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4 min read

The Right (and Wrong) Way to Leverage Paid Lists and Sales Intelligence Tools

If you’re like most companies, your website has seen a significant drop in traffic in the past couple years. You used to get a steady stream of visitors through organic search results. Now, it feels like you're constantly scraping the bottom of the search engine barrel.

Google algorithm shifts, changes in search behavior, and AI platforms have changed the game.

Like a domino effect, the drop in web traffic has made finding new leads a challenge. Many engineering companies have turned to paid lists and sales intelligence tools to make up for the lost traffic.

While this approach shouldn’t be the end all be all, there is a place for paid lists and sales intelligence tools in your B2B marketing strategy if used correctly. Tools like ZoomInfo offer a wealth of contact information; however, they are most effective with a strategic approach.

In this article, we’ll outline a step-by-step approach to leveraging paid lists, share common mistakes to avoid, and explore different sales intelligence tools available.


Engineer Your Pipeline The Right (and Wrong) Way to Leverage Paid Lists and Sales Intelligence Tools


A Strategic Approach to Paid Lists and Sales Intelligence Tools


There isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy, but here's a multi-step approach to leverage paid list and sales intelligence tools effectively when engineering your marketing strategy.


Define Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

  • Before diving into any tool, clearly define your ideal customer profile. This includes firmographics (company size, industry), technographic details (specific technologies used), and even buyer personas with titles and decision-making roles.

Choose the Right Tool

Build Targeted Lists

  • Don't just buy a pre-built list. Leverage the powerful filters offered by these tools to create highly targeted lists that align perfectly with your ICP.
  • Go beyond basic firmographics. Look for platforms that provide technographic data. This reveals the specific software and tools companies use, allowing you to tailor your message to their existing tech stack and pain points.
  • Many paid lists offer intent data, which indicates a company's active research interests. If a prospect is researching solutions related to your offering, it's prime time to connect.

Focus on Data Enrichment for Existing Leads

  • While paid lists can be tempting for finding entirely new contacts, their effectiveness can be limited. Paid lists often lack the depth and accuracy needed for successful outreach. Leverage them for data enrichment instead. Match phone numbers, email addresses, or other identifiers from your current leads against paid lists. This can help fill in missing data points and confirm existing information.
  • Do Not Chase New Leads: Chasing a high lead count is a trap. Focus on acquiring accurate, up-to-date data for qualified leads who align with your ideal customer profile (ICP).

Prioritize Data Quality

  • Data quality is paramount. Look for providers with robust verification processes and regularly updated information. Clean your lists regularly and remove outdated or bounced leads.
  • Do Not Neglect Data Hygiene: Paid lists aren't perfect. Data can become outdated quickly. 

Personalize Your Outreach

  • All contacts should be emailed initially through a one-to-one sales email versus through marketing automation. Be sure to give clear opt-outs since these contacts have not opted into your email communication. Contacts should only be added to marketing automation tools once they opt-in to avoid issues with your email sending reputation. 

  • Reference a recent piece of content they downloaded (indicating interest), mention a specific challenge their industry faces, or tailor your message to their existing tech stack (using technographic data).

  • Avoid Spray and Pray Outreach: These tools shouldn't be an excuse for mass emailing generic marketing messages. Without proper segmentation and personalization, outreach becomes spammy and yields poor results, often hurting your email reputation.
  • Do Not Ignore Compliance: Blasting emails to those who haven't opted-in can lead to hefty fines and damage your brand and email sending reputation. Respect regulations like GDPR and CCPA.

Integrate with Marketing Automation

  • Ensure your chosen tool integrates seamlessly with your marketing automation platform. This allows for automated lead nurturing with personalized content based on interests and behavior.

Utilize Lead Scoring

  • Many tools offer lead scoring features. Assign points based on firmographics, technographic data, and engagement levels. This helps prioritize leads with the highest conversion potential.

Track and Analyze Results

  • Regularly monitor the performance of your campaigns. Analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to identify what's working and what needs tweaking.

Focus on Building Relationships

  • Remember, these tools are a means to an end. The goal is to build trust and establish long-term relationships with potential customers. Don't bombard prospects with sales pitches. Provide valuable content, industry insights, or educational resources that demonstrate your expertise and build trust.

By following these steps, you can leverage paid list and sales intelligence tools to generate high quality leads, personalize outreach for better engagement, and ultimately drive sales qualified leads (SQLs) for your engineering company.

Choosing the Right Sales Intelligence Tool


ZoomInfo reigns supreme in the B2B contact data space, but there are several strong alternatives worth considering, especially for industrial marketers. Here are some popular contenders:

Feature-Rich Powerhouses:

  • A strong competitor with a focus on sales automation and enrichment features. It boasts a vast contact database and integrates seamlessly with popular CRMs.
  • LeadIQ: Offers a free plan with basic contact information and integrates with marketing automation platforms. For engineering and tech marketers, their "technographic data" can be valuable.
  • Cognism: Similar to ZoomInfo in terms of data comprehensiveness, Cognism focuses on unrestricted access to data within specific regions (US, EMEA, etc.) This can be cost-effective for companies with a concentrated target market.

Cost-Effective Options:

  • Lusha: A user-friendly option with a Chrome extension for quick contact lookups. While the data may not be as in-depth as ZoomInfo, it offers a good balance of affordability and functionality.
  • UpLead: Another budget-friendly choice with a focus on accurate data and real-time updates. UpLead offers various filters for targeting by industry and technographics.
  • Clearbit: While not strictly a list provider, Clearbit excels at enriching existing contact data with technographic insights and firmographic details. This can be particularly useful for personalizing outreach.
    • In a move to bolster lead generation capabilities, HubSpot acquired Clearbit, in November 2023. While the full integration is still underway, the acquisition of Clearbit positions HubSpot as a one-stop shop for lead generation. Users can expect a more streamlined process, enriched lead data, and ultimately, a stronger foundation for attracting and converting high-quality leads.

Additional Options:

  • A great tool for finding professional email addresses associated with specific domains. Ideal for building targeted email campaigns.
  • LeadFuze: Focuses on identifying B2B leads based on their website behavior. This "intent data" can be valuable for understanding a prospect's current needs.

The best choice for your company depends on your specific needs and budget. Consider factors like data accuracy, targeting options, integrations with your existing martech stack, and the importance of intent data for your marketing strategy.

The key takeaway is that paid lists and sales intelligence tools can be a valuable asset to your B2B marketing strategy, but only if used strategically. With the right foundation, you can ensure you're getting the most out of these tools to reach your target audience, generate more leads, and grow your business.

Learn how TREW sets you up for success with marketing automation.



TREW is a marketing agency dedicated to reaching engineering and technical audiences through a range of marketing initiatives. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer. 





Kara Moon

Kara Moon joined the TREW team in May 2022 with experience in marketing automation utilizing Hubspot and Salesforce, as well as website development and sales enablement. Prior to joining the team at TREW, she worked primarily in the B2B and B2C banking and insurance industries.

About TREW Marketing

TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.