If you prefer to do it yourself, here are nine steps for building a free B2B Marketing databases for your outbound marketing campaigns. You can use these customized databases for cold calling, direct mail and email marketing. A list of some free Internet resources for building such customized lists is given below at the end of this article.

  1. Identify Industry: Start by picking the industry and if possible, sub industry.  If you want to cover multiple industries, approach them separately.
  2. Identify Companies: Define the broad criteria that will help you identify the companies within the chosen industry. You can segment by revenue, geography, employee size etc. Example: Software product companies with a revenue range of $100 – $500 million located in North America.
  3. Select Companies: Search, download or copy-paste the list of companies to a spreadsheet from free Internet resources given below.
  4. Identify Titles or Roles: Build a list of keywords that appear in the titles of your targets. If your decision makers are not easily identifiable by titles identify department your target contact is likely to be located like, IT, Human Resource, Marketing, Manufacturing etc. You may have to conduct a role based contact discovery instead of a title-based discovery.
  5. Identify Level: Define what level of decision maker, user or influencer you intend to target. Like manager, director, VP, C-Level etc
  6. Standardize spreadsheet Format:  Write all data attributes you want to capture like Name, Mailing address, Phone number, Email address etc. in the header row. It is a good idea to check the import format of your CRM for easy import.
  7. Start the Internet research: Check out the company website, LinkedIn, Search engines, industry associations etc. Keep filling up your spreadsheet with any information you get on your prospects.
  8. Time: Refine the above search process and note the time you are spending on the research. Try to limit it to say something like 10-12 companies or contacts per hour. This will help you budget for the time you need for building the b2b marketing database for your outbound marketing campaigns. Calculate to see if you can do it individually or need more resources to build the marketing lists. Example: If your goal is to build a database of 1000 contacts and your research is producing 10 contacts per hour, you know you will need 100 hours of research.
  9. Validate: Start calling to verify the prospect list you just built. Most times front office or the assistant will be able to validate the information.

If this seems like a lot of work and you lack the time or resources to build the list, you can outsource your b2b leads list building to companies like Sales Inside Inc.

Free web resources for building the b2b marketing databases

http://www.linkedin.com/
http://www.manta.com/

http://www.jigsaw.com/ ( Salesforce acquired jigsaw in April 2010 and later rebranded it as www.data.com) – Not exactly free but you can barter contacts.

http://dir.yahoo.com/business_and_economy/
http://www.google.com/Top/Business/
This blog was originally published on May 3rd, 2011 and has been retouched to best answer the most commonly asked questions and concerns.