Creating a high-potential Prospect List for Outbound Marketing
A well-balanced demand generation plan requires both inbound and outbound marketing components. In the past few years, all the buzz has been around inbound marketing tactics such as website content, SEO, Google AdWords, and retargeting. However, audience have now wised up to the fact that filling a form means enduring a series of emails and phone calls, and many are less prone to oblige. Marketers try to compensate for this slack – leading to the ongoing resurgence of outbound marketing. The cornerstone of any outbound marketing tactic used, whether it is cold calling or list email nurturing, is the prospect list.
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Creating a high-potential prospect list requires a thorough understanding of target persona. Before going to it deeply, it is worthwhile to elaborate on the different personas involved in a purchase decision. They are:
Researcher: This is the individual tasked with researching on the potential solutions to the problem. Typically, they are the first lead created from an account.
Users: These are the individuals responsible for using the product on a day-to-day basis
Decision maker: The individual responsible for final approval of the purchase
For creating the prospect list, the most important persona is that of the “researcher”. This is the persona to target for “top of the funnel” marketing where leads are created. It also means that researcher’s persona can be formulated by looking at the first lead from customers (or new opportunities created if the customer list is too small).
A persona has two types of variables associated with it: Firmographic and Demographic
Firmographic: These are the variables that describe the account (company). These variables include: Industry, Number of employees, Annual revenue, Location, and Related technologies in use.
Demographic: The main demographic variable is Title. It can also include other variables such as Gender and Age.
Once the firmographic and demographic data of researcher leads (i.e. first lead of customers or opportunities), use data mining to distill the data to create a persona. The data mining framework to be used is “similarity matching” that include techniques such as Classification and Clustering. One example of output persona would be “Marketing Manager from a high-tech company 50-500 employees in size based in North America using Salesforce.”
Once the researcher persona is formulated, list can be purchased from list vendors. Notable vendors include D&B Hoovers, InfoUSA, ExactData, and Reach Marketing.
How to use the lists
There are several ways to use the prospect list for outbound marketing:
Outbound calling: Typically done by SDR’s, this is the most expensive tactic. Prior to each call, SDR needs to research the prospect for relevant conversation.
Outbound custom email: This also is done by SDR’s. This also requires some research so that email sent is relevant to the recipient.
Automated nurturing emails: Use marketing automation system to send compelling content in automated emails that typically appear to come from individuals, especially SDR’s. Note that many marketing automation vendors do not allow outbound prospect list for emails, however some of them are open to it – therefore, check with your marketing automation vendor. There are also some specialist email service providers who claim to do this service. Overall, this option has many pitfalls including spam complaints, therefore should be used cautiously.
Targeted Advertising: The prospect email list can be used to target prospects in social media and display advertising. This is a good way to get attention from prospects, without the pitfalls of automated emails. However, this option is expensive, and therefore trial runs should be done before committing large sums.
Whatever mix of outbound marketing tactics you end up choosing, make sure you get the foundation right – by formulating a persona-based prospect email list with thoughtful consideration and analysis.