How to create a 401 (k) prospecting list


The first step in any successful marketing campaign is to identify your target market. By understanding your target audience, you can plan your outreach strategy and how you plan to help address their needs, concerns, and issues. Your campaigns can then provide useful solutions, actionable ideas and solutions to solve problems.

Fortunately, in our industry there are some key ways to start building a list, identify your target market, and approach them with confidence.

Where do I start?

Start by defining a territory. Your territory can focus on any of the attributes listed below. Remember, you can be as targeted as you want, so feel free to group attributes to narrow your list.

  • Physical geographic territory
  • Plan asset size
  • Plan features
  • Niche markets
  • Similar corporate culture
  • Common points in the design of the plan
  • Or really any identifier defining

How to find companies?

Next, decide which channels you are going to use to track down all the leads in your territory. To get the specific business names and information you are looking for, you can search for them manually. But honestly, there are much easier ways.

Contact one of your local wholesalers and have them search the Form 5500 listing. Many archivists and DCIO companies have access to excellent listing tools.

If you want to access this information on your own rather than through a partner, here are some great companies to talk to and learn about their Form 5500 research tools:

  • Fiduciary decisions
  • PlanPro
  • Judy Diamond
  • Rixtrema

Aim for a minimum of 500 prospects who meet the definition of your territory to start your prospecting list.

What to include in a prospecting list?

As a best practice, your list should include basic contact information such as company and decision-maker names, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, plan assets, number of participants and other plan data. Some useful information also includes the titles of decision makers and their LinkedIn profile URLs.

What else should I consider?

Good question! Whenever you launch a marketing campaign, also consider your current customers and existing contacts. These are the friendly faces of your contact list.

To find their contact details, look in your CRM. Download your customer information and their email addresses. This is a great group to start with because it will help your digital campaigns reach inboxes, increase your open and click rates, and boost overall engagement.

For additional contacts, see your LinkedIn account. At the heart of the settings function, you are allowed to download your contact list, including email addresses. Note that LinkedIn is constantly changing the way you find this information. Here’s an updated guide to check out.

Among your additional customers and contacts, aim to have 500 additional people on your distribution list. When you combine your lists, you should have around 1,000 to 1,500 names. It’s a good start !


Read more of Rebecca Hourihan’s comments here.


Refine your data

Alright, you’ve now uploaded the current leads and customers. When you compile all of these names, it is important that they are organized and manageable. You want to make sure that all names are spelled correctly and in all caps, and that each contact is segmented into a category. This will make communications easier when you start interacting with them. An easy way to do this is to separate them into lists of current customers, prospects, and centers of influence.

Expand your social reach

With your 401 (k) prospect list, take the information and use it to expand your social reach. This could include connecting with the C suite and decision makers from each of the listed companies that match your defined territory. You can also follow this business on social media, which is great for turning cold leads into warm leads. LinkedIn’s algorithm rewards engaged members. So when you continue, like, and share your prospects’ posts, the site is more likely to show them your content too!

After connecting with the decision makers at these companies, you will see your number of connections increase, which helps get your content flowing and build your digital reputation. Now, it’s time to post some relevant and interesting pension related content in your News Feed and grab the attention of your new prospects. Pick topics that match your defined target market and use the related content to address their issues, needs, and issues. Post helpful solutions, concrete ideas and remedies to help them better manage their company’s pension plan.

Types of social media content include articles, blogs, how-to guides, graphics, videos, webinars, social maps, memes, and other educational materials that speak directly to your potential audience.

If you’re looking for other ways to expand your digital reach, use hashtags to grow your audience while staying in your target market.

Inbox updates

Now that you have a substantial list of your target prospects, existing customers, and centers of influence, it’s time to put this valuable list to work. Choose an email automation site, like MailChimp, HubSpot, or Constant Contact to send regular emails, using your segmented contact lists. These sites make it easy to download the datasheet you created with hundreds of contacts and send communications to all (or segments) of them. By keeping your clients and contacts informed of pension trends, changes and alerts, you can stay ahead while providing them with valuable information they will appreciate.

Email campaigns are a proven way for advisors to demonstrate value that reinforces your pension knowledge and expertise.

Maintain a list in the market

Now that you have a defined prospect list with 500 new businesses in your defined territory, let them know about your experience and information through email campaigns and social media posts.

Plus, don’t ignore the power of referrals and supportive presentations. Our business is still very SEO based, which is why it is just as important to constantly listen to your customers and existing relationships.

This two-pronged approach will reinforce new inbound business, which will generate new lead introductions and help you gain new clients for the pension plans.

Thanks for reading and happy marketing!

Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of 401 (k) Marketing, which she founded to help skilled experts run a professional business with professional marketing materials and ongoing awareness campaigns.

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