Your database is one of the most valuable assets your business has. If you have up-to-date and correct data, your marketing campaigns will have a far greater success. The first step in creating this valuable resource is to find prospects to include in your database.

There are many services and websites that can start you on your way to marketing success. Many of these sources can provide you with company names and plan administrators. Some of these include 401k Exchange, Judy Diamond, Brightscope, Free ERISA, Larkspur, Marketing Resource, Pension Planet, Strategic Alliance, etc.

Since there are about a half million 401(k)s, it is important that you limit your target prospects. To do this, you need to define your target market and analyze the type of clients you want. This will help you to limit your database to a target segment, or your niche. Begin by analyzing your current client base, since this can be a blueprint for your prospect database.

There are many factors that can help you come up with a valuable and concise database. Variables to consider include:

1. Distance – One of the first items to consider is distance. You should limit the area you want to focus on to one that is manageable for traveling to prospect meetings. This can be 10 to 50 miles, depending on population density, or your travelling preference.

2. Industry – If the majority of your clients come from a specific industry or you have expertise within a certain industry, you should probably narrow your focus to that industry. Or you may want to focus on industries with growth trends or on a unique industry where the competition may not be as fierce.

3. Number of Employees – Do you work best with large companies? Or do you truly shine in small operations? Analyzing your clients’ sizes can help you identify the size of prospect you’d like to target.

4. Plan Size – Similar to the number of employees, the amount of plan assets you are able to handle can also limit your prospects. Again, by analyzing your current clients’ assets you can determine the plan size that is best for you.

5. Account Balance – The average account balance of participants’ shows the plan’s activity and influences the types of service you provide for a specific client. By analyzing current clients’ average account balances, you can identify your target amount.

After you’ve identified the profile for your current clients, you can begin to mine the databases for appropriate prospects. Since this might not be the most valuable way to spend your time, you should consider hiring a college student to do this for you as a cost-effective solution. The student can use your parameters to identify your target companies to add to your database.

By hiring a student with good phone etiquette and an engaging personality, you can have them call plan administrators and update contact information. Giving them a natural sounding script can reduce their chance of making mistakes.

By taking the time to create an up-to-date, targeted database, you’ll have the foundation around which you can build a successful marketing and sales campaign.