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B2B List Building: The Complete Guide

B2B List Building Guide

Building B2B prospect lists isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but one quality cold email can do amazing things for your business.

Problem is, getting B2B contact data can be very complicated with tons of vendors, softwares, and gurus competing for your attention and steering you down different paths.

In this article we’ll go through the best methods of B2B list building and give you simple paths to follow depending on your goals and industry.

Why Do You Need a B2B List?

If you’re planning on using outbound or account-based strategies to win new customers or clients, you’ll need a B2B lead list.

It’s essentially a list of ideal customers for your products or services.

Usually a B2B list includes things like

  • First & Last Name
  • Valid Email Address
  • LinkedIn Profile URL
  • Location
  • Company Name
  • Company URL

It can, of course, include more including personalized first lines, specific details about the company, and more, but the above is the minimum you’ll want to include for standard B2B cold outreach campaigns.

Knowing Your Target Market

I want to start this article with something that needs to taken care of before you start building your B2B list.

Knowing your target is crucial. Things like:

  • What industry are you targeting?
  • Who is your ideal customer profile?
  • How much revenue does the company make annually?
  • Where are they located?
  • What job title is your target working in?
  • How long have they worked in this position?
  • What keywords should appear on their LinkedIn profile?
  • How many employees does the company employ?
  • What kind of growth has a certain department seen this year?
  • Have there been any senior leadership changes at the company recently?

You need to be able to answer questions like those before you start prospecting.

I recommend diving deeper to find more buying signals, and segmenting your lists as specifically as possible.

The best way to get this info? Talk to your ideal customers!

As always, you’ll need to test to find the best segments and optimize your campaigns, but knowing who you’re targeting is at least half the battle for a profitable B2B cold email campaign.

B2B List Building with LinkedIn Sales Navigator

1. Find Your Ideal Customers

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the most powerful B2B tools on the market.

It allows you to get very specific with who you’re targeting, both at the lead and account level.

Finding your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, in most cases, shouldn’t be difficult at all.

This video will help you get started:

Video on how to find your ideal customer using LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Once you’ve found your ideal customer in LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you need to find their email address and any other data you need.

2. Get Contact Data

For this part, we’re going to use ProspectingToolkit.

After you install the Chrome Extension all you have to do is head to Sales Navigator and click the big purple button that says “Emails Extractor”, choose your list, and start exporting email addresses from your search.

To learn more, visit our comprehensive guide to cold emailing for sales and go step-by-step or check the (free) 7-Day Cold Email Bootcamp.

3. Validate Email Addresses

With any B2B list building software, I highly recommend running your lists through another layer of email validation.

You want to make absolutely sure that ZERO emails bounce when you start sending your campaigns.

Email bounces will ruin your email sending reputation and can get you blocked by the major email providers like Google Workspace.

The easiest way to do this is to use a tool like EmailListVerify to quickly double check the list, and get rid of any SPAM traps or invalid emails that ProspectingToolkit might have missed.

Again, I recommend you do this no matter what. Any data provider can make mistakes with email addresses.

B2B List Building with Software

Now, I do understand that using LinkedIn can be tough.

There is a learning curve there that not everyone is ready for (or has to time to handle).

That’s where all-in-one list building software comes in.

They provide quick filters (though not as in-depth as LinkedIn Sales Navigator) to find your ideal customers and export B2B lists.

Here are a few that we’ve tried in the past:

Apollo.io

Apollo is pretty good at finding targeted data for B2B lists.

There’s some bad data in their database, so you need to make sure you verify any emails you export from the system.

Overall, it’s a good software that shortcuts the B2B list building process.

Data Quality: 3/5
Ease of Use: 4/5
Pricing: 4/5

Uplead

Uplead is another very useful software with some unique features to build B2B lists.

It’s a bit expensive and the plans are very restrictive, but at least the data quality is good.

Data Quality: 5/5
Ease of Use: 4/5
Pricing: 2/5

LeadFuze

LeadFuze is a platform that’s growing fast and has a lot of interesting lead filters that others don’t have.

Again, you’re dealing with an expensive, restrictive platform with good data quality.

Data Quality: 4/5
Ease of Use: 4/5
Pricing: 2/5

GrowthGenius

GrowthGenius is an all-in-one platform handling data and campaign automation.

They’re a fairly new platform but are growing fast. The data quality is decent, but again, the pricing is fairly expensive and restrictive on the quantity of leads you can export.

Data Quality: 3/5
Ease of Use: 3/5
Pricing: 3/5

As you can see, there are many B2B list building softwares on the market, but they are usually very restrictive with lead quantities and charge a pretty penny for the data.

And, in reality, it’s not really saving you much time. You still have to go through the app, pick the targeting, and export the lists.

I prefer using LinkedIn Sales Navigator + ProspectingToolkit much more than these other platforms for this reason.

Outsource the B2B List Building Process

If you are serious about getting leads and sales with cold outreach like cold email and LinkedIn Lead Generation, outsourcing your B2B list building is the best option.

You provide your exact criteria and let the experts build and validate a perfect list for you.

All you have to do is load up the CSV file into your automation tool, or send to your sales reps, and start building pipeline right away.

If you’re interested in outsourcing the B2B list building process, I recommend the fine folks at ListKit.

They provide B2B contact lists with 2 personalized first line intros (to boost reply rates) and every prospect on the list is manually verified by a human, so the accuracy is unbeatable by any software.

This is going to boost your productivity and return on investment versus doing all the work yourself.

If you have the budget available, outsourcing the process is absolutely the best way to start generating ROI with your campaigns in the shortest time frame.

If you’re looking for simpler lists, hiring freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr can be a quick, inexpensive solution.

Problems with B2B List Building

There’s really only two issues you’ll run into with B2B list building:

  • Lack of money
  • Lack of time

A lack of money shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you’ve done your preliminary research on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

If you know your customer, you’re sending personalized, targeted messages, and you’re following up quickly – you’re sure to book calls, close deals, and get ROI from your investment.

Lack of time can be a huge roadblock.

B2B list building takes a ton of time and requires a lot of tools and patience to do right.

This is what stops most people from optimizing and scaling their cold outreach lead generation efforts.

But, if you’re short on time, you can always outsource the process. If you’re short on money, you can always use inexpensive tools to build your own lists.

Either way, outbound sales is a very profitable channel, so you’ll want to dedicate the resources and add it as one of your revenue channels.

The Best Way to Build B2B Contact Lists

This is going to depend a lot on your situation.

The fastest & best quality way to build B2B contact lists will always be to outsource the task to a qualified team or professional who can get the job done and still keep campaigns profitable.

But, if you don’t have the budget available, building it yourself will be the best way to build your lists.

I recommend doing your own research for your unique situation, trying tools, trying B2B list vendors and seeing what works best for you.

How to Increase ROI from B2B Lists

With any kind of 1-1 outbound prospecting, relevance is your best tool.

You need to make your email or message stand out from the piles of cold emails and LinkedIn messages your prospect is getting on a daily basis, and make an impact.

The best way to do this is with:

  • Accurate targeting
  • Relevant offer
  • Personalization

Personalizing your emails is one of the best ways to stand out immediately.

You can include a personalized first line introduction with something unique about the prospect that stands out and ensures they don’t think it’s a “mass email” that’s been blasted to thousands of people.

My favorite tool for generating personalized first lines is Lyne.ai. It uses AI to generate a hyper-personalized first line referencing a blog post, social media post, details from their website, and more triggers to truly make each outbound message unique.

We’ve seen this approach boost reply rates by 20% or more, so this is a must-use strategy going into the 2020’s.

But again, it pays to know your ideal customer inside and out. Do your research and validate that your offer is captivating for your target market before you scale up your outreach!

Bottom Line

B2B list building is fairly simple, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

In this article we’ve given you several strategies and resources to build B2B lists with confidence and generate revenue from your outbound sales activities.

Targeting and list building will make or break your cold outreach campaigns, so make sure you’re focused on quality over everything.

There’s nothing worse than looking at a campaign and seeing a 20% bounce rate on your email addresses and seeing results decline overall.

Invest in quality B2B list building and watch ROI skyrocket!

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