Prospecting can feel a little like that overused stock image of the iceberg – the tip, while formidable, ain’t nothin’ compared to the enormous mass lying just under the water’s surface.

That’s because a substantial (maybe even a disproportional) amount of work should come before any contact with the prospect is made: checking social networks for shared connections, scanning news about the company and category, searching for advertising assets like TV spots, web video or even the random keynote speech. (You do go through these steps, right?).

The Internet makes this information infinitely more accessible. In fact, it’s often easy to spend too much time being thorough (a personal weakness of mine). Luckily, there are a number of great tools out there specifically designed to help new business leaders find the information they need to act quickly and intelligently on leads.

One of them is Daily Vista from The List.* I’ve used both The List and Daily Vista in the past but I recently had the chance to test drive Daily Vista again now that it’s being offered as a stand-alone product.

Daily Vista shines on a number of fronts. It does a great job of sifting through news and curating the right stories for its audience. On top of that, it provides commentary that I usually found insightful and useful, not gratuitous. It manages to cover big consumer brands, B2B marketers, start-ups and niche companies without making me feel like I had to sift through a lot of extraneous info to find the articles that were most important to me. And it was also rare to bump into stories that I’d already seen covered in trades like Adweek and Ad Age, a complaint I’d had with similar services I’d used in the past.

While you can now purchase Daily Vista separately from The List, each story is accompanied by a list of contacts – name, title, email, phone number – from The List, making it easy to follow through on leads and giving you some good names to add to your CRM database.

You can filter stories by industry, region or prospecting trigger (spending shift, product launches, etc.), but I’d love to see this feature made more robust. It was disappointing not to be able to combine two or more criteria to do a really targeted search, for, say, food producers in the Southeast that have hired new decision makers.

From a cursory scan of similar products (Ratti Report and Pearlfinders among them), Daily Vista’s price is in line with others and, like many of the others, is based on the number of licenses and the level of access. Bottom line, be prepared to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 a year for a product like this.

Daily Vista is a great tool if you’re serious about supporting an agency prospecting program, but it should complement – not replace – other new business best practices, like defining the right selection criteria and choosing businesses and categories to prospect that are in line with your goals. Like any other tool, it works best when used properly.

PS. If you’re attending the Mirren new business conference in New York this week and want to know more, both Daily Vista and The List will have a booth there.

*I am not currently a customer of either Daily Vista or The List, nor have I been offered any incentive from Daily Vista, other than the free trial.