Crafting Custom Lists: The Underrated Key to Authentic Business Engagement

Research and Build Your own Lead List: 5 Reasons to Leverage the Power of Lead Research

Discover the magic of crafting your own lists: Understand why creating your own lists, based on genuine research, is the secret weapon for businesses aiming for authentic and effective engagement.

Oct 2023

The allure of quick fixes and prepackaged solutions is undeniable. Everybody wants to look good, but nobody wants to go to the gym. Have the patience to do the right sales tactics.

Too often I have been asked about buying lists. If you don’t have a list, then you want to be doing the research.

The key to lasting success lies not in shortcuts, but in the painstaking, methodical, and often overlooked art of building your own lists.

“Do your own research. Build your own list." Here's why.

1. The Authenticity Advantage in Building your own Lists

Building your own list isn't just about data collection; if it would be only about data you could buy secondary research. It's about authenticity.

When you craft a list based on your own research, based on your ideal customers, it reflects a genuine effort to understand the nuances of your target market. Unlike off-the-shelf scraped database records, your list will be a true representation of your specific needs, and the needs of your prospects, ensuring a better fit between your offerings and your audience. This is the pathway to message audience fit—the alignment between a business's message and its audience.

2. The Power of Personalization When you Build your own Lists

In the age of AI and big data, personalization is a necessity. A self-curated list allows for better segmentation of your Total Addressable Market (TAM). This means more effective, tailored campaigns that resonate deeply with your audience.

After all, everyone wants results, but few are willing to put in the tailored effort to achieve them, much like the desire to look good without hitting the gym.

3. Embracing the Trenches by Researching your own Lists

Yes, building your list is time-consuming. Yes, you'll face rejection. But diving deep into the trenches, engaging on platforms and forums where your customers are, offers a goldmine of insights.

You'll pick up phrases, trends, and pain points that no third-party research can provide. This in-the-field learning not only refines your messaging but also keeps your business agile, adapting to real-time market shifts.

That one sentence that your customers use you picked up while doing the research for your list? That is true “Voice of the Customer” (VOC) worth millions.

Being in the trenches, doing the research, is just responsible business practice. And it’s the way to being customer-centric.

4. The Reward of Resilience for doing the Rep’s

Despite the initial challenges, the fruits of your labor will be evident when you connect with that ideal customer profile. They won't just be a transaction; they'll be advocates who understand and appreciate the value you bring to the table.

I know it's disheartening because you have to invest all that time to find these people, then you have to message them all, before that you’ve got to find some details about them to make the message personal and relevant, most don't reply, then you send a follow up, most people don't show up to the meeting… and cold outbound becomes disheartening pretty quick.

Yet four months in and the one right person thinks your solution is the best thing ever invented since bottled water. That’s the reward.

The reward is now you have a customer that is 100% your ICP and easier to work with because they understand the value you bring to the table. And since they get 100% the value, they are happy to talk about your solution with their peers and happy to make an introduction.

5. A Culture of Customer-Centricity

Beyond the tangible benefits, building your own list fosters a deeper culture of customer-centricity. Your team becomes more than just salespeople; they become problem-solvers, addressing genuine customer needs, and innovating based on real feedback.

This is the power of building your own list, segmenting your own TAM, and qualifying to the max out of your leads.


In a world saturated with data, the true power lies in authentic, hands-on research. It's a call for businesses to roll up their sleeves, embrace the grind, and rediscover the power of genuine engagement. For you, the innovators, the trailblazers, and the game-changers, my message is clear:

Do your own research. Build your own list. The rewards – both tangible and intangible – are well worth the effort.

How does building your own list differ from purchasing a ready-made list from a vendor?

Purchasing a ready-made list often provides generic data that's not tailored to your business's unique needs. Building your own list, on the other hand, is a methodical process rooted in genuine research. It ensures that the contacts are relevant to your offerings, align with your ideal customer profile, and are more likely to engage with your messaging. It's the difference between casting a wide, generic net and precision fishing.

How do I ensure that the leads I gather through my own research are qualified and relevant?

The beauty of doing your own research is that you control the criteria. Start by defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Dive deep into forums, platforms, and publications where your potential customers are. Monitor their pain points, discussions, and feedback. By being in the trenches, you can gather leads that perfectly align with your offering, ensuring higher relevance and conversion.

Isn't building your own list time-consuming? Is the ROI truly worth the effort?

While building your own list can be time-intensive initially, the ROI in the long run is significant. A custom list ensures higher engagement, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction. Remember, it's not just about quantity but quality. Engaging with a smaller, tailored list can yield better results than blasting messages to a large, generic list.

How can businesses maintain the relevance of their lists over time?

Market dynamics and customer needs evolve over time. It's crucial to periodically revisit and refresh your list. Regularly engage with your audience, solicit feedback, and stay updated with industry trends. This not only ensures the relevance of your list but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and customer-centricity.

Ready? Set. Growth!
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