In talking with sales professionals, I often hear a few methodologies around building a prospecting list; some have named accounts (50+ accounts assigned to them that is their sole business development focus), some have territories or industry niches, and many others claim to have the world as their market.

No matter what your company’s ethos is when it comes to assigning accounts, identifying how you are connected should be your very first endeavor. Here are 3 ways to build a targeted list of companies and decision makers to prospect:

1.  Identify what companies are already represented in your 1st degree network. 

  • From the dropdown in the search box choose company, leave the box empty and click the magnify glass. This will bring up all 7.5+ million companies on LinkedIn.
  • Choose 1st degree on the left hand side and see a list of all the companies represented in your 1st degree connections.
  • Drill down by location, industry and company sized based.
  • Right click on the company name and open in a new tab (two finger click on a mac), click on 1st degree connections on the company page and view all the people that can guide you or potentially offer an internal introduction to the right decision makers within their organization.
  • Because you are 1st degree connection you have access to their email and sending a direct message, so simply reach out and ask for a phone call.

2. Visit the LinkedIn company pages of the clients that you would like more of in your sales funnel.

  • Type in the company name in the search box and either choose the page from the dropdown or click the magnify glass and choose from list.
  • Look at “people also viewed” on the bottom right hand side and pick a few companies similar to your client that you would like to add to the very top of your sales funnel.
  • Click through to the new prospects company page and see how you are connected.
  • If you have 1st degree connections, great go back to step 1. If not, identify if you have 2nd degree connections and click through.
  • Filter on the left and identify who within that organization you would like to meet and click the green hyper link below their name to identify who you know that could make an introduction and use the following template… Dear Friend,
    I hope this note finds you well. I noticed that you are connected to XXX at XXX. I was wondering if you would kindly provide an introduction for me. If you could copy us both in an email or LinkedIn message I can take it from there. To make it easier for you, I have included a short paragraph below that you are welcome to copy and paste.

    Also, please feel free to look through my connections, I am happy to make introductions for you as well.

    Thanks so much!

    I would like to introduce you to Brynne Tillman, CEO of Social Sales Link. I thought it might make sense for the two of you to connect and investigate how you might work together. Brynne helps sales professionals build their pipeline, reduce the sales cycle and close more business through leveraging the power of LinkedIn. Brynne’s LinkedIn programs have made a significant impact on the way professionals are growing their business. Brynne will be contacting you in the next couple of days, please take her call; I believe it will be well worth your time.
    If you would like to schedule a call with Brynne, here is her calendar or you can reach out to Brynne directly: | 888.775.5262 x 700 

3. Similar to step 2, visit the profile of your client’s decision makers and influencers with whom you have worked.

  • From your client’s profile, look at the right hand side and view both “People also viewed” and “People similar to”.
  • Hover over one that may be of interest, right click open in new tab.
  • If they are a 2nd degree connection, scroll through “How you are connected” and choose a common connection.
  • Request an introduction using the above template

Always offer to make introductions to your network as well!

Sometimes developing a quality list of prospects is an overwhelming task, but if you follow these three tips, building that list can be fast, simple and targeted.

Please share in comments what you do to develop a powerful list of prospects.