A little while ago, I wrote an article on Manta entitled 5 No-Cost Tactics For Finding Leads. I get a lot of questions from participants in our programs and online clients asking “where do I find the people for my cold calling campaign” or “I’ve got a limited budget. How can I effectively market or find leads to cold call if I’ve got no money”.

These days, there’s a ton of information available on the Web. If you use a little creativity and let your imagination run wild, you can find contacts to cold call easily.

Of course, you still have to qualify them.

There were 5 sources listed in that article that I used during my time in the call center. They were:

  1. The search engines Google, Bing, and Yahoo (now a part of Bing).
  2. The Manta Portal.
  3. LinkedIn and other professional social networks.
  4. Professional organizations and conferences.
  5. The career boards Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder, and HotJobs (now a part of Monster).

In addition, there are a couple of other resources to consider if you have some spare cash lying around.

Yeah, these sources aren’t free, but they can pay big dividends if you leverage them effectively and are smart about how you conduct your cold calling campaigns.

Pay to Play Resources: Harris InfoSource, InfoUSA, And Jigsaw

If you have money burning a whole in your pocket and you want to put it to good use before it sets your pants on fire, investing in a list of contacts may be an option for you.

When looking at these online databases, there are a couple of things that you want to consider:

  • The age of the data and how often is it updated.
  • The type of contact information that is available.
  • The size of the resource database.
  • Online information accessibility and how much of it you can download it into your CRM
  • The ease at which the information be formatted to generate mailing labels.
  • The ease of segmenting the information geographically.
  • Cost (as with everything else, the more you buy, the less it costs per unit).

If you are working in a group and you want other members of your team to have access to the information, you might have to pay extra to allow team access. Keep that in mind when you are configuring your contact filters.

There are some advantages to using some of these databases. Harris InfoSource is a division of Dun and Bradstreet, has deep pockets and almost infinite resources to provide extensive information on a multitude of companies. If you find a company profile on Google or Manta and no one from the company has claimed the profile, it’s probably information taken from the Dun and Bradstreet database.

And Harris InfoSource will give you contact information for that profile, stuff like executive names and titles.

Before we switched over to SalesForce.com, our Inside Sales Team made extensive use of the Harris InfoSource and its Selectory database engine. Using Selectory, we streamlined our targets, providing separate team members with specific geographic locations, companies of a certain size (employees and revenue) and focused on a particular industry.

Now imagine how a member of our inside sales team might arrange their day. Looking at the contacts that they had and arranged according to industry, they would spend the first block of their day calling metal working companies addressing a sales and leadership challenges particular to metal working companies and use successful references from our past work with other metal working companies.

Then, the next block would be focused on chemical manufacturing companies, addressing challenges companies in that industry face on a regular basis and use references from our work with similar companies in that industry.

This pattern would continue throughout the day and is more time effective than having a sales person jump from a contact in the metal working industry to a contact in health care followed by a contact in chemical manufacturing and then to a contact back in the metal working industry.

If you are looking to get access to a set of contacts quickly and you have little manpower to spare, this may be an avenue for you.

But remember, you will still need to do your research on your targets before you call them.

Local Chambers of Commerce

The second resource you can leverage, if you have the bucks, is the local Chamber of Commerce. Like the big list sources, this resource isn’t free. Most Chambers won’t give up their membership list to you unless you are a member.

Once you are a member, however, you are a part of their community and you can connect with other Chamber members and offer your products or services.

In fact, this was one of the strategies that we used in our outside sales team. Each sales rep had a specific geographic territory that they covered. And part of the developing that territory was the option for the sales rep to become a member of the local chamber.

We then worked with the chamber leadership, putting on special programs for their membership, running special advertisements in their newsletter, calling other members of the community for joint programs, or using the list as a basis for door-to-door cold calling projects.

Chamber lists do have the advantage of being localized to a specific area and the contact information is accurate and up to date. And there are additional benefits to joining the local chamber such as member’s only events and special pricing on a host of necessary business expenses.

However, as I mentioned before, you won’t be able to make a move until you become a member and the price of membership will depend on the Chamber that you are considering.

What resources do you leverage, paid or free, when searching for leads. Leave a comment below and let us know.

Good Selling!

You can find the original article, 5 No-Cost Tactics For Finding Leads, on Manta.