Are You Stuck in the Dark Ages? Don’t Get Your Prospect List from the Phone Book

A Warm List

There are dozens of sources from which you can obtain your list, but some lists are better than others, and the amount of money you spend is only one factor in how “warm” or “cold” it is.
Lists that are “unscrubbed,” in-other-words the accuracy of the data has not been verified or the decision maker’s name and contact information is not included or is inaccurate, will never yield the same result as a scrubbed list. “He’s been dead for 10 years” or “she hasn’t worked here for three years” is something you’ll hear when a list is not scrubbed, but is inevitable with purchased lists. While this list may, at first glance, seem like a bargain because it offers you a nice, neat Excel spreadsheet and many prospect opportunities, you will end up wasting valuable hours calling companies that are no longer in business or chasing down the correct name and phone number for the marketing VP. It may go without saying that the phone book is an antiquated way to get prospects on your list. Super Pages or the like is no better, if for one reason- there are no contact names to gather through these methods.
The “warmest” list is one you develop yourself, through networking events, trade shows, or other personal contacts. Trade associations or other organizations are another excellent source of warm lists. These lists offer an affinity, and an opportunity for a compelling introduction.
So why use a “cold” purchased list? The only reason to use a purchased list from a list broker such as InfoUSA is because no other source is available. You’ve got to start somewhere! If you must use an unscrubbed list, take some extra time as you call to verify the data and make your updates. That way you’ll have a much warmer list to start with on your next campaign. There are list brokers that do offer more targeted lists, and therefore, it is possible that these lists are more scrubbed.
If you have a cold list you’d like to “warm up,” remember, MarketReach always verifies your data when making calls, so that when you get ready for your next direct mail campaign, you will be working with a list that is as up-to-date as possible.

Start with a Basic Excel Spreadsheet

If you are considering building your own database and are not ready to invest in an affordable contact management system (such as ACT, Goldmine, etc.), you can easily build your list with an Excel spreadsheet. Simply start with your heading on the first row.
In addition to the basic company information that would be found on a business card, add other fields to give more substance to your list. Start the list with a field entitled “List source”. If you are entering companies from multiple sources (i.e.: XYZ trade show, Chamber, etc.), and you decide to utilize your list for direct mail, you can sort your list by list source, and then send a more targeted direct mail piece, mentioning the source of your affinity. Don’t forget the two most important fields that often go overlooked when creating a list: “Last results” and “Notes”. Last results enables you, at a glance, to know what to do with that record (i.e. Not Interested, Callback, Appointment Set, etc.). If you are diligent with your phoning efforts, the notes section should always have the date and result of each call. The best benefit to Excel is the sorting feature, which allows you to focus your marketing efforts in various ways, whether by List Source, State, Last Results, etc.