Email is one of the most effective channels for B2B salespeople.
There are reasons for this:
Sending emails is fast and free, and if you use a specialist email provider, you can track responses. Salespeople can learn to craft personalised emails that grab the reader’s attention.
However, to make the most of email as a B2B sales tool, you need to be confident that your emails are going to the right people. For that, you need a list.
This article contains best practices for sales teams who want to build strong email lists of ideal prospects. Follow this five-step guide to watch your list – and revenue – grow.
5 Steps for building Sales Email Lists
1 – Discover your ideal customer profile (ICP)
In B2B, your ideal customer profile (ICP) refers to the following:
It’s the type of person who would gain the most value from your product, making them likely to become a customer.
Why is it important to not only know your ICP, but have a deep understanding of them?
Because only then can you:
- Craft sales messages that resonate with the business challenges they face.
- Position your product as the solution.
A list containing the email addresses of prospects that match your ICP is like gold dust for salespeople. Developing a picture of your ICP is something you should have already done, but if you haven’t, get on to it immediately.
Follow these steps to construct your ICP:
- Compile a list of your best, most satisfied customers.
- Look at what unites them – analyse their industry, job title, company size, location and anything else that comes to mind.
- Then gather the information into one document that you can refer to over and over again.
What can you do with your ICP once you’ve created it?
You can use a data provider like Cognism to create a list of profiles that match it. Use filters to slice up the database until everyone on your list is a prospect who needs your product, even if they don’t know it yet. With Cognism, you’ll generate lists of B2B email addresses that are accurate and compliant.
After that, it’s time to get emailing!
2 – Create Lead Magnets
Good B2B prospects are the ones who already know about your company and what you do; even better are those who’ve already started thinking that you have the answer to their pain.
Your marketing team knows the techniques to generate these leads and get them to supply you with their email addresses. Once you have a list of these addresses, you can start contacting them and turning them into customers.
For example, your marketing team may create a lead magnet. This is a piece of content, such as an eBook or white paper, that prospects can download in exchange for their email address.
Another strong B2B marketing tactic is to host webinars that only prospects who submit their email addresses can attend. When the webinar finishes, you’ll have a list of fresh leads to email.
In B2B, you get the best results when your marketing and sales teams are aligned and working together to achieve common goals. Sit down with them and brainstorm ideas for creating lead magnets such as eBooks or webinars.
Top tip – why not offer to host your company’s webinars? That way, attendees will already be aware of you when you outreach to them.
3 – Use pop-ups and lead forms
Pop-ups and lead forms are great for getting the email addresses of people who visit your website. You must’ve seen them before when browsing the web. Perhaps you’ve even put your email address into one.
They work by interrupting you as you work your way around a site. A box will appear asking you for your email address, usually in exchange for a lead magnet like a whitepaper, an eBook or a weekly newsletter.
Here are three examples of pop-ups or lead forms you can try:
- Lightbox – A pop-up that covers up the text behind it until you enter your email address (or click it off).
- Full-screen – A pop-up that freezes your entire screen with an offer in exchange for your email.
- Notification – A bar at the top or bottom of your screen asking for your email address.
These types of forms can be extraordinarily effective for building your email list. However, make sure you follow all appropriate data collection regulations.
4 – Create a free tool
B2B sales is all about providing value, even if all you want is a prospect’s email address.
If you can offer your audience a tool that they can actually use and find value in every day, they’ll be only too happy to give you their email details. You don’t have to build anything too complex – just an easy-to-use, snappy solution that creates a shortcut for your prospects or solves a problem for them.
Here’s an example from one of the biggest global software companies:
HubSpot has been very effective at creating free tools in order to get email addresses. At the time of writing, they currently have eight free tools available on their site – these include an email signature generator, a website grader and a tool that gives you ideas for blogs.
Not sure how to kick off creating a free tool for your company? Follow these steps:
- Identify the pain points that your ICP prospects struggle with. What are the top things they’d love to change or fix about their jobs?
- Come up with an idea for a tool (or tools!) that solve those challenges or make your prospects’ processes easier.
- Present your ideas to your product or technical team – talk to them and get a feel for what’s possible practically.
- Agree on a product roadmap for the tool and deadlines for completion.
- Then, when the tool is ready, release it into the world and promote it across your social channels.
Remember to place the tool behind a gate – only prospects who give you their email and contact details will be able to access it!
5 – Clean up your existing data
Another great idea is to get back in contact with prospects you’ve dealt with before but, for whatever reason, you were unable to close the deal.
One problem that sales reps often encounter is that the data they work with deteriorates quickly; most prospects on any given email list have changed roles or even changed companies since the list was created…and probably multiple times!
You can clean up your old lists (and keep your current lists up-to-date) with Norbert’s email verification tool. It uses an 8-step email verification process to check the validity of email addresses on your prospecting list.
With Norbert’s tool, your sales team will see the benefits in fewer bounces, increased deliverability and open rates, plus better prospect engagement and ultimately, more revenue!