B2B Startups, Consider This Before Buying Lists for Outbound Sales Efforts

Don't just buy random lists. The data that you use to fuel your outbound sales efforts is extremely important. You need to be targeting the right people with the right data.

Kyle Ferguson
August 16, 2023
3 miin

Buying lists or data for sales purposes can be feast or famine, depending on where you buy them.

There are some excellent data sources like Zoom Info, Apollo, and Lead411, and there are horrible list providers who haven't updated their data in years or don't get the right data from the jump.

In some cases, it might make sense to buy data; you need to know what is valuable and what isn't.

You might buy a list for what it's good for, cut out the bad data and then verify and enrich it yourself.

However, it might be more cost-effective in the long run to build your own lists.

The overarching reason is that you will likely utilize significantly more resources selling and marketing to these folks than building lists, and you don't want that effort to be wasted. So, it is worth investing in the best data for your ideal customers upfront.

I recommend reading this blog on ideal customer profiles first If you haven’t read it yet and especially if you don’t know what an ideal customer is.

Here are 6 reasons why to not buy lists:

1. They are not your ideal customer

  • Likely no effort has been put into qualifying them or determining how much of a fit they might be

2. It's probably not the best data and contact information.

  • List dealers don’t always update their information consistently, and quality control is rare.

3. It’s worth getting to know your potential customers by researching them

  • Getting to know your customers can help you sell & market to them effectively

4. You can collect data points to help you zone in on your ideal customer, improve your product and empower marketing & sales efforts

  • Utilize the data points that you collect to personalize outbound emails and segment your prospects

5. A wrong email address or an irrelevant audience can crash your deliverability

  • If the list you are emailing is not your ideal customer, are on the do not email list, or bounce, you are more likely to be marked as spam.

6. Those lists are already getting pounded with emails and outreach

  • If all of your emails are coming from a list you bought, it's going to be harder to stand out as those emails are getting emailed by everyone else who bought the same list


  • Utilize overseas researchers to help to enrich your lists and do some of the legwork but make sure to give them good instructions
  • Find the suitable data sources to build your lists from - bonus if where you find a prospect that can be used as an angle to use for outbound messaging, such as a news article or other software product that you integrate with.
  • Look for data points or signals online that might make a prospect more likely to buy from you.
  • Use tools like Hunter.io to find emails and ZeroBounce to verify emails
  • Never buy email lists to add to your marketing email campaigns, only use them for outbound sales purposes.
  • Don't blanket spam everyone with the same message, segment, and personalize.
  • Make sure you "warm up your email" and send an appropriate number of emails per day to avoid going to spam and being blacklisted by email service providers

Now let's get to selling!

Understanding Your Market

The success of any startup relies heavily on understanding the market it operates in and identifying the ideal customers within that market. Understanding your customer and becoming a subject matter expert is key, especially at the formidable stages.

By having insight into potential customers, you know what problems you should be solving with your product and how to communicate in a way that appeals to them.

The market is the broader industry that you serve. The ideal customer dives deeper into who your product is the best fit to serve. It's a way to segment your customers.

You might not know who your product best serves yet, and that is okay, but it's important to hypothesize and test who is.

Make some assumptions about what would make a customer a good fit for your product and test those assumptions otherwise, use your current customer base and data to guide you.

Here are some of the key steps to understanding your market and identifying your ideal customers:

Understanding Your Market

1. Research industry trends and news: Stay updated on current and emerging trends in your industry. Search Google news, read articles and follow the right people on social media to gain insights into customer preferences and potential opportunities.

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