The A-Z of finding business contact information

27 May 2015 Andrew Warren-Payne

Pretty much all B2B sales staff have been in the same position: they know exactly what company they want to sell to, but they either don’t know who they should contact or what their contact details might be. So how can you do it?

We’ve scanned the interwebs many a time ourselves, trying to find the person that matters. To save you some time, we have put together an A-Z list of methods you can start using straight away to find business contact information for your B2B lead generation efforts. Read below and enjoy…

Address books

Let’s start with the obvious. Check both your own and your colleagues’ address books. From this you might not find the exact person, but you may gather details of their coworker (from which you can see the email format, start of the phone number, address etc.)

Services such as Evercontact can help you mine email to augment your address books.

Business directories

Almost every industry has a business directory of some kind, listing companies and professionals within that sphere.

Check them out for nuggets of information.

Companies House

For smaller companies in particular, the company director is likely the one pulling the strings. Check out the incorporation documents and you may be pleasantly surprised.

DueDil (shameless plug)

Of course we’re going to toot our own horn. We’ve got telephone numbers, addresses and company director information all in one place, along with the key Companies House documents that may provide some nuggets of insight.

Try us out on a free trial and be MINDBLOWN.

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Email Permutator

The folks at Distilled have put together a nifty tool using Gmail. Check it out.

Friends and Followerwonk

Is your contact on Twitter? Why not stalk them that way, perhaps even approaching them via ‘friends’ and influencers?

Followerwonk is a great tool to search for contacts via Twitter bios. Aside from this, check out who they follow as this will provide some insight into how you might make an indirect approach.

Guess

For email addresses, try firstname.lastname@domain.com – this often works. Failing that the Email Guesser will provide a list of many different variations.

For telephone numbers, once you have the number of someone in the same office, try varying the last digit. You’ll often get the desk next to the one you’re after and someone will pass the phone over.

Handwritten gestures

Flattery wins. If you know the address (but not the phone number or email), send a handwritten note attached to some interesting item.

Failing creative inspiration, booze often works. Our own Matt Owen used this trick when pitching his songs to rock journalists. By sellotaping a CD and a note to a bottle of vodka, the review would often come in as needed 😉

Intranets

If you have worked at a big company and mastered whatever version of Outlook (or god forbid, Lotus Notes) was being run, you may have found out you can find the contact details of pretty much anyone in the company.

Use this to your advantage. Call up someone else and say, “Hi I’m looking for John Doe, this used to be his number… It’s not? Would you be able to look up his number for me on the Intranet?” You’ll get it after enough attempts.

Jollies

If normal approaches don’t work, throw a jolly (a.k.a. ‘corporate hospitality’) and invite people along. After a cocktail or two, they’ll be happy to give you their card.

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Klout

The social network influence engine that puts Justin Bieber higher than Barack Obama does have its odd use, including sending ‘Perks’ out to particular influencers.

LinkedIn

Connect with someone on LinkedIn, and more often than not you will get their contact info. Simples.

Media pages

Companies are usually happy to share their details on the media page. From this you can scrape email formats, telephone numbers.

News (along with journalists and publishers)

Similar to the above, people are happy to be quoted in news sources.

Here’s another lesser known fact. One side revenue stream for many publishers is their ability to call people up and get them to agree to meet. Many therefore monetise this into ‘roundtables’ and ‘briefing’ packages.

If you can’t get hold of someone, call a commercial bod at a media company and tell them you will pay to have their backside at an event of yours. They usually have teams of people in-house dedicated to this service.

‘Our Team’ pages

Good to find out who’s who, along with details.

Press releases

Like the media pages on which they often live, contact details are given out liberally.

Quora

Ask someone. They might know.

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Rapportive

This brilliant Gmail plugin will help you validate emails as you write them.

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Sales reps

The people most likely to be on the phone, and want to speak to people on the phone. It’s often very easy to find their number online, however they know the game so expect some tough gatekeepers.

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Telephone

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Go on, hit the switchboard and try to blag your way to the decision maker. Two out of the past three UK Prime Ministers have ended up speaking to blaggers, so speaking to the Head of Sales at Big Co should be a piece of cake.

Now, if you happen to get through to Rupert Murdoch and have a rant on my behalf, I’ll personally buy you a magnum of champagne.

Universities (and alumni associations)

You’ll often find universities have contact details stored which other alumni can access. Give it a punt.

Vanity bait

Flatter someone with a list calling them a “Top 10 Influencer” or “The Most Connected Woman in Staines” and you are likely to get their attention.

Wayback Machine

If the website doesn’t have their contact details right now, it doesn’t mean they were never there. Use the Wayback Machine and see what the website looked like previously.

(e)X employees

If you can’t speak to a current employee, find a past one who has contact details.

Yellow Pages

Sometimes the old ways work well.

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Zoominfo…

…and such sites have data you can buy.

What’s your secret talent?

Don’t be shy – let us know below!