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By Eric Quanstrom #leads September 8, 2016

Years ago, when I was working with lists for business-to-business lead generation, I noticed they were not edited or screened in any manner. There were many calls where the lead generators accidentally called clients we were already working with.

Another time, the number I was dialing supposedly belonged to Batman, another to Ben Affleck. This was back when Christian Bale was still Batman. I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed that neither of those numbers actually reached the man listed.

It was time consuming for the lead generators to call all those fake or redundant numbers. It was disheartening because called bad numbers don’t generate more leads, they just waste time. No sales. No meetings. Just huge call numbers because it doesn’t take long to apologize for having a wrong number. It’s a little more awkward to try and explain to someone why I was calling for Ben Affleck and that no, I’m not a prank caller.

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Regardless of whether you are cold calling or cold emailing prospects, it’s vital for the efficiency of the business-to-business lead generation process to clean up your lists. Otherwise, you are wasting valuable time and labor. Not to mention the toll it takes on your outbound lead generation team, especially if they’re incentivised to actually generate leads.

Screening steps are easy. First, cross reference names of potential prospects with the names you are already contracted with. Emailing your current clients about a product or service they already have is awkward at best.

Second, check the email addresses, particularly the domain names, against the email addresses and names in your current book of business. People like to change email addresses for whatever reason. Companies will occasionally change the domain name (the part after the @ in an email address) for every person’s email in the entire organization. That is a lot of wasted time on emails or calls.

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Finally, check the phone numbers. Email addresses can change and people come and go from a company, but if you choose to cold call instead of email, you may find people are less understanding if you don’t recognize their phone number. The other important point in checking phone numbers is if you choose to call people from the same home office, they may all route through the same receptionist. Knowing this, you can either choose to build a fantastic relationship with that receptionist or space your calls out enough that she doesn’t start saying, “Oh. It’s you again.”

Screening your call list for B2B lead generation quickly cuts out hours if not days of work building those leads. The process goes more smoothly and you can focus on building new relationships instead of pivoting the conversation to pretend you were just checking to see if everything was going well.

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