How To Develop the Most Effective Prospecting List?

Here’s a question we get asked commonly, how do we develop the most effective prospecting list?


Well before we start, let’s tell you what most sales people do. The average sales person will have list upon list upon list as their prospecting targets. Honestly we’ve seen sales people pull out 10 Filofaxes before, or excel spreadsheets which will take hours just to scroll to the bottom.


We’d categorise all sales people whom do this as being

  • List Flitters


They have a list of prospects and they aimlessly navigate from prospect to prospect in somewhat of a milk round fashion, in a hope to uncover an opportunity. There’s limited structure, targeting or planning involved, they merely go from prospect to prospect on their list.


Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this as an approach, it’s by no means the most effective.

We like to use the story of E-Harmony as an example. For those of you whom aren’t aware E-Harmony is a dating website. Their proposition is that their dating platform enables people to find love due to their unique matching system whereby they match individuals on things like their characteristics, hobbies, backgrounds etc.


We as sales people need to take a leaf out of their book. We should follow this same targeting of our prospects to effectively find whom is the right fit for us.


Let’s extend that dating concept once more. Say there are 100 people whom are potential matches in a room and we have 100 minutes to find the best match. We could invest one minute in each person hoping to find our match. The trouble would be that even if we found our match, after only one minute how can we be sure they’re right for us? Or maybe more fitting to the sales link, having only invested one minute in them how sure are they of you? That you’re right for them?


An alternative route would be that of targeted approach, we could vet the room and gauge whom are our top ten prospects, then we can invest 10 minutes in each of them.


So reverting back to sales, that’s the key point we want to establish. The most effective prospecting list is a targeted one.


Our route to new business success is:

  1. Find the right prospects for our business or offering
  2. Invest time in them so that you become familiar to the buyer, so that their barriers dissipate and you win the sale


With this in mind, the two things we encourage you do are

  • Prospect in your Sweet spot 
  • Apply nurture campaigns


Prospect In Your Sweet Spot

Think of E-Harmony again, we need to be targeted. The question we always ask of sales people we work with is what’s your sweet spot customer? What’s their make up? That could be number of users, geographical location, business structure etc.


That criteria, of your sweet spot customer is what we denote as your sales spirit level. You should be able to hold up that criteria (sales spirit level) to gauge whether a prospect is worth pursuing or not. So if they’re below or above your turnover of customer then drop them off your list, be ruthless at this stage as it’s not worth wasting your time on prospects whom aren’t the right fit for you. If you’re prospect isn’t the right fit then chances are that you won’t make the sale.


Reduce your prospecting list down so that it only has prospects whom fall within your sweet spot. If that means that everyone in your list is disqualified and you need to start again then so be it. Having a targeted prospect list is an integral step to being successful in sales and becoming a sales icon.


Apply Nurture Campaigns

Time is finite, we only have so many hours in the day. You’re much better off segmenting your prospecting attack plan into short term time windows. What I mean by this is that it’s better to take 10 prospects and consistently prospect them through multiple mediums over say 2 months than it is to half heartily disperse your time over 100+ prospects with minimal interaction and few mediums.


So what I’m saying is to conduct a nurture campaign, maybe even run two or three nurture campaigns in conjunction. Take 10 prospects whom sit within you sweet spot and develop a nurture campaign to have multiple touchpoints with them over a short window of time. Maybe this could be that you’ll send them 3 emails, two direct mail campaigns and call them every other week to discuss things in more depth.


For more on putting together effective nurture campaigns please do read our article below:



Please have a try of nurture campaigns. The feedback we’ve had from sales people is that this has radicalised their entire approach and they’ve seen drastic increases in the new business development so do have a try.  


This is all you need for an effective prospecting list. Simply make sure they fall within your sweet spot, and ensure that you have regular interactions, use the familiarity principle, break down their barriers and you’ll notice your new business sales begin to flourish.


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