I want leads, I want their names, and I want it now. There’s a strategic piece to this and a tactical piece to this. I’m going to show you today some of our favourite tactics for finding the right names and the right buyers. But along the way I am going to argue very strongly that you need to get the strategy right first and then I’ll show you how we get the names.

Well there’s a strategic piece to this; of course, I need to have the right buyers – people who are likely to have a problem, whether or not they realise it or are focusing on it. But I want business buyers who are likely to be facing the problem that I can solve and I want them to meet our ideal client profile. Maybe there’s a size of company that’s really good for us for example I don’t want them bigger than ‘X’ or smaller than ‘Y’ or, I want something about their attitude or their geography. These are universal truths. We need to get these elements right first and then we can choose the right tactics.

Blah, blah, blah – give me the names! There’s a lot of focus globally for marketing on inbound marketing and I’m not going to argue against that only that it doesn’t sit in a vacuum. The reality is, if there are let’s say 100 strategic targets that we want to serve, I’m probably going to know the names of those organizations already and I probably want to know the names of the individuals within those organisations who I should be targeting. So my strategic segment I definitely want to be going direct. For my second ring, maybe my next band of prospects – certainly that’s a good candidate for inbound and so is the outer ring, that is the people whose names maybe I don’t known but they sit around and they play a key influencer roll for those whose names I do know.

So, you’ve got the inner ring and I am probably going outbound for them, so I want their names in advance. Around that inner ring I’ve got the supporters. I’m probably going inbound for that and for my secondary targets – that is companies different from that first group and I am probably going inbound for that group as well. But for all that, I still need to have the names of the right businesses and that means we need to get the strategy right and the tactics right. Now, in a moment or two I’ll show you how we do that in funnel plan but first I am going to do two things. I’m going to share with you the conclusion, that is, how we get both the strategy and the tactics right. That includes sharing with you some of our favourite tactics and I am going to invite you to receive more blogs like this.

Let’s get now, to the strategy and the tactics – the meat of what we need to be doing. Well, the good news is that although I am ranting on about the importance of strategy I’m not going to labour the ‘how-to’ of strategy in this blog. I’ve got that in another blog, in fact let me just remind you of the high points. Firstly, I need to know what problem I’m in the business of solving and from that what kind of business is most likely to be affected by the problem and what kind of role within those businesses does the problem most effect? That’s going to give me my ideal target. But, when I am thinking about that I am going to come up with a lot of segments so I’m probably going to prioritise according to how badly that problem hurts each of those segments and how attractive those segments are in terms of the size, growth profitability and other factors like that. So in short, think of the problem, think of the businesses that have it, think of the roles within those businesses, who that problem really impacts, prioritise according to how badly it hurts and how attractive they are as a segment. Get down to your list of priority segments. Now, along the way to doing that what you’ll inevitably do is some of the characteristics will be common. Put them into your ideal client profile rather than consider them segments. So big company, small company maybe there’s a top and a bottom to the idea size of company. Well they’re not segments per se they’re just characteristics that are true for all of your segments. So when you’re thinking about it put a little list on the side and say “these characteristics or these factors are true for all of my segments and then these are the actual segments”. That gives us the list of who it is that we’re targeting.

Now we can move into the tactics. So, if you use strategic targets, I recommend you start by thinking of using a tool that is available on LinkedIn which they call Lead Builder. Now it requires a premium subscription but it’s not a lot of money for obtaining high-quality names and in that you’re going to put in all the names of the companies who you consider to be strategic targets, the kind of role that you’re looking for and any geographical constraints just within your country for example and LinkedIn will give you a list of all the people who meet that profile.

Put those names into your CRM and code the role type. Say for example we often sell to the head of marketing but what title does that person have? Is it VP of Marketing or Senior VP of Marketing? Etc. So, code them for role type and then do a gap analysis. I’ve got the head of marketing – whatever title he or she has but don’t have the head of sales. So now I’ve got a gap. So I’ve got my strategic targets, I’ve got the names that I could find through LinkedIn’s Lead Builder and then through my CRM I’ve got a list of gaps. For gaps and strategic targets I’m probably going to use telly acquisition that is somebody on the phone ringing those companies to do some research to find the name of a person whose role I don’t have. But I’ll start with LinkedIn Lead Builder and then I’ll go to telly acquisition. That’s going to give me the strategic list but around those important folk who I really do want to target there are probably important influencers who work in the same company – the next ring of seniority, typically. Those names I’m probably going to look at one of two options. I’m either going to consider inbound or I’m going to go to a list provider.

Couple of suggestions on lists: Don’t buy, rent. If the average tenure of a person in the ideal role that you’re targeting is about four years, then every year 25% of your list is wrong. It’s actually cheaper in the longer run to rent a list rather than to buy it. Or a little trick that we like to do is go to your list provider and purchase the lists for permanent ongoing right to use that list and then pay them for any adds, moves and changes. Its good compromise between having one-time use – they’re the experts not you. That’s giving me my strategic target names and again, in that instance I am using LinkedIn and I’m using telly acquisition, plus I may consider a bit of inbound. For both my secondary targets, the slightly less important companies and for the outer circle who sit around my key role holders in the strategic targets for both of those groups, certainly I am going to consider lists and I’ve already explained what we like to do there. But, I want to suggest another tactic to you – at least worth considering. It is a compromise between interest and ideal.

Go on again to LinkedIn and look at the groups that are likely to have the sort of companies who are interested in things like what you do. They might be member associations or they might be special interest groups. Get into the groove and look at who the companies are that are members of groups. The individual who is a member of that group may not be the right person for you but the company may well be. If there’s a company who does have members in their group, it’s likely that the company is interested in that topic. So that’s going to give you a list of company names and then you can use other strategies or other tactics for finding the names of the individuals who meet those roles.

An example of that would be something like List Grabber and then Lead Grabber. Now let me explain. They’re both from a company call e-Grabber and roughly they work like this. List Grabber does what you or I could do anyway. It goes through any website that’s got a public list of let’s say members of a certain industry group and they’ll just extract that list for you. That’s public information. You could do that manually yourself. All List Grabber does is to automate that. Nice tool. Not expensive. Now I’ve got the names of the companies but not the individuals who meet those roles. Now I’m going to use another tool called Lead Grabber. Lead Grabber is a bit more expensive but what Lead Grabber will do is find the names of all of the role holders within those target companies. I’ll explain Lead Grabber again in another context shortly. But there are some great tactics that I like to use for acquiring my strategic targets and the next group around them or my secondary targets. For your third level targets consider, strongly going inbound rather than outbound and whether you’re looking at strategic targets, your secondary targets or your tertiary targets, make sure you invest in list cleansing.

Well, I promised you that we’d show you how we do that in funnel plan, let’s do that now. Although we’re going to take a look at tactics, I want to actually start with a strategy. Lets take a look at the Strategy section of the Funnel Plan. Really I am looking at two things: the ideal client profile that is the characteristics that are true of all of my target markets and I’m looking for the businesses that I’m targeting and the roles within those businesses. I can’t do anything tactically until I am really clear on whom it is I’m targeting. Now, let’s take a look at the tactical execution of that if you like. So we’re going to go into funnel plan, the software itself and we’ll take a look the tactic section and you’ll see I’ve got a few tactics. I’m going to add in a couple relative to the content I shared before. Let’s for example, have one tactic which is really just a task and that is to identify our strategic targets, to do some gap fill – that’s a separate tactic, and then to do some LinkedIn Lead Building. Now, I might mark all of those tactics as being for my strategic targets because when I look at the funnel plan I would like to be able to distinguish between tactics meant for my A list – my strategic targets and my B list. So I am going to tag them accordingly.

Now let’s take a look at tactics for the next group. That is for either the secondary targets or for the supporters who sit around those primary targets. Let’s add some tactics there. I’m going to go with List Rental and what I might call Group Inference which is when we find a company that’s in a member of a group and then we find out the name of the role holder that we really should be targeting even if it’s not the person who’s individually subscribed to that group. Let’s tag those tactics as for our supporter targets.

Tactics are interesting but they all lead to something and so I’m going to connect all of those tactics to their logical next step which will be in the Position in Category stage of the buyer’s journey. So let’s connect each of those tactics to the most appropriate next tactic in the buyer’s journey. We’re building a bit of flow here. Once I’m done with my tactics having selected them, now I can print my PDF and take a look at how it all looks in a flow. I spoke a bit about inbound tactics and of course the whole marketing community is talking about inbound marketing and inbound tactics. With inbound tactics, you don’t need a tactic to find the inbound person, they find you. So their journey really begins at Positioned in Category and then Interest Established. So, we don’t need tactics in the New Names Found stage of the buyer’s journey. New Names Found is just for outbound. How we appropriately position and gain inbound enquiries, I’ll discuss another day. Well if you enjoyed this blog then likely you will enjoy others. If you haven’t already subscribed to Funnel Vision either the twice a week or the monthly blog or if you have already but you have colleagues who haven’t then can I invite you now to invite them to subscribe now. But for now, may your funnel be full and always flowing.