When done right, targeted prospecting can generate more leads, provide strong ROI, find more ideal accounts, and, most importantly, grow revenue exponentially. As sales become increasingly complicated with the development of technology and changing consumer behaviors, B2B companies are seeing all the more reasons to invest in outbound marketing.

In more ways than one, your outbound marketing strategy determines the quality of the leads you generate. Another way to put it is that sales research has sizeable impacts on top-of-funnel velocity. That said, your lead lists must be highly targeted and aligned to the decision-makers based on an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

It sounds simple, but there are often a lot of variables involved. Nevertheless, building targeted lead lists can be summed up into four crucial steps, with each step involving a lot of nuance and decision-making.

Step 1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Buyer Persona

First things first, you have to determine who you want to sell to or, in other words, who is your best potential customer. Most prospecting businesses use ICPs and buyer personas to such potential customers, which allows sales teams to target customers and accounts that are most likely to be interested in the product/service, thus enabling them to avoid wasting time on non-viable contacts.

  • ICP. An Ideal Customer Profile is a detailed description of a company most likely to become a customer. It is typically anchored by historical customer data and includes your preferences on business location, size, industry, and titles of your dream customer.
  • Buyer Persona. The buyer persona, on the other hand, includes information about your customers’ (previous, existing, future) behavioral patterns, psychological characteristics, and buying habits. This document will show you the right way to communicate with your prospects at each phase of the sales funnel. 

Both your ICPs and buyer personas serve as roadmaps that your sales team can use to identify, engage with, and move potential customers through the sales funnel.

It is likely that you already have ICPs and buyer personas. However, it is vital that you update these sales intelligence documents as you and your buyers evolve and adapt to changes.

Step 2. Define your research type

The next step is to define what type of research you should perform and sort out criteria for your data in order to put together highly targeted lead lists. Whether you have a team of in-house researchers or outsource prospecting research, you must define your type of research first.

Here are types of data that you can use for more data-based decisions and outreach:

Demographic data including titles, phone numbers, emails, location, etc.

Technographic data involves analysis of web-based technology and apps installed. This type of data is essential if your sales rely on the prospect’s current tech stack or if you are a software services provider.

Firmographic data comprises a breakdown of total addressable markets, including trigger events that may influence the sales process.

Psychographic data including in-depth social media research on the prospect’s professional interests, career progressions, behavioral patterns, and more.

Step 3. Identify your target audience

You now have your ICP, buyer persona, and research type. Now, it’s time to identify your target audience based on the research you have done so far.

Your target audience is the one you focus on in your marketing and sales activities. In generating sales, your target audience consists of the accounts and individuals that are most likely to become your next customer.

Step 4. Gather and enrich your data

The last step is to search, filter, and collect your data. You now know who to look for; the next step is to start building your targeted lead lists. 

The most popular tool for effective B2B lead list building is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It allows researchers to create a list of primary search keywords, which enables them to conduct advanced searches every time. Each advanced lead search on the platform consists of a formula that defines the ideal customer’s location, title, company, and main keyword.

Every search can turn up dozens or thousands of results; this is where your researchers filter the data to find the most ideal contacts before putting them on the list. After which, they check and validate each contact to ensure that every name on the list is viable and qualified.

Tips on creating high-accuracy B2B lead lists

  1. Analyze data

The lead lists you generate are a source of information for your future marketing campaigns and optimization of your future lists.

2. Always validate data

Make every contact count. Double-check with additional resources to ensure that your lead data is verified. For example, you can use email verification tools to verify leads’ emails and prevent email bounces.

3. Prioritize quality over quantity

When it comes to prospecting and lead generation, quality matters more than quantity. The higher your leads are, the more likely you are to generate income.

4. Enrich existing data

Analyze existing data for any inaccuracies or missing information. Update your data regularly to ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date, and complete. If you have old contacts, segment them into separate lists and contact them later.

5. Leverage your tech stack

Use outsourcing tools like Leadbird to automate your lead generation process and allow your sales team to focus on higher-value activities.


Highly targeted lead lists are more likely to generate sales than lists that are too generalized. If you want to increase sales and minimize outbound efforts at the same time, it’s time to reevaluate your outbound strategy and start building more targeted lead lists, starting with these steps.