Skip to content

Building Prospect Lists – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.


sales prospecting
Sales and Marketing
Sourcing and compiling high quality prospect call lists can be one of the most challenging tasks senior sales professionals have to face. It’s a constant battle against duplicates, bounce rates, labor intensive administration work and, at worst, being labeled a “spammer”. But do not fear. I’ve put together a list of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly practices so you can stay one step ahead by avoiding the most common mistakes made when sales prospecting.


We’re all bombarded with emails promising the “ultimate target lists”. These “bespoke” lists promise to offer fully verified contact details and email addresses. They will even come in well-organized Excel spreadsheets that can be effortlessly imported straight into your CRM. Job done, right? Not quite. In fact, not at all. Whatever you’re promised, it won’t provide you with the golden ticket. This is because there’s no quick fix. These lists are full of irrelevant contacts, duplicates and typos. As a result, you’ll have nothing but soaring bounce rates (not to mention the threat of being blacklisted by Internet service providers). You’ll then be left with the soul-destroying task of sifting through your clogged up CRM just to save from your Sales Teams calling dead leads.


“Scattering” is another one to avoid like the plague. It’s a process fueled by lazy Sales People and self-confessed Social Media Gurus who are desperate to shout at anyone (I mean EVERYONE) about their latest offering through unwanted emails and In-Mails. They’ll then hope to hear back from all these people. But is all of that really necessary? Isn’t it just noise? The reality is that building a relevant and targeted prospect network on websites like LinkedIn is hard work and labor intensive. You need to be considered, consistent and constant with your communications to nurture relationships and build, post by post, engagement and interest. Only then can you truly reap the rewards. Unfortunately, most Sales Reps see such an undertaking as being worth nothing more than a shot in the arm. A quick win. And therefore treat it as such through half-hearted, repetitive posts over and over again. As a result, their audience becomes immune to the benefits and,ultimately, disengages.



Draw the attention of prospects by creating unique, valuable content. Write blogs, share useful links on social media sites, create videos and host regular webinars. Keep it focused on your company and industry. Be careful not to recycle content. If you get this right you’ll have warm leads coming to you.


You’re never alone in your attempts to generate prospect lists. There are plenty of others in the same boat. Everyone is desperate for clean data but don’t have the time or money to waste. With that said, take the opportunity to attend group meetings, trade shows and networking events to find like minded people in similar situations and share your knowledge, insight and experiences. Focus on those who can offer mutual benefits and work with them. Perhaps you could put together a guest blog or promotion and send your content to their real, opt-in users and subscribers.


It would be criminal to spend so much time driving traffic to your website and not be tracking what clients and companies are visiting. Marketing automation tools, such as Pardot and Hubspot, can provide an insight into who is visiting your website and exactly what they are clicking on, through reverse IP tracking technology. If these tools are beyond your means, try Leadlander, a standalone tracking system as an alternative. Once you have a lead, build on it. Use, Zoominfo or LinkedIn to pinpoint contacts, from the companies that have been visiting your website, that you should be speaking to. Get this right and you’ll be sure that the majority of your calls will be to warm, receptive leads.


My mother always said (and I’m sure she’s not the only one) that you “should speak to others as you wish to be spoken to”.  And it’s an important mantra to follow. You wouldn’t want to be blown away by an elevator pitch over and over again, would you? So, don’t think of every person you meet as a prospect, think of them as a future customer. Treat them with respect – be helpful, be relevant, be personable and, most of all, be honest.

Ricky Wheeler

Ricky Wheeler is CMO at Ebsta, responsible for all aspects of Brand, Product and Communications.

Related Posts