Now, now, you can relax. You’re not about to read a telemarketing horror story about some hapless agent calling the other side. Dead numbers are simply numbers that are no longer available or do not belong to the prospect you were hoping to engage.

Then again, they can be quite scary in their own right.

Imagine spending so much money on a telemarketing list. You gave your campaign everything it needed for successful appointment setting. You had agents. You had a good script. Your offer had both uniqueness and top-dollar value.

Next, imagine yourself dialing up all those numbers. The first few numbers were odd. You keep getting the whole “this number is no longer available” phrase. You think the list is just a little dated so you keep calling.

But as you do, that monotonous, repetitive recording is all you ever hear. It’s almost haunting as you and your people grow frantic. You dial and you dial and still, no human voice could be heard on the other end.

Weeks pass and still, no sign of a real number that was worth calling. It’s like you and your people realize that you’re all lost in a graveyard of old numbers. Every night, you recall just how much you spent on both the list and the campaign.

It’s not Dracula or Dawn of the Dead but a worst-case scenario like that could set for a pretty decent thriller (for telemarketers at least).

What exactly happened though? It may be several of the following:

You forgot to screen your provider.

There are dozens of list vendors on the internet. Just pulling up one site and making a purchase does not guarantee a quality list. Okay sure, they might say that but would it hurt to ask for a little more proof? Do a little background check on your provider and consult others who purchased from them.

You just went straight ahead.

Sometimes a ‘dead list’ can still be updated if you complement your telemarketing with some other tools. For example, you can use online research to look up a business and verify if it’s still around. You increase your chances by knowing where they might have moved or who the new owner could be.

You didn’t stop.

Unlike in horror movies, you can always just turn back when it clearly looks like something is wrong with the list you bought. That way you won’t have to waste any more money until you either investigate your provider further or try to use alternative methods to confirm the contacts on your list.

See it’s in the loss of money and time that can make a dead list of contacts quite frightening for B2B firms. Don’t get too excited to use that list until you make sure it won’t lead you to a graveyard!