Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s Murphy’s Law, and it very much applies to telemarketing campaigns. There’s not much you can do about this basic fact except to carefully plan and prepare for your project. And the best place to start fool-proofing? Your call list, since it’s where your telemarketing activities are going to revolve around later on.

Your telemarketing contact list obviously has a huge bearing on how your entire campaign will turn out. Bad lists lead to bad results, and bad results can mean anything from losing a few sales opportunities all the way to blowing your entire budget. To avoid these problems down the road, run your list calling list through the following checklist before you start:

1. Prospect profiles. A good telemarketing list closely captures your target audience’s characteristics. But before you get to that point, you first need a precise idea about who your target prospects are. That means being able to clearly define a prospect profile. There are several ways building prospect profiles, but the takeaway here is to have these attributes clearly specified at the outset. These typically include (but aren’t limited to) company size, location, industry, etc.

2. Data sources. Where did you get the data for your call list? It’s important that you’re able to identify the origins of your prospect data since these can indicate potential data issues. It’s impossible to come up with a universal rule that says which sources are go-to places for quality data, but a good heuristic would be to retrace the steps involved in data processing. Go through the data trail and look for potential lapses.

3. Age of data. MarketingSherpa famously calculated that contact lists deteriorate at a rate of 2.1% each month (or over 25% in a year). This isn’t a complete surprise since, over time, contacts (especially potential clients) tend to change their details like moving to new locations or getting a different job. In short, prospect data has an expiry date, and its part of your job to make sure information in your call list stays as fresh as possible.

4. Level of granularity. This is simply how much closer your prospect data can take you to your target audience. The more granular (or specific) your data set is, the higher your targeting precision becomes. The ideal level of granularity depends on your campaign requirements. Sometimes, general prospect information like firmographic attributes (company size, annual sales, industry, etc) is enough. But in other cases, there might be a need for more specific information like behavioral data. So, be sure to identify gaps between what your campaign needs and what you actually have.

5. C ompliance. Although B2B calls are generally exempt from the Do-Not-Call list restrictions, there are some situations where the rule does apply. This happens when you’re dialing up home-based businesses or home-based offices whose numbers are mostly used for residential calls. Fine-tune your compliance practices and to check entries in your list that could get you in trouble.

They say there’s no such thing as being over-prepared. So, when you’re about to kick off a telemarketing project, it pays to double-check everything, especially your call list. Use the above checklist to see to it that your campaign runs smoothly.