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Finding, filtering and further filtering your prospects is a crucial part of the sales cycle. If you don’t have a list of qualified leads, then you won’t be able to reach out to anyone!

In this post, we’ll talk about how to build your contact list from scratch and then use it to make sure that you have the right people on your radar at all times.

The difference between prospects and leads

There’s a big difference between prospects and leads….

Leads are people who have shown interest in what your company has to offer by clicking through one of your marketing materials like an ad or landing page or filling out a form asking for more information about something specific (e.g., “Buy now!”). Leads may not necessarily become customers but they’re at least showing more interest than just reading something on their own accord; leads are ready-made opportunities for salespeople to capitalize on if they choose to invest their time on them further down the line when there’s been further contact between the seller and buyer (such as during an informational interview).

Sales prospects, however, are people YOU think could be interested in your product or service and could benefit from it. Sales prospects are the foundation of all sales efforts, so it’s important to know how to identify them and keep track of them.

Finding Prospects

As a salesperson, you will always be prospecting for new business.

A great way of finding prospects is by using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This tool allows you to search for companies and individuals on LinkedIn, then pull in their profile information such as company size, industry, etc. You can then add them as a connection so that you can follow them or view their updates (and messages) in real-time.

Another great way of finding prospects is through an online database like Apollo DataSource which pulls from over 20 million records across multiple industries including finance & banking, insurance and retail, among others.

Filtering for the correct role and industry

If you’re not sure about which filter to use, filter more. This is especially true when it comes to the industry and company size. If you have a vague idea of what industry your prospect operates in, then it’s best to filter by industry first, and then move on to other filters like job type or location.

Filtering for the correct company size

With the right information, you can filter your prospects by company size. This is an essential step in finding the right candidates and narrowing down your list to those who are most likely to want to work with you.

There are many ways to start filtering your prospects by company size. For example:

  • Filter based on the number of employees
  • Filter based on revenue generated per year
  • Filter based on funding received

Filtering for the correct buyer persona

In order to find the right prospects, you need to know your ideal buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal customer – it’s a tool used to help businesses understand their customers’ needs and pain points.

Here are some examples of how businesses might use buyer personas:

  • To segment leads into different lists based on various stages of the buying process (e.g., what kind of language should be used in emails that are sent at each stage?)
  • To create content for specific audiences (e.g., if you’re creating an explainer video about one product or service, who would benefit most from watching it?)

Removing bad data

Data quality is the degree to which data matches, is fit for and can be trusted in its intended use. The measure of quality depends on how well a set of data meets the requirements of users and applications. In other words, good data quality means that your data is accurate, consistent, complete and relevant to its purpose (or business processes).

Bad data: There are many reasons why you may have bad data in your database. Maybe it’s inaccurate or out-of-date; maybe it was entered incorrectly; maybe it doesn’t meet the required criteria for what makes up good contact information, or maybe there are multiple entries for each person within your database because they’ve changed their phone number more than once over time.

So how do you identify bad data? Identifying bad contacts takes some time but can be done manually if you know what to look for! One of the easiest ways is by using a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel because then all you need do is sort by name/email address/phone number etc., so any duplicates will show up as highlighted cells with error messages underneath them saying “duplicate” or something similar depending on how much error checking was enabled when creating this document.”

If in doubt filter more

If you are in doubt and want to be extra sure that the data is correct, then go back and consider further filtering your prospects. For example, if there was a prospect who had a few different email addresses in your contact list, but only one phone number for each of those email addresses, then perhaps you should filter out all of their other email addresses and just have one email address with a single phone number for them. By filtering these prospects out of your list (while not removing them from their records), you will be able to have more confidence that the information about that prospect is correct when it comes time for them to buy, renew or upgrade their subscription at some point in the future.


In the end, there are many ways to find more qualified prospects. But the key takeaway is that you should always be filtering your prospect data so that you’re only looking at the best of the best. This will help you save time in finding and filtering out bad leads—which means more time spent on sales!

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