Updated December 2023
The best way to build a lead list is to focus on the minority of companies that are responsible for the majority of industry revenue.
In any industry, the top 10% of companies make more than 90% of industry revenue. You should focus on selling to these top companies.
In this article, I will show you how to build a targeted lead list that maximizes revenue.
Below is the 4-step process that I use to build my lead lists:
Pro Tip: Do not buy pre-existing lead lists. There are companies that sell lead lists, but these lists are often outdated and contain “spam traps” which will cause your emails to go to spam.
In sales, the term “Ideal Customer Profile” (ICP) refers to a hypothetical customer type that would most benefit from your product or service.
For example, if I were doing outbound sales for a PR agency that specializes in public relations for high net worth individuals, then my ICP would be high network individuals that are looking to improve their public image. Reaching out to low net worth people would be a waste of time.
You cannot build a lead list if you don’t understand what your ICP looks like.
Pro Tip: If you are unsure about who your audience is, analyze your website traffic and find out who is visiting your website. This way you can understand better.
Now that you know who your ideal customer is, you need to find out where they hang out online.
Expanding on the above PR agency example, we could look up the The Sunday Times Rich List to see a list of high networth individuals.
There is more than one way to find lists of relevant leads. I share some effective methods in my article How To Find Leads For Sales: 7 Strategies.
Another popular place to find leads is LinkedIn. You can learn how to find leads on LinkedIn using LinkedIn Sales Navigator in my article How To Generate B2B Leads On LinkedIn.
In most industries, the top 10% of companies are responsible for 90% of industry revenue.
It makes sense to identify the top 10% of companies, and focus your attention on selling to these leads.
Below is a LinkedIn post that discusses how Charlie Munger’s head of sales was able to grow their company’s revenue to #1 in the market by reducing their lead list from 2,000 companies to 167 companies:
Once you’ve decided who the top 10% of leads are, you can then find their email addresses.
You can use Emailchaser’s Email Finder to find almost anyone’s email address, even if their email isn’t publicly available.
If you don’t want to spend hours manually finding email addresses, then you can hire an assistant from OnlineJobs.ph and pay them to do this for you.
The most successful outbound sales campaigns involve multiple touch points, across different channels.
You cannot expect to receive a lot of responses if you are only sending cold emails.
You need to go above and beyond the competition to stand out from the crowd.
The below Tweet thread from Sam Blond shows how he led Brex’s most successful outbound sales campaign. In this campaign, they sent a bottle of champagne with a handwritten note to 300 companies, followed by a personalized cold email. This resulted in them closing 169 of them as paying customers:
1/ The best outbound campaign we ever ran at Brex (75% demo rate, 75% demo to close):— Sam Blond (@samdblond) January 9, 2023
Brex launched in 2018 as the first corporate card for startups. After launch, when we were still ~30 employees and near 0 rev, we ran the most successful outbound campaign I've ever seen.
There is no way to get a good free lead list. If you aren’t prepared to spend money on building a lead list, then your sales campaign will fail.
The answer to this question depends on many factors. LinkedIn Sales Navigator can work well. Crunchbase and PitchBook are also good places to find leads.
I recommend that you follow my 4-step process when building your lead list:
If you need some ideas on where to find leads, then check out my article How To Find Leads For Sales: 7 Strategies.
You should use a specialized cold email software (like Emailchaser) to send your cold emails. This will help your emails land in the primary inbox (not spam).
Founder of Emailchaser.
I have been working in the sales & marketing industry for nearly a decade.
When I’m not working on my business, I enjoy eating sushi & doing jiu-jitsu.
Address: 151 Calle de San Francisco San Juan, Puerto Rico
Email: [email protected]
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