9 Steps to Building a Lead List with an Outsourced Web Researcher

OK, so you know how important it is to build a high quality, targeted lead list for your email campaigns, but is the thought of doing all that research by yourself beyond daunting? If so, there’s a simple answer: outsource the job to a web researcher! Not sure where to start? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to identify your ideal target, hire the right professional, and start building your lead list.

Step 1: Identify who you want to target

For your campaign, you’ll want to target companies that match your Ideal Customer Profile. Don’t have one yet? Stop reading this and develop one now! Here’s a good place to start:


The narrower you can make the target list, the more specific and relevant you can be in your messaging. Of course, if you get too narrow it may get cost prohibitive to do the research, so striking a balance is key.

Step 2: Set up a Google sheet to capture the information

Google sheets are a perfect medium for collecting data from outsourced research. Just identify the information you want to collect and make columns for each. You should also consider adding a Status column to indicate any issues or questions with each row.

Step 3: Use LinkedIn’s search to find 20-40 of them

OK, I bet you’re saying “now wait a minute - I thought the outsourcer was going to do this part!” Well, before you’re ready to hire someone, you need to be able to clearly articulate what you want them to find. And as you’ll soon see, it’s very hard to anticipate all of the edge cases you’ll have to provide instructions for until you go through this exercise.

For example, if we are looking for VPs of Marketing at software companies near San Francisco, we can use the advanced search on LinkedIn

Depending on what you’re searching for, you may need to upgrade your subscription. As you contemplate LinkedIn’s pricing, you may begin to get a better understanding of why they were able to sell to Microsoft for $26.2 billion. Spring for the Sales plan and you should have everything you need.

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Step 4: Create precise instructions

Create a Google doc with instructions for how to do the research, informed by all your hard work in Step 3. It is really important to create precise instructions in order to get a good result. How precise? Here’s an example I created in the past to find the business leader of marketing agencies


Step 5: Advertise the job

Now you’ll need to find some outsourcer candidates, so you’ll need to pick a job site that specializes in freelancers. I have had good luck with Upwork (formerly Odesk) in the past, but there are tons of alternatives these days.

In terms of posting your job description, no need to get too fancy. Here’s the entire description I used for a project in the past:

Step 6: Choose 2-3 finalists

You should expect to have a lot of people applying for your job very quickly. Wait a day or so and then pare the list of people down to 2-3 finalists based on their track record of successful projects. Avoid over-optimizing on price and consider some of the higher bidders if they have excellent track records on the site.

Step 7: Have the finalists do a test project

Hire each of the finalists at their standard rate and have them do an hour of work on the job. They should have all the tools they need to do advanced LinkedIn searches, email lookups, etc. After you get their work back, you can decide which one you want to hire. If you like all of them you now have multiple outsourcers you can work with!

Step 8: Have your new web researcher build a list

Make sure to review the data as it is being added to the Google sheet to make sure everything looks OK.

Step 9: Profit!

I’ve talked to a lot of people about this process in the past and learned it’s intimidating to many of them. I hope I’ve been able to demystify things a bit with this post. If you need a way to run your cold email campaign all the way from start to closed deal, give Propeller CRM a try free for 14 days!

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