Written by Mark Colgan, CRO at TaskDrive

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Did you know that 97% of prospects aren’t actively looking to purchase a product or service? Apparently, there is really no point in sending sales messages to hundreds of people just to get no reply.

The concept of lead generation has become omnipresent. Everyone is talking about it, writing guides, posting on social media… But unfortunately, traditional lead generation doesn’t always work out the way salespeople want.

Just because someone matches your buyer persona doesn’t mean they are actually interested in buying what you have to offer. Therefore, instead of building lists based on decision-makers’ job titles, you should focus on triggers and signals.

What is lead sourcing?

Lead sourcing is the process of building a list of leads without previous marketing activities.

It includes finding the source of targeted leads and extracting them into a CRM system (or a spreadsheet). Usually, if the source is good enough, finding the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your leads shouldn’t be a problem.

According to my experience, only 3% of leads are ready to buy now, while 6-7% are open to making a purchase, it is crucial that you understand various stages of the buyer’s journey and offer value without expecting anything in return.

In other words, you really need to understand your ideal customer profiles, buyer personas and what challenges they face in their day to day role. That will help you find triggers and signals more easily, and avoid shooting in the dark.

But how are you supposed to incorporate lead sourcing into your sales practice? Well, it is essential to build dynamic lists and refresh them with new data on an ongoing basis.

Pro tip: LinkedIn remains the best database for finding the most up to date information on prospects. If you combine these playbooks with LinkedIn, you will be able to identify a number of decision makers who are ready to make a purchase... or at least consider this option.

Playbook 1: The Social Expansion

Social Expansion helps you identify thought leaders or influencers among your target audience, and build a list of those who have interacted with them through comments.

From there, you can start a conversation on whatever platform you monitor, including LinkedIn, Quora, Slack, Facebook groups, and so on. Always keep in mind that there are a number of places where your prospects spend time online.

Here’s a step by step guide to the Social Expansion Playbook:

  • Find a handful of influencers in your target audience and look for posts that received solid engagement that is relevant to your audience and solution you offer.
lead sourcing playbooks
  • Save the links to these posts in a spreadsheet (aim for around 30 links)
  • Run the Phantombuster LinkedIn Post Commenters and extract all the names
  • Deduce these names in a spreadsheet until you have a clean list of all the people that have engaged with the post. Make sure you keep the name of the influencer and the post topic so you can reference this in your outreach
  • Find the contact details for these names. You could use: Hunter.io, LeadIQ or GetProspect

Now you have a clean list of leads with contact details you’ll need to craft your first cold email. Ensure that you:

  • Reference the post you saw them comment on (even in the subject line)
  • Connect the dots between the comment and the problem you solve
  • Ask them if they are experiencing the challenge or problem mentioned above
  • See if they are interested in learning how your solution helps overcome their challenge
  • Don’t pitch your product as the goal is to find out if they have a need at this stage
  • Ensure that you personalize follow-up emails based on their challenges and objectives

Each week or month follow the same process for new posts and different influencers within your target audience. You can outsource data enrichment research to a VA or a company like TaskDrive.

Bonus

Take a screenshot of their activity on LinkedIn and include that in the email - this will take more time, but worth it if your LTV is higher.

lead sourcing playbooks
Wanna discover all the ways you can play with ultra-personalized images in cold emails?

Playbook 2: The In Market

With the In Market Playbook, you can identify prospects who have expressed interest in a competitor or non-competing, complementary solution. They will most likely be interested in your product as well.

When your prospects upvote a certain product, you can start the conversation about your own service or product that is relevant to their interests.

Here’s a step by step guide to the In Market Playbook:

  • Visit Product Hunt and search for competing or complementary products to yours (in this example we are going to target remote workers / people interested in remote work)
lead sourcing playbooks
  • Review the products and check the comments to make sure these are the right audience. If they are, save the link to the product in a spreadsheet
  • Run the Product Hunt Upvoter Extractor and extract all the people who have upvoted these products
  • Add these leads and deduce these names in a spreadsheet until you have a clean list of all the people that have engaged with the post.

Some leads on this list may be friends or supporters of the makers, so they may not be an ideal customer for you (you can overcome this in your messaging by not being assumptive).

  • With your clean list, run it back through Phantombuster using the Product Hunt Profile Scraper
  • Now you have additional information on each profile you can find the contact details for these names. You could use: Hunter.io, LeadIQ or GetProspect

The rest remains the same as with the previous playbook.

Note

Whilst you can automate these steps, I always recommend having a human check over the email addresses, formatting of the data and any additional data points you intend on using in your outreach.

Playbook 3: The Currently Hiring

Number three on our list is great at targeting accounts that actively investing in their departments.

For this, use LinkedIn saved searches for key roles within your target audience. This feature will send you alerts when new jobs are posted so you receive a new list of leads to target each week.

Usually, when a team is growing, they often face new challenges, and maybe your solution can help them. Make sure to identify who the hiring manager is and verify their contact details before starting your outbound sequence.

Here’s a step by step guide to the Currently Hiring Playbook:

  • Visit LinkedIn and navigate to “Jobs”, add in the job title that you want to target and apply any filters. In this example, we are targeting HR Directors in the UK who have posted jobs for a HR Manager in the last week (there are 1279 results)
link sourcing playbooks
  • Head over to our good friend Phantombuster and deploy the LinkedIn Search Export. Complete the instructions and make sure you select “Jobs” from the search category.
  • With your exported list you need to locate the Hiring Manager (this won’t always be the person who posted the job. Check the job description to read / search for “report to”)
link sourcing playbooks
  • Click on the LinkedIn Company URL from the spreadsheet and then the “See all XX employees on LinkedIn” on the company page
  • Once that has loaded copy the job title into the search box at the very top. The search results will already be filtered to search within the selected company.
lead sourcing playbooks
  • Find the contact details for these names. You could use: Hunter.io, LeadIQ or GetProspect

Now you have a clean list of leads with contact details you’ll need to craft your first outreach email.

  • Reference the job post on LinkedIn and that you want to find out if they are the hiring manager.
  • Connect the dots between the job role and the problem you solve
  • Ask them if they are experiencing the challenge or problem mentioned above
  • See if they are interested in learning how your solution helps overcome their challenge.
  • Don’t pitch your product here, your goal is to find out if they have a need at this stage

Each week or month follow the same process for new posts and different influencers within your target audience. You can outsource the data enrichment research to a VA or a company like TaskDrive.

I strongly encourage you to have a human verify this information rather than automating the entire process. If you completely automate it, you run the risk of sending the wrong message to an incorrect lead and this may harm your reputation.

Bonus lead sourcing playbooks

The playbooks listed above are our top choices, but there are also other playbooks you can use for lead sourcing.

It’s important to note that most of these playbooks will allow you to build a list of prospects who might be interested in your product or service. However, in most cases, you’ll still need to enrich this data to find contact information or any other data points you want to use in your messaging.

Below are eleven more playbooks that can improve your lead sourcing results.

The Web Scrape playbook

This playbook helps you scrape structured data from websites using web scraping tools such as Grepsr. However, you should keep in mind that some sources will contain contact details while others will not. Therefore, sometimes you may need to use data enrichment tools like Seamless.ai, Clearbit or manually.

The Event Hijack playbook

Certain industry events list out the attendees or exhibitors. And if a company has sent someone to an event, that usually means they are open to meeting new vendors. The Event Hijack allows you to manually research or scrape event-related data.

Another approach to the event hijack is to use social media. Since most events encourage attendees to use hashtags when checking in at the event or sharing content from it, you can use this playbook and a tool like Awario to send alerts to people who engage with the hashtags.

The Competitor playbook

The Competitor Playbook can be used to find your competitors’ social channels and groups to easily identify the decision-makers who are potentially interested in your product or service. Using Phantombuster or another similar tool, you can pull data from these channels or groups and then enrich them.

The New Role playbook

It is common knowledge that when a person starts a new role, they are more likely to make a purchasing decision. You can use LinkedIn to save searches and see when your ideal customers start a new role. Also, locating contact information should be a breeze with Seamless.ai.

The Reverse IP playbook

If a lead is visiting your website, it usually means that they may be interested in your product. With a tool like Albacross, you can easily identify which companies visit your website and then use LinkedIn and LeadIQ to identify the contacts who meet your buyer personas.

The Technology playbook

By knowing when your prospects install technology from platforms such as SimilarTech or Datanyze, you will be one step ahead of your competitors. When prospects install the software, you will be notified so you can research the right persona and learn their contact details. This can be used as a trigger for your outreach especially if you offer a service or complementary product to those platforms.

The Account Update playbook

Finding out when important news or updates occur in your target of existing accounts is extremely important. And to get notified when they do is like a superpower. Using a tool like Owler, you’ll receive these alerts as they happen. You can then use this information to initiate a conversation with your prospects.

The Intent playbook

LeadSift or another similar intent data platform can help you identify prospects who are already talking with your competitors or those who have shown an intent to purchase. By combining this intent data and personalized research, you can start a fruitful conversation with the decision-makers.

The Reviewer playbook

If you are looking for great places to find prospects, you may want to check out review websites like G2, Capterra, and GetApp. The information from such websites will help you understand prospects’ pain points.

Then, you can use Google and LinkedIn to identify the reviewer and personalize your outreach by focusing on their pain points and explaining how your product helps solve them.

The “Show Me the Money” playbook

With Crunchbase, you can save a search with the required filters that shortlist only those companies that fit your ideal customer persona. You can set up daily or weekly alerts to notify you when new companies raise funds.

Next, you should visit LinkedIn profiles and locate the right prospect. However, you should bear in mind that they may have already made the purchase by the time funding is announced.

Ongoing sourcing

So, what should the entire sourcing process look like?

lead sourcing playbooks

It includes the following steps:

  1. Run your playbooks on a regular basis. You can use a couple or more of them depending on your industry and preferred sourcing process.
  2. Once you have collected the information, clean the data and then add it to your email outreach platform. May I suggest lemlist...
  3. Next, you should verify the email addresses to protect your domain.
  4. Of course, there is no effective outreach without personalization. Segment your list of sources into smaller groups so you can craft effective campaigns by personalizing the messages based on the playbooks (triggers and signals).
  5. Once you have all of this set, it is time to run your outbound cadence. You can use just email or a multi-channel approach. For example, you can pre-target the leads by adding them to custom audiences on LinkedIn or Facebook. Then, you can target them with awareness ads before you actually send any outreach message.

Wrap-up

There you go. Those were proven lead sourcing playbooks and a simple process that you can follow step-by-step to up your lead sourcing game. The lead sourcing playbooks listed above have worked for us and quite a few other companies, and we hope they will work for you too.

We would love to see the results you get from using them and help clarify any questions you may have. So, don’t hesitate to share your experiences or other playbooks you have used that we have not listed in this post.

Happy sourcing!