Double Your Database

Sometimes your database just doesn’t give you the leads you need. If so, it’s time you started drumming up some hotter prospects by cleansing your current list and sourcing new contacts from outside sources.

Purchase a database 

A highly effective way to generate new, quality leads for your business, is to purchase the contact details of prospects you can market to. You can acquire databases either by, a) approaching a list broker or b) approaching another business in your industry and securing those prospects on their list who can be defined as ‘non-buyers’ (more on this later).

Using a list broker

There are thousands of list brokers on the internet and while they each differ on price and the amount of databases they have access to, they all fundamentally serve the same purpose: providing access to business or consumer lists for use in direct marketing.

The information they provide will depend on which broker you use and how much you pay, however, the kind of data you will have access to can be used for: direct mail marketing, telemarketing, fax, email and SMS marketing. If you find a good list broker, you should be able to describe exactly the kind of customers you are looking for and they will provide you with the contact details of a list of people who match that description.

Once they’ve identified the type of people you’d like to contact, you have two options. You can either buy the database from the broker, in which case, the contacts’ details are yours to use as often as you like. Or, you can rent the list, whereby you use the details once only and are not permitted to use them again (brokers have systems in place to ensure one-time use).

The upside of using a list broker is that they do all the searching for you and can provide you with highly detailed information about a contact. This can even include comprehensive responses from self-completed questionnaires on lifestyle, income, geographical location, purchasing habits/intentions and other valuable data.

When you brief a broker on the type of customer you are aiming to target, they will tell you how many people are on their list, called a ‘list count’ and will give you a price as to how much this data will cost you. You can also look at the types of lists already compiled and available, which are grouped into categories like, ‘Young Families and New Parents’, ‘Working Mothers’ and even ‘High Net Worth & Affluent Consumers’.

Run a Google search for ‘list brokers’ and choose one which suits your particular needs.

Buy a database from another business

Like most businesses, there are probably contacts on your database whose details you’ve captured from some source or other, yet are people who haven’t actually made a purchase from you. These kinds of contacts can be extracted from a database by running a search and defining the search criteria as ‘no purchase’.


Most businesses that are proactive about their marketing and lead generation have contacts like this on their database. Perhaps you ran a competition and a prospect entered, you captured their details on your CRM system, but they never actually ever came into your store and bought anything. If you don’t currently have people like this on your database – you should! Running a competition to generate new leads and capture potential customers’ details is a great way to develop your database.

Given that all businesses have contacts like this on their database, you could search for other businesses in your industry, in your area and approach them with an offer to buy their ‘no purchase’ list. You can probably offer them a lower price per contact than you’d pay a list broker, however you should check that their database has recently been cleansed, so that you’re not purchasing contacts whose details have changed.

The benefit of purchasing direct from another similar business in your area is that you know the people on their list are interested in the kinds of products and services you sell. So, with a strong offer and excellent service your new list could well be persuaded to purchase from you, even if they haven’t yet purchased from your competitor.

Maintaining your new database

Once you have your new list of potential prospects, you should enter them in your CRM database. Because your contacts are the sales pipeline of your organization, managing and maintaining them effectively is extremely important.  In fact, a poorly maintained database will lead to inaccurate targeting and a waste of marketing resources. To avoid this, you should regularly cleanse your database, or if you don’t have the time or resources to do this yourself, you can recruit the list cleansing services of a third party to help you get the most out of your customer and prospect databases.

If you choose to cleanse your database in-house, you should cleanse, verify and enhance each contact’s file. You do this by contacting people on your list to ensure all the information you have on them is correct and up-to-date. This will result in a database which can be used with confidence – where the data on it is relevant, the contacts’ details are correct and the sales opportunities are current.