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How to Build Your Own Customized B2B Prospecting Lists for Free

by Arvind Sehtia  |  
August 11, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Nine Steps to create your own business-prospecting lists
  • Free Web resources for building a customized database

A customized prospecting list is a great resource for your cold calling, direct mail, and email marketing efforts. If you prefer to "do it yourself," here are nine steps for building a free B2B marketing database for your outbound marketing campaigns.

1. Identify the industry

Start by picking the industry and, if possible, the sub-industry. Some of the resources listed at the end of this article offer free industry lookup, including and You can also conduct a SIC code lookup for the target industries at Build separate lists if you want to cover multiple industries.

2. Identify companies

Define the broad criteria that will help you identify companies within the chosen industry. You can segment by revenue, geography, number of employees, etc. (e.g., software product companies with a revenue range of $100-$500 million in North America).

Perform searches using those free tools I mentioned to come up with the list of companies. This step will help you determine the market size. If you come up with, say, 500 companies on your list but you need more, adjust the industry criteria and run another search.

3. Select companies

You can now select the companies you like. Download or copy the list of companies to a spreadsheet. Keep all the data you get, such as revenue, industry, number of employees, etc., with the company name in the spreadsheet. That will later help you segment and target your marketing campaigns.

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Arvind Sehtia is founder of Sales Inside Inc., a B2B lead-generation company that specializes in outbound marketing services. He can be reached via

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  • by Tom - ConnectAndSell Thu Aug 11, 2011 via web

    Say yes to list building! aware that step 9 -- "validate by calling" can easily chew up as much or more time as step 7 -- "begin internet research"...and call validation is an essential key for list building success.

    You can cut way down on the time, cost and effort required in step 9 by using ConnectAndSell to compress a week of connects into an hour or two. You can build bigger, better lists faster when you can phone validate your list this way.

  • by Norma with Thu Aug 11, 2011 via web

    Much of this information and more (targeted contact names) can be gleaned from ReferenceUSA. Many of the large libraries in your area allow you to register for a library card and access this information online.

  • by amit Wed Aug 17, 2011 via web

    Link below doesnt exixt anymore.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Wed Aug 17, 2011 via web

    @amit Thanks for pointing that out. We've removed the link.

  • by Stan Tue Sep 30, 2014 via web

    Holy time consuming, Batman. Seriously, I don't know what kind of jobs you guys have, but I'd rather pay someone to do this level of research for me. Like, you list to look up industry stuff, but you can pay a few cents a record and save yourself time, which you have to place value on, right? How little are you guys paying yourselves per hour that this is worth it? If you have that much free time, use leadferret, because you can look at all the info (same stuff as jigsaw, just a different layout basically), and then just copy over each email address if you don't want to pay anything. Way easier than researching each individual company yourself over multiple websites. Seriously.

  • by Dhan Fri Apr 17, 2015 via web

    Thanks for the list of B2B marketing databases. I would like to add LeadGrabber that many companies use to generate targeted B2B leads by themselves. The tool does deep web searches and gets you the names of your target companies, names of decision makers in these companies, their business email addresses and phone numbers.

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