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Mailing List Selections: Put Yourself In Your Prospect's Shoes

Tue, 05/04/2016

When should you choose to select your list by both employee size and annual turnover?

Generally our advice is not to do this. Pick just one.

Choose employee size if you are selling something relevant for companies whose business relies on having a lot of staff eg, payroll software, health and safety services, absentee management software, internal communications consulting, catering kit for staff restaurants.

Choose turnover for everything else. If you really must.

Let's say you are buying a list of HR managers, it is largely irrelevant to specify that each company must have 15+ employees. Would you expect your prospect company to hire an HR manager to manage the HR issues for 14 people? It is likely that the MD and his assistant would handle this himself. But there are holding companies who run all the HR and finance for a group of companies. The group may have 200 employees as a whole, but the HR manager works for the holding company which employs 10 people. And by putting that 15+ employees restriction in, your mailing list excludes those group HR managers. There is no accounting for complex corporate structures.

This selection strategy works if you are certain that your mailing list company is selling you people with the job title HR manager, rather than 'managers responsible for HR' which will almost certainly include director's PAs and office managers. Electric Marketing only offers lists by job title. If you ask for HR managers, you will have a list of HR managers.

It is a good idea to ask yourself if you really need to limit your campaign by company size. If you have specified a job title which is only likely to feature among the largest companies, say Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Facilities Manager or Head of Business Intelligence, it is largely irrelevant to specify that the companies must have annual sales of £10m+. Put yourself in the shoes of the managing director of a company with annual sales of under £10m? Would you hire a CSR manager? The fact that a company has a dedicated CSR manager is a clear indication that they are a large company with a CSR budget.

It is only by looking at company accounts that mailing list companies can get info on company financials and companies with a turnover below £5m are not legally required to put the number of employees they have in their company accounts. Companies House requires simple unaudited accounts from small companies. By specifying turnover, you will exclude all the companies which do not publish their UK sales figures: US companies tend to publish a figure for European sales and do not split it out by country. By selecting by turnover your mailing list will exclude these multinational companies.

If you really must target companies by their size, select companies by turnover. Mailing list companies are more likely to have this information. And as a reliable guide to available budgets, look at the job titles of the companies you are targeting. If a company has hired three marketing managers to manage and spend its marketing budget, it is likely to be a decent-sized budget.