Like it or not, whether you are an owner or are a part of a sales team – at one stage you will have to source leads for your product or solution you are offering. Meaning, you will have to build a B2B prospects database. Yes, you should be using different channels as well – building landing pages, and offering digital assets, creating content for boosting SEO, paying for ads to bring traffic. Each of them makes a different contribution to the marketing mix; but while waiting for the phone to ring – you have one thing left to do – start proactively looking for potential clients.
As you may or may not know, BizzBee Solutions as a company has worked with 300+ entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs, giving us the opportunity to talk with their founders, CEOs, directors, and helping them build B2B prospects database. As we specialize in B2B lead generation, we have the expertise in finding companies, people, and their contact information. If I had to guess, I could state that we have sourced more than 2.000.000 highly targeted prospects so far – all manually. This was even before the introduction of crawlers, scrappers, and extensions.
The purpose of this blog post is to give you a deeper understanding of how lead generation works. Also why it is important to have a B2B prospects database, while the last chapter will be dedicated to automation. I organized it this way because crawlers and scrappers are based on principles that you need to understand before you start using them.
Let’s start with a quick summary
This blog post consists of seven chapters, each covering different aspects of building the perfect B2B prospects database for your business:
- Understand your target – This chapter is very brief, making sure you know who you are trying to approach. You can’t proceed until you know what type of companies are ideal clients for you, and what position within the company is the most relevant for you to target.
- Setup the environment – As with any project, to build a B2B prospects database you need to do some preparation. This could mean downloading specific tools, subscribing to platforms, or preparing your spreadsheet or CRM where you keep your leads. I will try to be as resourceful as possible with examples.
- Prospect companies – This covers everything you need to know to be able to find your ideal type of client companies. It involves mostly using search engines, but also many other techniques and approaches to find the companies you need.
- Find the right people – Don’t always go looking for the CEO and wonder why you never get feedback. An HR solution should target the HR decision-makers, a financial tool should target financial decision-makers. Find the right person within the company that is mostly concerned with what you have to offer.
- Find contact information – Don’t be that person that always e-mails companies using their generic e-mail. It doesn’t work anymore. In order to build a solid B2B prospects database, you will need to learn how to find direct contact information. Meaning, direct business e-mails, direct phone numbers, and their LinkedIn profile.
- Quality control – Building a B2B prospects database is always prone to mistakes. Either human (typos) or computer mistakes (tools are not always 100% accurate). Therefore, you must go through several steps to ensure that you have the highest quality list.
- Lead Automation – Once you know how to do the prospecting yourself, then you can start considering automation tools. There is not a single solution that can solve your prospecting problem – most often it is a mix of tools that can partially automate your process, but rarely 100% of it. After all these years, we are continuously screening the web for new tools, and we even have a set of tests that we do to test their accuracy, and rarely any reaches more than 70-80%.
If you even think about prospecting, do read further in this blog post. But also, download the PDF version so you can reap the benefits forever.
Understand your target
Let’s begin. Do you know who your target is? It is a very simple question, but I found many CEOs and heads of sales/marketing struggle to answer it. Here are a few incorrect examples:
In most cases, yes, these are relevant statements, but they do not help your prospecting mission. You are here to find the type of companies that are most probably going to buy your product/service. And if you have unlimited marketing/sales budget – sure you can make these bold statements. But even then, you would still have to split the target into segments and address each segment separately.
Let me put it in another way – having a very specific target will help you laser-focus your marketing efforts, making you more relevant in your target’s eyes. So even if you have a cross-industry solution (e.g. SEO agency), you still need to choose your target for each marketing campaign.
This does not mean that you have to choose only one. You can have several targets – but you need to be aware that for each target you will need different marketing/sales activities.
After speaking with 300+ clients we have made a one-page summary that should be an output of this stage – a clear understanding of what our client needs. Keep in mind that we did this for our clients, so there could be a few segments that are not relevant to you, but still – having this as a baseline you can easily create your own B2B prospects database.
The BizzBee questionnaire
So, here is how our questionnaire is structured, as well as guidelines for our employees:
Basic info about your company
You need this section in order to understand the client. Go over their website (if available) to understand what they are actually trying to sell. In addition, try to understand the goal of their campaign. Perhaps it is just an awareness-raising or building B2B prospects database campaign. If you don’t understand the client’s needs, you can’t deliver what they need, and more importantly, can’t suggest how they can improve. The recommendations/suggestions are a critical aspect of the job, as if done properly, it could save a lot of time, and it could give better quality to the client.
Lead company info
This section is to understand our client’s ideal client (in order to avoid confusion, we will call it the target company). Finding the right companies is crucial for the process, and therefore we look at specific industries, locations, employee range, etc. Have in mind that each client is unique, with unique requirements, so not all criteria apply. Sometimes, the client has its own list of companies (B2B prospects database), that they want to be researched, and they will be added here.
The information needed per company tells us what columns we need to keep for each company, while the number of companies tells us how many target companies the client is interested in. To avoid future problems, it is of utmost importance to have a systematic approach from the start.
Lead Position info
Once the target companies are identified, you need to find the ideal position within each company (to avoid confusion, we will call it the target person). Depending on the client’s product/service, the target person can be a management decision-maker (CEO, Managing Director, Chief Operation Officer), or financial decision-maker, or HR decision-maker, or IT etc. Our job is to understand who the ideal recipient within the company is – and try to find the people that hold these positions.
If you can’t find an ideal position contact, you can try looking at alternative positions. The flexibility part tells us if the client wants the EXACT match of the position, or if we could look at synonyms or related positions. The information needed by the target person tells us what columns need to be added to the sheet. The number of people per company, tells us how many leads we need per company – some clients would require one target position per company, while others could require up to five.
Finally, understanding the deadline will tell us the capacity and resources needed in order to match the time expectations.
I would recommend that you imagine that you are a client of BizzBee Solutions, and in order to help you with building a B2B prospects database, you need to answer the questions above. Not all of our clients are capable or have the knowledge to answer these questions. In this scenario, we have a separate service – market research. Through market research, we can help clients through the discovery process of finding their ideal client.
Set up the environment
Lead generation is not just searching for the right contact on the web and hoping you will get a hit. There are a few preparatory steps that you need to do in order to set up your environment for lead generation. This means you need to install some tools and extensions so you can do lead generation properly. In this section, we will go over the tools needed for building a B2B prospects database.
Setting up the spreadsheet
After you fill in the requirement fields, you should prepare the spreadsheet where you will store the prospects. For building a B2B prospects database, I recommend a Google spreadsheet, as it is the same as Microsoft Excel – except you can access it from anywhere – computer, phone, guest computer – and you can also share it with a team, and it allows multiple entries in parallel. We had a project where we had 23 people working in one spreadsheet at the same time! That would be impossible on Microsoft Excel.
We have a BizzBee lead generation template spreadsheet that we use in-house. It has been built over the years preventing typos in the B2B prospects database, or duplication – which tends to happen if multiple people are working at the same time. So we have made a bulletproof template that solves 99% of the problems that were reported by our clients. I suggest you build one, as it will help you improve the quality of the prospects, as well as being more efficient.
The spreadsheet is all set up with categories and formulas. Your job is to only set up the spreadsheet according to the information that will be useful to you. For example, if you need a website, name of the company, location, but not the number of employees and industry, you should delete those. Also, there are “spare“ columns if you need to add some criteria that are important to you and are not already in the sheet. In the “board” tab, there are counters and “spreadsheet signalization” to help you navigate through the info and data you enter.
Once the spreadsheet is ready, we recommend using a couple of tools:
- Gmail account –Gmail account is needed for quality checking of the leads, as well as for using chrome extensions. We also recommend creating a Google Chrome account, connected to the Gmail account.
- LinkedIn account – LinkedIn is used as the main research tool most of the time. Having a LinkedIn account is essential for lead generation, as well as building a B2B prospects database. LinkedIn gives you a free one month Sales Navigator profile, which is more than enough to get a better understanding of what it can do for you.
- Email Permutator – This online spreadsheet can give you possible combinations once you provide names, middle names, surnames, and domains. It is very useful when you are not sure of the prospect’s e-mail address, and you want to try several variations.
When you open the spreadsheet it’s a View Only version. Go to “File” and then “Make a copy” – a window will pop-out where you will name the version you will use in the future for building your B2B prospects database.
In addition to these three tools, we also use several Chrome Extensions (that’s why we recommend Google Chrome).
Chrome Extensions needed for Lead Generation
- Hunter Chrome Extension – To use Hunter, you can create a free account and you will get free searches every month. Each time you visit a website, you can get a list of e-mail addresses with the domain of the site you’re visiting. The extension uses the first name, the last name, and the company’s domain to find the e-mail address in the database.
- Sales Navigator for Gmail – Sales Navigator for Gmail is essential for building a B2B prospects database. It serves as a key tool for verifying e-mail addresses. When sending an e-mail via Gmail, it is an extension that looks up the e-mail and shows you if that e-mail is linked to LinkedIn. If the person used the e-mail to register on LinkedIn the extension shows the connection which means that the email is valid. There are cases when the e-mail is linked to LinkedIn but fails when sending, which means that the e-mail address is probably no longer active, and the person using that e-mail address is no longer in the company. Here is a YouTube link for a tutorial on how to use Sales Navigator Lite.
- Name 2 Email – Name 2 Email is a very useful extension that helps us find an email address by name directly from Gmail. Simply enter a person’s name, last name and corporate domain name starting with @ into the ‘To’ field of Compose Dialogue, and this tool will automatically generate the most common corporate email address patterns for this person. Then go with your mouse over generated emails, the Sales Navigator for LinkedIn (extension mentioned above) may link the address to a profile on LinkedIn and you can assume it is the correct address.
- Get Email – GetEmail can be used as an extension to find the email address and email pattern for the contacts you need. It uses specified algorithms to find the person’s email address using the person’s first name, last name and name or domain of the company he/she works in. You can create a free account and you will get 10 credits (emails) per month.
- Prospectworx – Prospectworx is a website and Chrome extension which helps B2B marketing and sales prospecting with sales leads, email lists, and business email addresses. You can create an account using your G-mail account. On the website, you type the company’s name in the search box and a list of contacts with emails will appear. On the other hand, the extension works on LinkedIn profiles, generating emails using the company’s most used pattern and domain.
- Datanyze – Datanyze is an extension that provides company information. We use this extension when the client requires information. Such as the company address, phone number, estimated number of employees, estimated revenue, funding, etc. To use it, you need to set up an account and add the extension to the browser. When you go to the company’s website you are interested in, you just click the extension button, and a window opens up with the info you need.
- Hola VPN – Hola is an extension we use to access websites from all over the world. Often in our work, we encounter websites that are blocked or can’t be accessed from our country, so Hola “lands” a VPN address from other countries e.g. from the USA, and allows you to access the website and its data. Go to the website you need, click on the extension, chose the country you want to browse from, and you are good to go. Here is a video tutorial explaining how Hola works.
Let’s dive right into it and help you build a B2B prospects database. First, let’s find a list of companies that match your criteria. Here is how we would do it at BizzBee Solutions.
The first and best approach is through LinkedIn Sales Navigator. LinkedIn has proved to be the best tool for finding companies, having a searchable database of 30.000.000 companies. Try the one-month free trial on LinkedIn Sales Navigator to get access to advanced filter options so you can easily build your B2B prospects database.
You can filter out by country/region, by industry, and number of employees, which provides you with a list of companies that match the criteria. Not all companies that are shortlisted are relevant by default, they need to be checked, but it surely simplifies the search.
The limitation of LinkedIn is that it has pre-defined industries, and some industries are not available (e.g. dentists, SaaS, etc.). You can still use the advanced search filters, but it would also require some manual work in order to ensure that the shortlisted companies by LinkedIn are relevant for your campaign.
A different approach
Another approach towards building a B2B prospects database is Yellow Pages. In cases where you are more interested in local area companies, or industries that don’t have or aren’t available on LinkedIn (e.g. dentists, local restaurants, hairdressers, or other smaller entities), then Yellow Pages or Yelp can help. You can search by industry, sub-industry, and location.
The limitation for Yellow Pages is, that you can’t add additional search parameters like number of employees, which means that you need to manually go to the shortlisted companies, in order to ensure they fit the rest of the criteria.
Hopefully, you will be able to find your prospect companies via LinkedIn or Yellow Pages, as those are the two easiest ways. There are plenty of other ways, but each requires more complexity or more manual labor to validate each company. Here are a few other alternatives:
- Google Maps is also a good starting point – you can search for company type in a region, and it will show you a list of companies.
- Look for Associations or NGOs that work in the same field/industry. In many cases, an Association will show a list of its members, which represent a list of potential companies.
- Look for Fairs and Exhibitions matching the field/industry. Fairs also show a list of their participants, sometimes even with their contact info.
- Finally (as the last step), you can just Google companies in specific industries/regions, and screen through all pages in the search results.
Top 20 sources/databases
In addition, we are also sharing our top 20 list of sources/databases we use when we are searching for the right company. Each of them has a unique angle on the company search, whether geographically, or departmentally, or at what stage the companies are. Combined, they have hundreds of millions of companies available via different categorizations or search filters.
|Type of information available
|Statista is a leading statistics portal. Find statistics, consumer survey results and industry studies. You can find quantitative data, statistics and related information.
|A platform that helps you find a company’s headquarters. Address, phone, email and often the executive team will be listed too (always check twice when you search for executives – not all the webpages are updated).
|Open database of 180+ million company data. You can find the incorporation date, company type, address. The website also shows the company’s branches from all around the world.
|Owler is the world’s largest community-based business information and insights platform. It helps sales teams outsmart their competition with actionable insights and real-time alerts about the companies that matter to their pipeline.
|Yelp connects people with great local businesses. Our users have contributed approximately 155 million cumulative reviews of almost every type of local business, from restaurants, boutiques and salons to dentists, mechanics, plumbers and more.
|Database of companies, industries and contact information. It has financial reports and other data you may need when analyzing a company.
|ZoomInfo has combined an innovative suite of software tools with deep, high-quality data to transform and enable modern sales teams and go-to-market organizations.
|Worldwide company finder. You can access corporate data for around 16 million companies. You can find the companies arranged by industry, country etc. Also, you can access revenue and contact data.
|A webpage that provides the latest stock market, financial and business news. Here you can find the yearly/quarterly financial reports for publicly traded companies.
|Focused on the UK, it provides business information for B2B Marketing and Sales. It has a database of over 6 million UK companies.
|The official company register in the UK. This is a useful website for finding UK companies information. Free company information from Companies House includes registered office address, filing history, accounts, annual returns, officers, charges, and business activity.
|This website can be used to find information about company’s funding, revenue, location, investors, industry, social media profiles, even employees. Provides information about global companies—from startups to Fortune 1000.
|A database of 5+ million companies including source of company’s funding, and also key employees and stage.
|Forbes List Directory
|Access to people and company’s list made by Forbes. There are many categories to choose from for people (by age, wealth, by region, etc.), as well as categories for companies (global, education, cloud, revenues, etc.).
|A platform for EU based companies, DueDil is a company intelligence platform that delivers insights on more than 50 million companies and the people behind them.
|A platform for UK and Ireland, with access to 15+ million financial reports (cash, net worth, current assets), company type, date incorporated, address and other information.
|Collections of the best startups in different places around the world.
|Datanyze is the leader in technography – real-time insights based on a company’s technology choices and buying signals. These are then applied to everyday sales and marketing processes.
|Informa is the leading company in the supply of Commercial, Financial and Marketing Information. With the aim of establishing a Business Information Server Center in Spain, it currently has a national Database with 6.3 million registered economic agents and, as a member of the Worldwide Network, offers access to online information from 230 million companies in more than 200 countries.
|Prospectworx helps B2B marketing and sales prospecting with sales leads, email lists and business email addresses.
Finding the right people
Here are the steps for finding the target positions:
1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator – When it comes to positions, LinkedIn has proven to be the main source. Once you know the company, you can look into its employees, or you can search for the required position within the company. It is the most efficient way to find target positions within the company.
2. Company’s website – Second best place to look for a target position is on the company’s website. Most often, there are links like “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Meet the team” where you can find the staff with their e-mail, phone number or social media profiles.
3. Google – The third source is Google. You can google: “Company Name” + “Target Position” and look at the results from the first page. Example: “Philips” + “General Director.” In many cases, Google will point out news, an event, or anything where that specific position is mentioned, followed by the name and surname.
Tips for finding positions
- Executives and decision-makers. Often our clients want to contact the decision-makers in the company. A good start to find the CEO, CTO, and Managing Director is the company website. They can be listed under “About us”, “Leadership”, “Company Management”, “Meet the Team” etc. Also, try googling “Name of the Company” + the desired position, and there will be many pages that come up with a result.
Just be careful, the data needs to be recent and updated, you don’t need the CEO that retired 10 years ago ;). Nearly every company nowadays has a LinkedIn profile, so you can just go to the profile and search for the position you need.
- Nonexecutives, managers, and others. These positions usually are not listed on the company’s website, so LinkedIn is the best starting point here. As for the executives, you simply visit the company’s profile and search for positions. One tip when searching on LinkedIn, you can use the advanced filters on Sales Navigator to select the desired company and position you want to find, and LinkedIn will shortlist all the relevant positions in that company.
You can try and google the position and the company name ex. “PepsiCo. Marketing Manager”, but then you need to filter the data for relevance yourself. You don’t need anything outdated, or not fitting the requirement.
Finding contact information
Now that you have the company and the person – the final step is to find their contact information. What you will probably need is a business e-mail – which you can use for an e-mail sequencing campaign, their direct phone number – for a cold calling campaign, or their LinkedIn profile – for connecting and initiating cold outreach from LinkedIn.
And remember, you don’t want a generic e-mail from the company – you want a direct e-mail to the most relevant person you can target.
There are several ways you can find personal contact information:
A good start when looking for the contact’s email address is the company website. Often there are contact emails left on the site, so you can simply collect them. Go to the “About us” or “Contact us” menu and check for emails.
The web site of the company is a good starting place to find the e-mail domain of the company. In many cases, the company may have a web address with one domain, and another for e-mails.
Furthermore, you can check the patterns that the employees have for their email addresses:
Try 1: Use “Hunter” – once you have the extension installed, and you are on the company webpage, click on the “Hunter” icon, a window will pop-out with emails of employees. Notice the pattern – it can help you find the email of the contact you are searching for.
Try 2: Or you can just type in Google search “Name of the company” email pattern or email format example: “Philips email pattern” or “Philips email format” – there will be a few web-pages you can check to find the pattern. It is an “unwritten rule” for companies to have one or two email patterns for their employees.
Next, try combinations with that pattern:
Try 1: Use the Email Permutator – enter the name, surname, middle name (if the contact has one) and domain. Then use Sales Navigator for LinkedIn to find the right e-mail.
Try 2: There is one other web page you can use for patterns – Contact Hunter, it works the same as Hunter, but it’s free. You enter the domain in the search box ex. @domain.com and the page will give you a list of emails with that domain. From there you can notice the pattern used by the company.
Try 3: You can use Name2Email too. It permutes the name, surname, and domain (similar to the Email Permutator) but it gives you fewer results, and it does not work with a middle name.
Try 4: If you know the name of the contact, you can google “Jane Doe contact”, “Jane Doe email address” or “Jane Doe @ domain.com.” Google will show up with results of the search; go over the first two pages to check if there is a match to your search.
Check if the company has other domains. In many cases international companies have several domains, like .com, .com.mk, .co.uk, .fr, .net, .org, .nl.com, .sk.com or even completely different domains. If you have this in mind, you can look for alternative domains, and still check it at Hunter and Sales Navigator. You should try all the possibilities. Usually, the domains the company uses can be found in the “Contact us”, “Privacy” and “Terms and Condition” sections of the website.
Social Media. Check the company profiles on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). Very often you can find their contact email there.
Another important thing about lead generation is phone numbers. When looking for the company’s phone number, it’s very important to avoid the customer service numbers. (Most often starting with 1-800, 1-88, 800, 888, etc.). Use this search: “Company name” “Head address” or “Headquarters”, or “domain.com phone number” and look for valid phone numbers for their offices. Google Maps is also a great way to find the phone number you are looking for. If you have the address of the office, type it in and Google maps shows the exact location, the address and the phone if available. Or you can type the name of the company, the city or state, and find the data you need.
After you have found the e-mail, it is time to ensure that it is 100% the correct e-mail. Each e-mail address before entering the B2B prospects database goes through a verification process. The ultimate goal is to ensure a zero bounce rate.
Using the spreadsheet provided above helps remove the most common human typos. For example, if there is an empty space in the cell or other common mistake, the sheet will point out that mistake.
In addition to the spreadsheet, we also pay for a tool called BulkEmailChecker and we run all emails through it. We pay that platform to do some automatic checks in order to ensure the highest quality. The e-mail verification checks for different things, from spam traps (e-mail created to capture senders), it formats and does a syntax check (missing @, or double @@), domain verification (DNS records), to individual mailbox validation (SMTP protocol).
If you are a lead generation expert – you are ready to consider automation. Don’t try it before you have the prospecting basics, as you can get lost in all the options scrappers are offering, and you won’t be able to make a clear judgment if the scrapper delivered on the promised or not. Also, if you don’t understand the process, how will you know which scrapper to use for what purpose? You will soon learn that using scrappers is an art on its own.
I did a comparison of almost 40 scrappers from the web. Each of them had their advantages and disadvantages or focus on specific aspects instead of a complete prospecting solution. Have you built a new scrapper that you want me to evaluate? Drop me an e-mail, and I would be happy to give it a try and share the findings. Here is a list of scrappers that we’ve compared:
|Cold outreach automation platform. It has several tools for scrapping companies, positions and e-mails. It also has integrated e-mail sending capabilities.
|ZAPinfo is an automation and productivity tool that helps recruiters and sales pros to be 5x more productive. It helps them capture, enrich, and share data easily across the web and any web-based applications.
|An automation platform that can automate web scrapping and data extraction.
|An automation platform that integrates with all social media, extracting company data, people data, as well as integrates with email finding/verifying providers.
|A great platform for building a B2B prospects database that has access to over 20 million business contacts.
|A database of 400 million professionals across 20 million companies, available for search and extraction.
|A database of 600+ million tracked positions in 5+ million valid companies. The database is open source.
|LinkedIn scrapping solution that discovers, captures, automates, e-mails, and tracks your leads obtained from LinkedIn.
|LinkedIn automation tool, helping with auto-invitation, auto-follow up with prospects over LinkedIn. It also has some additional automation tasks tailored to better LinkedIn outreach.
|Skrapp.io help professionals to find verified B2B emails and connect with relevant people. It is a web + chrome extension that helps scrape leads from LinkedIn and prospect’s websites.
|Platform offering list development, report automation and landing page development. Within the lists, it is integrated with Hunter.io and other APIs. That is in order to find contacts or enrich existing contacts with data.
|Provide sales leads and intelligence, business email lists, company and people data. Including verified email addresses and direct-dial phone numbers, president and executive biographies, as well as news alerts for sales professionals.
|Anymail finder is a tool that can find and verify the email addresses of employees. It is similar to Hunter.io.
|LeadFuze is a lead generation software that helps you identify prospects and their contact information.
|An online tool that helps you use Google to search profiles on LinkedIn, Dribble, GitHub, Xing, Stack overflow, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
|RingLead is a platform that can clean, protect, and enhance company and contact information. It also offers data operation automation
|Automation solution for lead building, LinkedIn prospecting, and e-mail outreach via Gmail.
|Email extraction solution that provides a list of e-mails based on the search criteria.
|B2B prospects database solution that when given prospect name and domain, finds e-mail address.
|Alore Email Finder
|CRM platform that has features to find prospects on LinkedIn, Twitter, AngelList, or by the prospect name/domain.
|Solution provider offering web crawling and scraping services. Has options from self-service to fully managed scrapping service.
|Automation platform for LinkedIn that helps with connection requests, and auto-follow up messages.
|Software for e-mail finding by providing name, surname and domain.
|Contact Hunter is a tool that once you provide a domain, it will scrape the website, and show you all the e-mails available on that page.
|Chrome Extension that finds and verifies e-mail addresses, job titles, locations, and executes a cold e-mail outreach as a logical next step in the process of building the B2B prospects database.
|Chrome Extension that helps business professionals establish a fast and true connection with their leads, contacts, and candidates, using simple tools that allow you to enrich and verify business profiles.
|Chrome Extension that finds e-mails and builds lead lists.
|Chrome Extension that helps you identify people within specific companies, identify their contact information and execute outreach campaigns.
|Chrome Extension that helps you find e-mails, phone numbers, and other relevant B2B data.
|Chrome Extension that helps you find targeted leads, save them and export as a SCV file.
|Chrome Extension for LinkedIn search result extraction.
|Chrome Extension tailored for LinkedIn invitation, follow-up and custom messaging.
|Chrome Extension that finds prospects, contact information and verifies their e-mail address.
|Data Miner is a Google Chrome extension that helps you scrape data from web pages and into a CSV file or Excel spreadsheet.
|Chrome Extension that offers prospect identification, e-mail finding, verification, social search and email sender.
|Chrome Extension that helps you search for e-mails using keywords, name/domain, and e-mail validation.
|Chrome Extension for Sales Navigator search and e-mail extraction.
It would take too much space to evaluate each of these, and it is practically impossible to compare them. Each tool has its own unique benefits and depending on your needs, it brings a different value in building your B2B prospects database.
But in order to show how these tools can be used, I decided to pick one tool and go through the lead generation process. The tool I will use is Snovio. I’d like to point out that I am not in any way related to it, nor do I have an affiliate link that I can share. It is purely to show how scrappers can speed up the entire prospecting process.
The three cases I will be presenting are real client cases, so I will simply hide their names, and show you how they can be solved. I had 1.000+ examples to choose from, but I chose these three, as I believe they are quite different and represent different approaches. I hope you will identify with one of them.
Case 1: Existing database of people
About the client
The client developed an AI-based SaaS interfaced with existing customer service management technologies, (Salesforce, Zendesk, Freshdesk, …) that makes customer service more efficient and faster, by improving agents’ productivity with task automation and recommendations while delivering to management teams new actionable insights that only a data-scientist could produce. It helps reduce customer churn due to poor experiences with customer service or poor experiences with products and services.
Most of all, it helps the product and marketing teams to improve their products and services by bringing to their attention the reasons why customers are in need of assistance or why they are not satisfied.
About the project
The client had an existing list of companies and positions – but was lacking e-mail addresses. That meant the B2B prospects database wasn’t complete. Their main goal was to initiate a sequence of cold e-mails in order to warm up the list. To do this, they got in touch with us, so we would find the e-mail addresses of the list.
The list contained more than 3.500 people, but for the sake of this exercise, we will take a sample of 197 and present the whole process.
Here is a link to the sample so you will be able to follow the same process. Also, here is a print screen of the list:
The sample has 197 contacts in total – for which we needed to find e-mail addresses. Doing this project manually would take four days. Here I will explain how it can be done in a few hours.
The BizzBee way
As we had already been given the name, surname, title, and domain – most of the work was done for us. Our job was to find the e-mail addresses only. Here is the list of steps that need to be done to get 98% of the project done – FAST.
1. Save a copy of the excel file. As we do a lot of data work, it is better to make a copy from the original file, and never experiment directly on the client’s original spreadsheet.
2. Given the task at hand, I used Snovio – their Emails from Names tool. The tool requires that you upload a CSV file, with three columns: a) first name, b) last name, c) domain name – only these three columns, with the exact titles.
5. It took Snovio 10 seconds to process the list, and it was ready to be opened. You can give it 1-2 minutes to see all the e-mails and what was and what couldn’t be found. In this case, it had the following report:
- 4 – contacts without e-mail
- 87 – contacts with valid e-mails
- 75 – contacts with e-mails that cannot be confirmed
- 26 – contacts with invalid e-mails
6. The next step is to export the excel file into an “XLSX” format and choose which fields you need. You don’t need to extract everything. For this project, I only needed email, email validity, first name, last name, full name and user social (LinkedIn profile). You can then download the excel file from Snovio.
7. In order not to mix the two different excel files, you need to copy all the data you got from Snovio in a “Sheet 2” in the original excel file. This way, when we start using formulas, we can use data from both sheets.
8. You will notice that Snovio and the original excel do not have the rows in the same order (they are mixed) and you need to:
- Take the first name and surname from the original excel
- Search for that one in the second sheet – to find a matching e-mail
- Once you find it, you update the original sheet – as that will be the final version
- This can be done automatically, but a few more steps are required
9. In sheet 1, you need a separate column that will combine the names and surnames. If you search only by name or only by surname, there will always be space for mistakes. You need to use the formula CONCATENATE(text1, [text2], …). To help you master this formula and an additional 12 functions, we have created a handbook called “Top 13 excel functions for lead management.” For more details, look at formula 7 from the handbook.
10. In the Snovio sheet (sheet 2), you need to move the e-mail column right after the Name and Surname one. You need this for the next formula since in both sheets we need to have these two columns next to each other: “Full Name” and “Email”.
11. VLOOKUP formula will look at the full name in sheet 1 and will try to find the same full name in sheet 2 – if it does, it will copy the e-mail from that row. We have explained this formula in more detail in the handbook mentioned above – refer to formula 13.
12. By simply dragging the email column, the same formula will be applied to all other rows, and all valid rows will be covered with e-mail addresses.
13. If we want to add the Verify status – we need to copy that column (in sheet 2), right after “full name” and “e-mail.” You can populate that field as well with the VLOOKUP formula. Note: I wouldn’t trust this valid/unknown/invalid => which is the reason why we are doing another check at bulk verify.
14. A smart step here is to copy the findings “E-mail” and “validity” again in sheet one – just this time “Paste values only” – so when you delete sheet 2, the data will not be affected.
15. Now by using filters, you can filter out all the rows that don’t have an e-mail or have a #N/A status. There are 20 out of 200 that Snovio could not find an e-mail for. Here is a closer look at them:
- No Domain (9): Row 9, 12, 19, 21, 28, 36, 158, 171, 188 – which is why Snovio could not find their e-mail.
- Weird name/surname (7): Row 35, 50, 53, 55, 92, 166, 173 – the name or the surname has a weird letter that Snovio can’t understand.
- Don’t have an apparent reason (4): Row 164, 165, 184, 193 – these seem ok, but Snovio did not process them.
- This is only 10% of the 200 leads. I tried googling the name, surname, position and found their LinkedIn profile. Then I used Snovio Chrome Extension – and got their e-mails. This worked on 18 out of the 20 e-mails, and it took me less than 15 min.
16. As we are finished with the automation part – we must return the order of columns to the original. The one that the client has given us. This is very IMPORTANT, as we can do as much data processing as we need, but in the end, we have to bring everything back to what it was. I would then delete sheet 2 and just copy the e-mails we’ve found to Column B – which was the original place in the client’s excel sheet – and then remove all the extra columns we’ve added.
17. In order to see how accurate the process is, I took the CSV format of the sheet and put it on bulkverify. When Bulk E-mail checker finished, we got the following results:
- Passed: 76
- Failed: 36
- Unknown: 84
- Total: 196
18. The last step is to try to manually replace the failed emails.
In this case study, from 196 prospects without email, we managed to get 160 (81.6% automation) and the rest – 36 needed to be sourced manually.
Case 2: Leads for catering and food ordering company
About the client
The company was founded in 2016 by a Michelin star chef and a business-savvy entrepreneur. The inspiration? The lack of freshly prepared, healthy lunch options throughout Germany. The motivation? To become the destination for delicious, seasonal, health-conscious food.
Contrary to other delivery companies, the client had its own kitchen where they prepared healthy food options for companies, offering a variety of company incentives.
About the project
The client had the following requirements for us:
Location(s): Hamburg, Germany
No. Employees (range): 50+ (preferably 100+)
Total Number of companies: 500
Ideal positions: Office Manager, Employee Engagement, Happiness Officer, Event Manager, Assistant, Project Manager, Community Manager, Front Desk, HR
Position flexibility? Yes, basically looking for people that are responsible for ordering food or organizing events.
Extra problem: The client was already successfully operating. He had 1893 contacts in his B2B prospects database and wanted to exclude them from the prospecting process. It would be awkward if we found his current clients, and he approached them with a promotion.
The BizzBee way
In this scenario, we only knew the type of companies that were relevant to the client. The hardest part of the requirement would be to find companies in Hamburg, that the client does not already have.
I solved this requirement in the following way:
Option 1 – LinkedIn Scrapping
1. On LinkedIn Sales Navigator – when I applied the Hamburg Area and 50-200 employee filters, it showed 842 companies in total =>34 pages at 25 per site.
2. By clicking “Select all” – you will select all 25 companies on the first page. When clicking “view current employees” you will switch to lead search. By clicking on company, you can see that all 25 companies from this page are pre-filled.
3. The next step is to add all the positions from the requirement. I added: assistant, community manager, event manager, front desk, HR manager, office manager, project manager and got 158 relevant positions. Keep in mind that these are from the first page of a LinkedIn company search only – and there are 34 pages in total.
4. By using the Snovio Chrome extension, I downloaded all these 158 people; I set up the start page at 1 and the end page at 7 (as I had 158 people) and kept the pre-defined timeout values. Once it started, Snovio collected that info in the background.
5. The scrapping is only done for the first page of the company search. You need to repeat steps 2-4 for the rest of the pages to collect the leads from all companies.
6. Once you are finished with all of them, the list is ready for download on Snovio, under Prospects. From now on, the process of building the B2B prospects database is manual.
Option 2 Snovio platform
1. You can use the Snovio Company Profile Search feature, which does not require you to have Sales Navigator on LinkedIn. You can work directly from Snovio.
2. In the filters, set up Germany, Hamburg, 51-200 employees, and you will receive a list of 609 companies that match the criteria. There are 233 companies less than the first option (I don’t know why). But this way you get the entire list ready to download. You need to click the “minus” left from “name” in order to give you the options to select all and save to a list.
3. On the Snovio main menu, select “Businesses” and on the left, you will see your list with all the companies, a lot of enrichment data, plus an option to export the list to CSV.
4. Now that you have the list of companies, you can use it to look for specific positions within these companies. This is done via the Bulk Domain search feature in Snovio. You can upload the list or choose from companies list. Then you can choose to search for prospects or e-mails only, define positions, country and start the search.
5. Snovio will look for these positions in these companies – and in the end in my case, it managed to find 104 people from 104 domains (different companies). You can select two or three people per company, in case you don’t like the first lead that was found.
6. Once you add them to a list, it will appear on the “Prospects” tab in Snovio, ready for download.
7. From here on the process is manual.
Case 3: SEO offering
About the client
The client helps attract an online audience and boosts results with content that uniquely matches user’s intent. Using the deep learning insights of their solution, they navigate the shifting priorities of search engines and help companies outrank their competition. Search has evolved into a data-driven field that requires powerful software to guide companies through discovery and briefing. As well as optimization and measurement of engaging storytelling.
They don’t rely on data from third parties, and they’ve been studying search and content trends since 2005 − compiling the industry’s largest global and historical database.
The client’s main goal is to uncover the opportunities and pitfalls of online marketing. Their award-winning products bring search engine optimization and content creation together for the first time, offering marketers an ultimate platform for creating the moments that shape customers’ decisions and brand preferences. They offer competitive insights and hands-on consulting to help their customers create predictable returns in earned media.
Client solutions reveal the connection between social media links and overall engagement, and its analytics make it clear which content performs best. They have over 100,000 users worldwide, including respected brands such as T-Mobile, eBay and Siemens.
About the project
Based on the client’s offering, this was the defined target:
Industry(s): E-commerce, digital marketing agencies, enterprise companies
No. Employees (range):
E-commerce – the employee number is not relevant
Digital marketing agencies – between 50-200 employees
Enterprise companies – above 1.000 employees
Ideal positions: Positions in order of priority: CMO /Head of / Director Marketing, E-Commerce, Digital, SEO or Content
Position flexibility? We need the highest marketing position in the company. Flexibility is always welcome.
The BizzBee way
As can be seen in this requirement, the client is an SEO company. Meaning, they target companies with a lot of traffic, therefore e-commerce sites, digital marketing agencies and enterprise companies.
- Enterprise companies in Germany above 1.000 employees can be easily found with the steps outlined in case 2.
- Digital Marketing agencies – this requires a whole separate case.
- E-commerce sites – this is the focus of this case.
We can do the following steps when looking for e-commerce sites:
1. Use the Snovio Technology checker feature. It allows you to define companies based on the used technologies. E-commerce sites must use e-commerce technology and can be searched based on it. Snovio gives you a choice of 140+ e-commerce technologies. You can select the 10 first e-commerce technologies (since you can’t select more).
2. When you click search, its first result is limited to 100. However, it gives you some more advanced filters – industry, employee size, country, language. As we don’t have any limitations (except Germany). I’ve set the country and increased the limit to 5.000 websites per search.
3. Snovio identified 2.899 websites that matched the criteria. In summary, I saw only four matching the technologies (this needs to be tested further). If the data is accurate, we can easily click the “Find people to contact” – and it will use these companies and ask you for the desired positions. For this exercise, I reduced the limit of websites from 5.000 to 100 and limited them to Shopify only. In this way, I got 95 companies. I exported them to see what info I would get.
4. I got an excel sheet with URLs but not company names – which is not so useful, but what can you do.
5. I can use this list to search for positions (upload as CSV) or check “Find people to contacts” directly from the search results. Based on the requirement I’d set up to look for specific positions (I could set up more, but this is an exercise).
6. It did not show me only the relevant positions, meaning that the companies were relevant, but I needed to search for the leads manually. Alternatively, I could play with the role names until I had a more significant number.I hope this pocket guide was useful to you. But if you want to learn more about building your B2B prospects list, check out our academy.
I WISH YOU A SUCCESSFUL PROSPECTING!
Dancho is a serial entrepreneur, founder & CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of two boys, and a ‘kafana’ enthusiast. He’s also the author of Amazon’s bestseller, ‘Sweet Leads.’ Dancho believes in building relationships with people and is inspired by growth. His ‘ZZ framework’ and formula for growth have brought 500+ clients the results they sought.
Eager to learn more? Follow Dancho on LinkedIn and Facebook.