How to Build a B2B Contacts List for an ABM Campaign

October 30, 2023

Account-based marketing (ABM) may seem like a rising star in the B2B marketing space, but this outbound approach has been on top demand gen leaders’ radar for years. The only difference is that with the evolution of better tech and its promising business results, ABM has become its own recognized category. 

ABM can increase your revenue and strengthen your relationships with current customers. But there’s one thing that stops many businesses from even getting started -- creating a B2B contacts list. While ABM focuses on a target list of accounts pursued by marketing and sales teams, most companies still need to get in front of an increasingly large buying committee (up to 6.8 people are involved in most B2B sales cycles). That means you’ll need a list of real humans within your target accounts to spark conversations with, especially for your sales team.

If developing a contact database of decision makers is the only thing that’s been holding you back from getting started with ABM, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will explain why a contact list is important and how you can get started building your own B2B contacts list. 

Step Zero: Do You Understand Your Ideal Customer?

Creating (or buying) a large list of B2B decision makers and activating against them can be a solid tactic to jumpstart pipeline creation for your company, however, you should not overlook a critical step that will help save you time and money. Understanding the personas and attributes of companies that are truly a good fit for your product is a key component of building a good list. Grabbing as many business contacts as you can in the hopes that a spray-and-pray blast to your email list will generate opportunities will lead to a wasted budget, so you're better off taking a step back to focus on your ICP (ideal customer profile).

One easy way to determine your ICP is to look at the firmographic attributes of both your website visitors and current customers. What are common job titles, company sizes, and technologies used by the people engaging with your website? What do these same attributes look like in your current customers? Once you have that data, you are ready to go find the appropriate contacts to build your database and email lists.

So..What is a B2B Contacts List & Why Do You Need One?

One of the main differences between ABM and traditional b2b marketing campaigns is that ABM requires more alignment and strategy in the beginning. And if you’ve never run an ABM campaign before or seen the results it delivers, this can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. And creating a contacts list of decision-makers is one such task.

A B2B contact list for lead generation consists of contacts who are likely to buy what you're selling. Sure, you can purchase a list from B2B contact providers, but you can also build your own. While building your own list may be a bit more time-consuming, it's worth the effort. Your own list will bring results that you won’t get from typical lead-generation campaigns or providers. According to TOPO, a traditional funnel may close just 0.25% to 1.5% of leads targeted, but an account-based funnel helps companies close around 11% of accounts targeted. 

The email list also matters because you’re not trying to reach just any contacts, you’re going for targeted contacts within carefully selected accounts. The marketing and sales departments should work together to qualify these contacts right from the beginning to deliver the greatest return. Consider having sales teams review the official email list before any campaigns are fired off. 

3 Steps to Create Your B2B Contacts List

Since creating your B2B contacts database takes more time and effort, it’s important to go into it with a plan to succeed. Here are three steps you can take to find the B2B data you need.

1. Create your account journey map

This first point may sound obvious but it’s the basis for creating your list. If you don’t know what type of accounts you’re targeting, you’re doomed to fail right from the start. You need to take the time to create your account journey map

With this DIY template, you’re able to get a full picture of each specific stage and map out the entire customer journey — from unaware to post-sale — to gain general metrics on how your accounts are faring overall. To do so, simply take our definitions and examples of each customer stage and align them with your own experience. Or, better yet, create your own in the last column to build a journey that works for you. 

2.  Make a list of your target accounts

Once you have a clear picture of your target accounts, you want to find every contact on the buying committee for those accounts. The best place to start is by looking at your existing B2B data and figure out which accounts have the best chance of converting to customers. 

Of course, this begs the question, how do you know which accounts are likely to convert? Here are a few ways you can begin to identify this:

Look at your existing CRM: Chances are, you have plenty of accounts that never made it through the pipeline or lapsed customers you could contact again. This is often the easiest place to get started.

Find customers you have the closest proximity to: Proximity doesn’t just refer to the contact’s location. This could be an account that has a relationship with an existing customer of yours. This opens up a lot of avenues that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise. 

Contacts that engage with your company online: Who is interacting with your company on social media? Who’s visiting your site? Which contacts from an email list are interacting with CTAs? Using social listening tools or deanonymizing website traffic will likely uncover a number of accounts you may have overlooked. 

3. Check and validate contact details

Now that you have your target account list, it’s time to do your homework. Make note of any decision-makers associated with each account. This will influence your messaging and how you present your company and products to this account. 

LinkedIn is a good place to start this process. Using the advanced search feature, you can research individual companies and figure out who the major stakeholders are. 

Keep in mind, the more information you have on your prospects the more you increase your chances of success. So be thorough in your research! 

Free tools are fine but at some point, LinkedIn may not be able to provide you the nitty-gritty information you’re looking for. RollWorks has a database with over 18 million accounts and 320 million contacts. Instead of just scratching the surface with your research, you’ll get access to reliable B2B data and high-quality leads. 

Next Steps: Running B2B Ads Against Your Contact List 

We know all too well how time-consuming it can be to create a new ABM campaign. But the good news is that it will actually save you time in the long run. That’s because you won’t be wasting energy and resources on out-of-date lead generation campaigns that result in leads that have little to no chance of converting. 

Another component of a successful ABM campaign is reaching your target audience of decision-makers with ads. Ads facilitate in guiding your contacts through the buyer journey, by sending them relevant messaging at the right time. Facebook and Instagram ads allow you to get in front of your contact list where they spend a lot of their time, browsing on social media. Not to mention, you'll be increasing your overall brand awareness. 

If you need to navigate the world of account-based platforms, RollWorks has the resources you need. We can ensure that you get connected to the right accounts and close more deals at a faster rate. To learn more, feel free to get in touch with one of our sales reps or request a demo

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