Really Want to Generate More B2B Sales Leads?


Some important news is that the online directory of business contact information, Jigsaw, announced recently that they will offer no-cost access to close to a million business records in its data base, including all the address information and other data including size, geography, and industry category. Access to this free company data has a couple of stipulations, such as a user has to register, and the data cannot be resold.

For business-to-business lead generation, data base direct marketing is a tactic with proven results. It seems that the opportunity to gain free access to such a large amount of company info would make a lot of sense. However, as a consultant with a specialty in business-to-business sales leads, it may surprise you to hear that I’m not very excited about this info give-away. This is because companies don’t make purchases. People make purchases.

In order to be optimally successful in your direct marketing lead generation efforts, you’ll have to concentrate on people in business – those who actually recommend or make purchasing decisions about your kind of service or product, and those who actually use them.

Generating leads by making cold calls to companies is needlessly expensive. Calling up and saying, “Can I please talk to the person who oversees…” may just be a waste of time, requiring far too much time.

Similarly, send mail to: “The person who…” may be better than nothing, still you are risking the waste of valuable marketing effort by failing to get past the mail room. This is particularly true when contacting larger companies.

Again, just sending an email to “” which asks the recipient to forward the info to the correct person is going against the odds, which are slim to none.

So, back to Jigsaw. What is the motivation for offering free access to its company data base? As consulting, publishing, and research company InfoCommerce Group reported to ICG Weekly Perspectives newsletter, Jigsaw is not giving away the relevant names at the companies – although they do have them. Jigsaw can help put these two important factors with their proprietary data cleanse application, but this of course is not a free service. If you want on-going verification of your data, and the elimination of outdated records, this too is possible, for a fee.

Driving customer visits and sales using loss leaders is a proven tactic. Staples has done this to improve B2B sales at its stores and Web site by promoting lower prices on key items. Perhaps Jigsaw should give this tactic a try?