Building a lead database across the United States

how and where to find data?

I’m Dmitry, B2B Marketing Expert and the CMO with Belkins company. We specialize in B2B lead generation, and generating sales appointments, extending our services across 50+ industries in North America and Western Europe. 

Our company consists of three departments: SalesSupport, and Lead Research. The Support Department includes SDRs, Account Managers, and Email Copywriters and covers the tasks of setting outreach campaigns, preventing emails from going to spam folders, lead qualification, and appointment setting.

Why are SDRs not in Sales Department? SDRs do more than sales. They work with the clients’ databases, monitor their results, consult them, etc. Every SDR is held responsible for the success of their clients.

  • Sales teams attract new clients. Also, it serves as a sandbox for newly hired SDRs who need to gain more experience for working with leads on the client’s behalf.
  • Lead Research/R&D /Lead Generation/Data Research. Hands down, this is the heart of our company. This department covers lead research, lead validation, lead analysis and segmenting. The quality of the data found by our Lead Research teams defines the quality of the results delivered by our Sales Department and Support Department. 

Our Lead Research teams do their magic the following way: marketing research of the industry, making an ICP, data research, and, ultimately, building a lead database. 

The basic lead information includes name and surname, title, place of employment, business email and everything that allows personalizing a sales offer. For instance:

  1. Number of employees;
  2. Active hiring;
  3. Technology stack (programming language, frameworks, etc.);
  4. Annual revenue;
  5. Monthly site visits
lead database

Outlining an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is the first step of lead generation. It requires building a database that would meet the client’s needs closely. It will allow to pinpoint the key titles in the company, outline the audience’s pain points and throw away all irrelevant segments. Logically, there can be no email personalization, structured business messages or a unique value proposition until the ICP is ready.

To build an ICP without taking too much of ours and our client’s time, we made a special form. After our clients fill it, we move the form to our ResearchTrello Board. Then we assign the tasks to our team and we get started.

On average, it takes from 24 to 48 hours to process an ICP for the test leads. It allows the client to see how a Belkins’ database looks like. Also, when the clients receive test leads, they can try to generate appointments by themselves

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As we start our work with the client, we research the client’s needs and build a list of companies that are a close match to the client’s ICP.

To make our research as productive as possible, we use the following resources:

  • LinkedIn – it allows viewing companies and titles. It’s not the only source of data, but it provides open access to the contact data that the companies publish for networking and cooperation. As our work continues, LinkedIn becomes a great outreach platform.  
  • Crunchbase – contains information about companies, attracted investments, and founders. 
  • AngelList – provides information about companies and investors.  
  • Clutch.co – features information about the wide range of service vendors, including reviews, ratings, articles and clients’ feedback.   
  • G2.com / Capterra.com – most of the product-manufacturing companies register here. The platform also features reviews about their work and products. 
  • Zoominfo / Datanyze – these resources offer information about the technology used by the companies. They also allow to segment them by popularity, revenue and to view technical data.   
  • SimilarTech – allows finding web-technologies related to e-commerce, widgets, marketing and etc.

After you build the list of companies, you must identify your decision-makers. If you have loyal customers, learn more about their companies’ structure and processes to find if there are things that are common for the entire industry. In case you are not sure which title is your decision-maker, reach out to several employees and ask them who you should be speaking with. 

What I learned from mistakes:

  • Check the company’s activity;

If you think that a company is a direct match, don’t be in a hurry to send emails. If the company’s official media accounts are inactive and contain only six-month-old posts, while its blog hasn’t been updated for three months, you are more likely to waste your time than get a response.

  • Locate stagnating companies;

LinkedIn Insights allows you to see the hiring graphics, number of titles in the company and its growth for 1-2 years.

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Example:  You specialize in outsourcing. The target company has five job offers for Android developers. For the last three months, the company has tripled its number of IOS developers. This should give you a clear idea of how your value proposition must look like.

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  • Study the company’s structure closely;

To find your decision-maker, explore the structure of the company that you want to add to your Outreach list. Check the About us, Contacts, and Team pages. Take a look at the blog authors to determine your possible recipients. 

In case the site doesn’t provide you with the necessary information, visit the company’s LinkedIn. It usually features data of all Western companies, startups, and experts. You only need to enter the name of the company to the search bar and start looking through the employees. Top managers usually update their profiles with relevant information, so finding an appropriate person should be easy. 

However: Nowadays, LinkedIn is rather a recruiting and candidate search platform rather than a tool for finding contacts and generating leads. Many companies create LinkedIn profiles for online presence. Therefore, if you can’t find the necessary information about your prospects in LinkedIn, that’s because they no longer post it in their profile. 

Luckily, there is an alternative. If you heard about Xing, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, it’s a LinkedIn analog that is very popular in Germany and DACH countries. The service has over 15 million users, so, compared to LinkedIn and its 500 million users, it’s not exactly the top professional network in the world. Nevertheless, Xing has been a huge success in Europe: the number of Xing users from DACH regions counts up to 13 million, while LinkedIn DACH-stationed users make up only 11 million.  

Linkedin vs Xing

So, your list of companies is ready. Your next step is to find and verify their emails. There are many services that can help you out. 

Since we find several thousands of contacts each month, it’s critical to us that our search was quick and productive. Therefore, we chose the following tools: 

Hunter.io – our main tool for searching corporate emails. It’s very handy and provides a lot of email validation features. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator – we use this extension when we manually gather emails. It allows us to get emails straight from the LinkedIn profile. 

We also use Snov.io and other Hunter alternatives, but this subject needs an individual article. When we need to find a personal email, we can use several options: 

Option 1. Parsing

Use Dux-Soup, Phantombuster and Google Spreadsheets to select Gmail mailboxes just like Twitter and Facebook URLs. Quite often, links to Twitter are added to LinkedIn profiles. 

Option 2. Singular inquiries

With Name2Email Google Chrome extension and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can find personal emails if you know the name and domain. If you do things right, you will also get LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. 

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After you finalize your database, it’s time to send emails. To manage our sequences, we use Reply. This service allows us to automate our sequences and optimize our work with emails.

The success of your emails depends on: 

  1. Database;
  2. Mailbox settings;
  3. Personalized templates;
  4. Relevant value proposition.

Always have 10 minutes to check all qualifiers in your database to avoid any possible mistakes. I suggest doing so in your sending tool’s interface to prevent problems with coding, fonts, and gaps. 

Keep a close eye on the limits of your email service provider and check your content for spam triggers so your emails won’t land into your spam folders, completely nullifying your efforts. 

We send no more than 200 emails from one mailbox per day with a 100-second interval between emails. 

If you’re experiencing spam issues already or want to know more about email sequences and domain warm-up, feel free to send an email to our team: sales@belkins.io

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