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Topic: Strategy

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Prospect Data Source

Posted by lstevens on 125 Points
We are considering a subscription to Hoover's / Dunn & Bradstreet in order to prospect. I've bought a straight-up prospect mail list in the past, but found that I had to do so much qualifying of the leads that the bulk of it was not at all useful. (I work for a cooperative with strict membership criteria.) Can anyone recommend an alternate business data source so I can compare? I need to know creditworthiness and approximate sales volume as well as primary contacts. Also can anyone tell me about their experience with accuracy of D&B's sales volume estimates?

  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    I've heard a lot of people say that there is no reliable purchased list. Somehow they all seem to come up short ... not current, data incomplete or erroneous, coding errors, etc. You will probably find that the best list is one you compile yourself.

    Have you considered targeted search advertising and/or LinkedIn ads?
  • Posted by lstevens on Author
    I have talked to LinkedIn and its not feasible - the pool isn't large enough for us to justify the minimum spend. I'm not sure that many of the small business owners (typically multi-generation family owned businesses) I need to reach are on LinkedIn on a regular-enough basis to make it worth while. I just searched for several of our board members (who are our target contacts) to test my instincts and only found two out of eight.
    Now I have done some Facebook ads targeted to attendees at furniture industry trade shows. I got a significant number of impressions, but I can't say that any of those impressions led any prospects to our showroom.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    What action are you taking with new prospects?

    Have you tried an Adwords campaign with a high-conversion landing page promising valuable content (e.g., a whitepaper) in return for the prospect's email address? Depending on the target audience and the average value of a prospect, this can be a very attractive alternative to a purchased list.

    If you need someone to manage this for you, I can recommend a provider.
  • Posted by lstevens on Author
    I've tried a direct response case study approach with a furniture industry trade publication. Those who the accessed the case study whitepaper were sales reps and media companies, not the small business owners I needed to reach. While I have considered a native content approach, much of our information is members-only. I've yet to hit upon a topic I can write an article about without giving up our members' strategic advantage.
    I believe Adwords would be too large of a funnel. My current member base is 218 organizations and 465 storefronts. We are territory exclusive within radius of 45-100 miles. Our growth target for 2017 is 8 to 20 new members. I help retailers with SEM through a provider, so I have resources to enable an Adwords campaign, but we get good results through organic searches. I think I just have to dig in and evaluate a pool of prospects one by one in open territories and find referral channels to leverage.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    You are probably right. What I like about Adwords is the ability to target geographically, so you can deal with the open territories one (or two) at a time. If the ad copy is well written, you can even use it as a sort of filter ... appealing to the folks you want and excluding others. And with a small target, it won't cost you very much.

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