Unlocking Prospecting Mastery: Top 5 Tools for Building Sales Lists

Created On:
December 3, 2022
Updated On:
February 29, 2024
How to create sales prospecting lists
A prospecting list contains all the information of your potential customers, from their full names and designations to email addresses. Generating an accurate email list requires a deep understanding of the industry and the targeted audiences. 

A sales rep's first and foremost responsibility is to feed the sales pipeline with the most relevant leads with correct information. And a constant flow of relevant leads is very crucial for a business's growth. 

If you are wondering how to create a sales prospecting list, you've come to the right place. This blog post will give you a detailed insight about what is a business prospect list, the process of creating sales prospecting list building, sales tools for prospecting, and how to increase prospect list with a step-by-step guide.

Don't forget to check out the best 5 sales prospecting tools to build a sales prospecting list in 2023. 

Let's get going! 

What is Sales Prospecting?

A sales prospecting list is a sheet filled with important information (name, contact details, and email address) of a potential customer. B2B sales reps use these lists to communicate (via cold emails and cold calls) with prospective customers to increase sales. 

It’s worth noting that sales prospecting is the first step in a sales process and there are four key steps of creating a sales prospecting list: 

  • Lead identification 
  • Outbound communication with the leads
  • Introducing your product/service as a solution 
  • Lead qualification as potential buyers move through the sales funnel

Prospecting lists contain pre-verified and intent-based leads, so the chances of conversions are way much higher, unlike cold calling to random prospects. Using a highly targeted list also helps maintain positive customer relationships and build a trustable brand image.

Speaking of sales prospecting, let’s end the confusion about leads and prospects.

Leads are unqualified contacts of potential customers who may have shown interest in your product by signing up for a free trial or registering on the website. 

On the other hand, prospects are qualified leads who match with your Ideal Customer Profile and have already been moved to the sales funnel despite any prior communication with your business organization. 

In order to make a sales prospect list to be successful, it needs to contain the following: 

  • GDPR-compliant B2B data 
  • Buyer persona details
  • Verified email addresses 
  • Phone number
  • Relevant ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) data

B2B prospecting lists save sales teams’ time, lower customer acquisition cost (CAC), reduce churn rates, and improves customer lifetime value. Manual prospecting is tedious and time-consuming; that's why most companies leverage prospecting tools to create sales prospecting lists to scale faster.

Read how to do prospecting in LinkedIn, here.

Here's an example of prospect list template -

Free Lead Tracking Templates | Smartsheet

6 Steps to Creating a Highly Targeted Sales Prospecting List

Apparently, buying leads seems like an easy option instead of making a prospecting list from scratch and many businesses fall for the trap. But BUYING LEADS IS ALWAYS A BAD IDEA.

Peter Mollins, the CMO of SetSail.co revealed "Effective sales prospecting lists need to go beyond traditional "SIC codes" and "employee counts" to be effective. They should include behavioral indicators that identify a prospect that is in market now. After all, your most successful reps don't call cold into just anyone. Rather, they pursue the prospects that are showing signs of engagement in your solution space."

Here’s how you can create an effective sales prospecting list (sales contact list): 

1. Research and Learn Your Product

Once you know what you are selling (product) or providing (service), you can truly offer value to your ideal prospects. You must know your offering in detail to bypass a lengthy onboarding process. 

An exceptional sales rep should know the following: 

  • Use cases
  • Feature sets
  • Success stories

According to Harvard Business Review data, the departmental store company Dillard's has seen 5% sales growth (increase in conversions) for each hour a sales rep spent on training.

So it proves that irrespective of the industry, sales reps with in-depth knowledge about their products generate more sales. 

Before creating a list of prospects, ask yourself:

What solutions does your product offer to the customers? Are there any discrepancies in your product that leads to losing deals? Can you explain your product to your grandparents (or a child or person without prior experience)? And, what makes your product/service stand out from the competitors? 

The answers to these above-mentioned questions will help you to identify the driving force for sales and will help to create an intent-based prospect list. 

2. Research Your Prospects; Build Buyer Persona

The next obvious step is knowing your audience. If you don't know who you are selling your product/service to, it's impossible to generate qualified leads that drive sales. This process will also help you build the sales prospecting list format. 

According to marketing and sales experts, looking at some of your current customers is best to create the structure of your buyer persona. 


Research whether your best customers work in a particular industry or a set of industries. 

Job Title

What job titles do your best customers hold? Are they in managerial positions, senior managers, policymakers, or any other vertical? 

Company Size

Try to find a pattern of whether your customers come from companies of similar sizes. If not, you can divide them into a few categories — SMB (Small to Medium Business) with 1-50 employees, SME (Small to Medium sized Enterprise) with 51-200 employees, and large corporations/MNCs with more than 200 employees. 

Yearly Revenue

What is your best customers' average estimated revenue in any year? Does it vary within a wide range or fall under a single category? 

Pain Points/Reason to Choose Your Service (or Product) 

What are the main reasons that drive them to your business? Are the problems somewhat the same for all your best customers or not? 

Referral Potential 

What kind of customers have the best referral potential? Which customers have brought new customers through referrals?

Brand Value

Does your customers' brand value impact your business? How much revenue and customer growth have you seen for that? It is helping you drive more sales for your business. 

3. Start Building the Sales Contact List

There is no set-piece method for creating a sales prospect list. You can add or remove a few sections from the above-mentioned list to create your buyer persona. 

Using .vcf or .CSV file is recommended to create your prospecting list in Google Spreadsheet or Excel Sheet. Although maintaining a spreadsheet is cost-effective, it takes a lot of time and leaves room for errors. 

Using a sales automation tool or list-building tool is best to create error-free and targeted leads. Some of the best tools for sales prospecting list-building tools are Hunter, Voila Norbert, Lusha, FindThatLead, etc. 

On that note, investing in CRM software to automate sales prospecting helps you generate maximum ROI from outreach campaigns. Zoho, HubSpot, and Pipedrive are some of the best CRMs today. 

4. Update Sales Lead Lists: Enhance Data Accuracy

Once you've generated sales lead lists, it's time to enhance the data accuracy and remove dead email addresses and spam traps from the list. 

Lead verification helps you improve your campaigns' deliverability, email open rates, and conversion rates. Remove dead phone numbers, irrelevant leads, and outdated emails to chip in fresh leads. 

You can also opt for a sales intelligence tool such as Outreach, Apollo, Zoominfo SalesOS, etc., to introduce new leads and relevant data to your campaigns.

5. Launch Lead Generation Campaigns

Launch various modes of lead generation, such as B2B marketing campaigns, SEO practices, website forms, newsletters, and webinars. Sometimes businesses invest in paid advertisements on LinkedIn, Facebook, and ESPs to generate leads

Make sure you add compelling CTAs to attract more audiences. Moreover, you can offer informative guides such as product walkthroughs, free eBooks, templates, webinars, etc., to generate contact details from prospects. 

6. Execute Lead Scoring: Segment Prospecting List

This is the last and most important step to creating an effective sales prospect list. Once you have collected your prospects' data, categorize your audience based on their intention, sales journey, probability of buying, etc.

Segmentation of your list will help you create more personalized campaigns based on their intent. 

Should You Buy or Build Your Prospecting Lists?

Although many B2B businesses prefer buying readymade sales lead lists from third-party platforms, it is advisable to always build your list from scratch

Of course, buying a pre-made sales contact list is easier and time-saving, but it does more harm than good for the business. 

  • Email addresses in a bought list are being contacted several times. 
  • The list may contain dead email addresses and spam traps. 
  • The contacts might not be your target audience. 
  • Your IP may get penalized or blocklisted

Moreover, you could be breaking the codes of the GDPR act. Using a readymade list can negatively impact your deliverability rates, conversions, and brand reputation. 

Use a lead gen tool to acquire highly-targeted and industry-specific leads so you can reach your target audience to drive sales. 

John Pennypacker, the VP of Sales and Marketing at DeepCognition.ai shared his insights about creating sales prospecting insights, "In my experience, it's all about qualification. Some leads will not be a good fit for you, even if they match your ICP. This is where things like BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing) come in. It is essential to establish whether they have the budget for your solution, whether they are the decision-makers, whether they need your product, and whether the timing is right."

5 Best Sales Prospecting Tools to Build Sales Prospecting Lists in 2023

1. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Homepage

LinkedIn is the world's largest social media platform for professionals. So it is an obvious choice for finding relevant leads. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the best sales tools for prospecting leads. It offers advanced search filters and offers detailed, industry-specific information about each prospect. 

It also offers InMail credits to send cold emails to your potential customers within LinkedIn. 

2. Leadfeeder

Leadfeeder Homepage

This SaaS B2B sales prospecting tool helps find relevant leads for prospecting. It performs company-specific research based on the companies that visit your website, even if they don't fill up any sign-in form. 

Leadfeeder also offers a Chrome Extension (Leadfeeder Tracker), and you can perform lead generation within your CRM platform. Its warm lead generation and ideal customer profile features make it stand apart. 

3. BuiltWith 

BuiltWith Homepage

If you are looking for lead gen tools that can find out competitors' prospects, BuiltWith is the perfect solution for you. It offers multi-channel led generation and offers fresh leads to help you scale. 

You can also research your competitors' insights, such as company size, tools they use, budget, and contact details. 

4. Voila Norbert

Voila Norbert Homepage

Using Voila Norbert, you can search any email address by your prospect's first name. All you have to do is fill in their name and the name of the organization they work for, and you will get access to their professional email address. 

It also offers a Gmail plugin, so you don't have to swipe through tabs to find a lead. This plugin lets you schedule cold emails, automate follow-ups, and set reminders. 

5. Hunter

Hunter Homepage

The last pick on our list is Hunter. It is a lead gen tool with a Google Chrome extension. It is particularly helpful to bring out email addresses from domain names. 

It also deployed a scoring system to find active email addresses. Even if you can't find a prospect's email address, Hunter finds the domain's email format to help you acquire the desired email addresses. 


Now that you know what is a prospect list and how to create one, here's a tip: the more detailed a prospecting list with valid and relevant information, the better. While creating a prospecting list, ensure it contains the full name, telephone number, job title, industry, address, relevant achievements, etc. 

We'd recommend using a sales prospecting tool synced with an email marketing tool to automate B2B marketing from lead generation to sending follow-up emails and let the sales team and marketing team focus on customers and the sales process. 

Never compromise on sales contact list building and focus on intent-based lead research and choose the best sales tools for prospecting.

Cheers! See you soon. 


How Do Sales Prospecting Tools Integrate with Other Sales and Marketing Software?

Sales prospecting tools integrate with CRM, email marketing, lead enrichment, social media, and sales enablement platforms to synchronize data, automate outreach, enrich prospect information, engage directly on social channels, and orchestrate multi-channel campaigns.

What Are the Key Features to Look for When Choosing a Sales Prospecting Tool?

Look for advanced search filters, lead scoring, email tracking, workflow automation, and robust analytics when choosing a sales prospecting tool.

What are the challenges of sales prospecting and how tools can help?

Challenges include finding qualified leads, maintaining data accuracy, engaging prospects effectively, and managing relationships. Tools offer access to databases, automate lead scoring and data enrichment, enable personalized outreach, and facilitate relationship management through centralized communication and scheduling.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

  • dfbvrsg
  • svsv

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Author’s Details

Sattwik Das

Sattwik is a Digital Marketing professional at Smartlead. He is a dedicated content writer who focuses on juggling words to bring out meaningful content. He is experienced in well-researched and SEO-optimized content creation, content editing, and copywriting for various businesses throughout the globe. His expertise in SEO, SMM, and SMO with a touch of creativity helps businesses grow and maximize their credibility and sales.


Edited by:

Sattwik Das


Frequently asked questions

General Questions

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Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

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Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

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The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
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Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

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Can I integrate Smartlead with other tools I'm using?

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Certainly, Smartlead is designed for seamless integration with a wide range of tools and platforms. Smartlead offers integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Clay, Listkit, and more. You can leverage webhooks and APIs to integrate the tools you use. Try Now!

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No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

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Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

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