, company name, industry, advertising spending, software used, etc. The tool also suggests new leads based on the user’s past choices and new steps that can increase conversions.

Here are our Top Three Lead List Building Tools.

  1. Echobot Target is a B2B database with data enrichment and lead qualification features. The tool facilitates prospecting by allowing advanced target audience segmentation and smart filtering. Sales triggers include the website’s redesign, a change of role, a relocation, and so on.
  2. LeadFeeder is a B2B website visitor tracking tool that can predict leads’ purchase intent based on their online behavior prior to visiting the website. Reaching out to leads that found you first is more productive.
  3. BuiltWith can be helpful to B2B software companies. As a website profiler tool, BuiltWith reveals what software and technologies other companies use. Build a lead list filtered by whether the company uses your competitor and reach out to them to offer your product.

How to buy leads and B2B lead lists?

Given the time-consuming nature of in-house prospect research, many businesses have to buy lead generation lists provided by companies. However, there are many recommendations against using lead list services. In an attempt to warm salespeople against lead list buying from unscrupulous providers, sources indicate issues such as incomplete data and outdated information.

Indeed, not every lead list is the best option, and lead generation services from third parties can be of poor quality. Here are some of the key aspects to look into.

  • The best trick is to check before buying. Any lead B2B list is a commodity. And it is up to you to ensure you buy a high-quality product. If the contacts are of good quality, but the same leads are mentioned twice or more times on the list, it’s not the best value for money. Check a list for correctness and duplications by emailing or calling a certain number of contacts. If the number of bounced-back emails and failed calls is too high, the list requires a good cleaning and, most probably, it is not expedient for you to buy it. If your lead list is missing addresses, phone numbers, and names, your reps will spend a lot of time enriching the data. Again, not a reasonable investment.
  • Buy only from vendors that use AI. Buying static lists doesn’t normally work for B2B companies. Once a list is pulled up, it goes stale pretty quickly without continuous AI-enhanced updates. Normally, B2B sales require fresh leads which are available only with Data-as-a-Service software.
  • Hire a lead manager. Factoring in all disadvantages of buying leads from third parties, some companies do it nonetheless. They simply offset the negative aspects by hiring an employee to do prospect research, data enrichment, and lead qualification before handing the leads over to sales.

How to mitigate negative effects from using lead list services?

Buying incomplete data is the least evil in case of outsourced lead lists. Experts say that poor leads can disrupt your marketing campaigns and damage your business reputation. Not to be too doomsday, but these sales tactics are indeed far from being innocuous. Let’s examine the major issues and what can be done about them.

Spam Issues? Work on email deliverability beforehand. Being flagged as spam and blacklisted is one of the most common problems associated with using third-party lead lists. You buy a list and launch an email marketing campaign and see the bulk of your emails blocked even before getting into recipients’ inboxes because email service providers do not recognize your email address as relevant. 

As a result, you get dozens and hundreds of bounced back emails and damaged email deliverability. What can be done in this case? First of all, never use corporate mail for cold email sequences. Use only third-party tools like MailChimp, SparkPosts, SendGrid, PepePost, MailGun, and others. Second, ‘warm up’ your email box before launching a campaign. If you know the patterns AI-enhanced ESPs are looking for when sending messages to spam, you won’t use them in your sequences (i.e. sending mass emails).

Zero response rate? Personalize your outreach. Another critical issue is that leads from purchased lists have no idea of who you are and what you want from them. Upon seeing an unknown recipient, they normally don’t feel like responding. It is true that relationship building is crucial for cold outreach as much as for any other form of selling. If you’ve had no prior engagement with the recipient, they won’t listen to you. Personalization is the right recipe for boosting your response rate. Whether you do cold calls or cold emails, mention something that people value, and you will get their interest without getting permission first. Use LinkedIn to research the leads and find a shared interest. If you open up referring to their recent post or comment on LinkedIn, the odds are they’ll reply.

Consult a lead generation specialist before using lead list providers

What conclusions can you draw? Looking for leads in-house is rather laborious while buying lists is tricky. In case of doubt, the best way to proceed is to consult professionals.

By using B2B lead generation services like Belkins, you can always expect to fill your pipeline with fresh leads. Outsource us either to put up a highly qualified lead list or to do the entire lead nurturing and appointment setting cycle.

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