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How do you build B2B data lists?

There are six key steps to building B2B data lists to grow your business. 

Step 1: Identify your TAM

Using the methods described in our Total Addressable Market page, calculate your TAM. For best results, I recommend using the bottom-up or value-theory approaches.

Or alternatively, use Cognism's free TAM calculator - click below to get started.

How do you build B2B data lists
Step 2: Segment your TAM by your Unique Value Propositions (UVP)

This step requires you to split your TAM into smaller sections. At Cognism, we segment our TAM calculations by our Unique Value Propositions (UVP). These take the form of the different industry verticals we wish to target - for example, marketing, tech or recruitment.

The end result of this step is that instead of having one giant list, you’ll have several smaller lists for each of your target industries.

Step 3: Segment the industry lists by company size

Now you’ll have to get even more granular. Take your industry lists and split them into even smaller lists, based on company size. We follow this “company size guide” at Cognism: At the end of this step, you will have many separate B2B data lists, split into industry and company size categories.

Company Description

Number of Employees

SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses)






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Step 4: Build out a list of buyers

The next step is to identify the total audience of buyers inside each company. However, don’t just look for the C-suite! You need to find buying influencers as well as decision-makers.

Remember this useful fact: while 64% of the C-suite has final sign-off, 81% of employees outside of the C-suite influence purchasing decisions. A good place to start is to sort prospects into groups divided by job title. For instance, you should build out a list of buyers for each company, including the CEO, Directors, Heads and Managers.

These are the number of people you need to locate per company size:

Company Description

Number of Employees







Step 5: Enrich your B2B data lists

Once you’ve locked down your B2B data lists, you need to go one step further. You need to ensure that the data you hold is 100% correct and up-to-date.

Technology will help you here. Platforms such as Cognism can automatically enrich your data, filling in any missing gaps and removing duplications. When you hand over your B2B data lists to your salespeople, you must be confident that the information at their fingertips is accurate and current.

Check out this post on: How can you keep your B2B data fresh for more insights into data enrichment.

Step 6: Filter your lists using sales triggers

For best results when you outreach to your buyers, segment your lists even further using sales triggers.

A sales trigger is any event or occurrence which creates an opening for a sale. These are some of the most common sales triggers you’ll encounter: 

  • When a manager is promoted to Head of Department.
  • When an employee leaves one company and joins another.
  • When a business relocates to a new office in a new city.
  • When an organisation secures a funding round from investors. 

Here’s a practical example for you. You may have a list of Sales Directors and Team Leaders for your target accounts - but only sales triggers will highlight which of them were hired in the last 6 months and so may be looking to review suppliers, implement processes and bring in new tools.

By adding a chronographic element to your B2B data lists, you’ll be able to pinpoint when a particular prospect on your list would be most likely to buy. 

Again, technology can assist you here. Cognism’s all-in-one globally compliant prospecting platform incorporates the following sales triggers:

  • Location Move
  • Job Leave
  • Company Acquisition
  • Company Event Appearance
  • Job Join
  • Company Funding 
  • Company IPO

Be B2B data smart

The last two steps are by far the most important. Building a list of B2B prospects isn’t hugely difficult, but your list will be useless if it isn’t accurate and timely. You want your salespeople to have the best ammunition when they go into battle; an enriched B2B data list, filtered with sales triggers, is the best you can give them!

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