Essential prospecting tools for selling B2B marketing services

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These tools are what I use to qualify potential leads. I'm selling a B2B online marketing service, so I'm only interested in speaking with prospects who have put their hands up first, so to speak.

All these tools are publicly available and are either free (such as browser extensions) or are very cheap. I'd also like to provide some context as to why I use each tool and how they help me save time and reach the right people faster.

When I started my business I first wanted to get a list of every premium listing in the New Zealand yellow pages for particular industries. To do this I used a free Chrome browser extension named Instant Data Scraper. With this tool, I was able to harvest company names, telephone numbers, and web addresses of companies who are already paying money to the Yellow Pages for exposure. With these leads, I had to do a fair amount of cleaning (removing duplicates, missing websites etc), but the results were worth it. I managed to pull 1,000 high-quality prospects this way.

The next step was to qualify my list further. I knew that people who had invested in SEO would be more likely to buy from me than those who didn't. I believed that having premium Yellow Pages ad as well as either a current or former SEO campaign would mean they are that much more qualified for a prospecting call. The problem was that I had thousands of leads in my sheet now, and going through each domain one by one would have been impractical and a waste of time. So I downloaded a free Google sheets add-on named Moz API for Sheets. This allowed me to see how many indexed backlinks each company had in Google. The more backlinks the site had, the more likely it was that they had used an SEO service in some capacity. I set up some conditional logic in the sheet to filter the companies who had 'N' amount of backlinks. By now I had a good looking list of potentially qualified prospects. I just had to find a way to shake out the low hanging fruit before deploying heavier weapons.

The sheet had the domain, phone, but no email address. Having these emails would be important because I was going to send out a cold email blast before phoning each lead. Fortunately, there's a tool for scraping email addresses that runs in the cloud. I used a service named Phantom Buster and received email addresses for 60% of my list. Most of the emails I received were generic catch-all addresses such as or etc.. I wasn't bothered by this, as my first contact cold email was structured to qualify them further and get an idea of their decision-making process.

I then took this list of emails and used an email validator named Neverbounce to ensure that they were valid. Using the fields from my scraped Yellow Pages database I was able to create some basic personalization in the messages for the subject line and body (I believe using an emoji in the subject line helped..) and sent the emails off in small batches of 30 emails each. My IP was new and didn't want to be blacklisted, so I took my time. In terms of results, under half of my prospects responded, and under half of the respondents showed interest in what I was offering, so, in other words, the campaign was a success. I wanted to pre-qualify the list and get the easy appointments, as well as weed out the people who would have been a waste of time calling anyway.

But now I had a new problem. I had exhausted my list and had nobody new to email. I thought else businesses spend money on to show they could be qualified for my service and then the obvious answer came to me: Google ads. Again, I'm not a fan of manual labour or data entry, so I found a service that could scrape the results for me. I used a tool named Stat Scraper to get the results of businesses advertising in my local area, drilled down by location and keywords. These people had some budget to advertise immediately, so they fit into my profile of what a prospect looked like. What I like about this service is that you could run thousands of queries to its API and have the results sent to you via email. You can configure it to run it in the background, and only notify you when new advertisers have appeared in your targeted list of keywords. This list of prospects has become an important part of my business and is compatible with all the aforementioned steps above in qualifying them further.

I'm interested in hearing about the tools and strategies you personally use in your own markeitng, and I hope you can take something out of this post.
#b2b #essential #marketing #prospecting #selling #services #tools
  • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
    Here are my next steps for ensuring a steady stream of qualified leads, as well as improving the message to contact ratio, and ultimately, conversions.

    There was a directory some time ago that went out of business. The directory was large and very popular at the time, similar to the yellow pages and sold ads through boiler room telemarketing. As I am targeting people who buy online marketing services over the phone and directly from prospecting efforts, these are ideal leads for me.

    The issue is that the site no longer exists, and it's not possible to scrape the listings through archived versions of the website using tools such as the Wayback Machine. We were, however, able to determine the site's directory structure, and with it, we can navigate the site's old pages to pull the listings from the archives using a script I got a developer to put together. Once we have all the URLs, we can start harvesting the leads and add them to our increasingly bloated database.

    So far we have leads who:

    Have paid a premium for ads in the past
    Have a current or former SEO campaign
    Buy from telemarketers and sales reps over the phone
    Buy PPC ads

    What other criteria could there be for a potential client?

    The next qualifying step is to check on their social media presence. Facebook API can be queried to get the number of likes a URL has, and Twitter can be queried (with some modification) to get the username and number of followers. Both can be used to get the number of posts on Facebook and how recently, as well as how many tweets and how recent those were too.

    The way I see it, is that the last steps are automation and developing a lead scoring system so the most qualified prospects are contacted first. It would be simple to give each metric (column) a weighting, so those who are paying the most for digital marketing are given priority on a cold email and are the first to be phoned after the fact. They may be working with someone already, or have an internal team, but the way the offer is positioned is that we are giving them more of what they are buying already, so it complements, and not competes, with other services in their budget.

    Finally, (and this is what I'm still working on and honestly need help with) is to pull all these parts together into an automated system using the lead scoring system and automated inbound leads coming from Google. Right now it's just a massive spreadsheet, which is fine since I'm the only salesperson calling the leads, but if we were to increase the number of agents we would need to have a CRM system with this running the background.

    Another avenue I haven't yet explored yet is to partner with other digital marketers for a JV, where we refer and share portions of our customer lists. I only provide content and don't do SEO, so someone buying content from me is a great lead for an SEO marketer as they dovetail together very well. Same applies for web developers, CRO experts, email marketers, the list goes on.

    Some more food for thought

    you cant hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket.

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