In our last post, we started talking about approaches for getting contacts into your startup’s prospect database. With that basic understanding in hand, let’s look at these sources in a bit more detail:
List Purchase: Just as it sounds, you work with a vendor to set list parameters and negotiate a price per contact. It’s important to take a close look at the details of the agreement and be sure you understand terms like how long you own rights to contacts, will they refresh bad addresses, or what percentage accuracy they guarantee.
Pro: High volume at a relatively low cost
Con: While there are exceptions, these generally provide lower quality names
List Build Service: Services like ZoomInfo and Jigsaw allow you to build your own lists by working through the filters provided on their site. Many industries have niche firms (like Discoverorg for IT) that provide useful industry-specific filters.
Pro: Allows you to be precise in pinpointing contacts
Con: Can be time consuming, especially if the tool doesn’t integrate with your CRM system
Social Media: An emerging approach to growing prospect databases features firms who specialize in finding contacts via social channels. One company, Sendible, uses a Twitter tool that helps grow contact lists by automatically targeting people who match your criteria.
Pro: Can help facilitate an ongoing relationship with your customer
Con: Only useful when your target customers are involved in social media
Appointment setting: Another way to gain prospects is to work with vendors that use their own database to set up appointments for your sales team to speak with your target prospects.
Pro: Getting actual meetings on your calendar quickly
Con: Requires more ongoing management and time spent educating their staff
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to growing your prospect database, so your best bet is to choose the one that suits you best, launch a few campaigns, and assess your results.