Contrary to popular belief cold calling and sales prospecting still works. Certain markets and brands suffer from a lack of market awareness, meaning people aren’t proactively seeking out what they’re selling even though they potentially need it. Things like SEO, PPC, and other mechanisms work well when there’s a market actively looking for the product or service, but inbound marketing fails when there isn’t existing market demand. Prospecting via cold calls and acting like a missionary out in the field educating people one-on-one works great.
Here are some tools for sales prospecting:
- Refractive Dialer takes a list from Salesforce.com and queues it up in a conference call-like manner so that sales reps can make significantly more phone calls in the same period of time.
- Rapportive, recently acquired by LinkedIn, is a Gmail plug-in that takes the email address and shows additional information about the person. This is especially useful if you don’t know the person’s email address as you can make guesses and Rapportive will confirm when you’ve found the correct one.
- Data.com, owned by Salesforce.com and formerly called Jigsaw, has crowd-sourced information about millions of companies and contacts making it easy to find and search information by categories like company size, geographic location, and job title.
- LinkedIn almost always has the most current information on a professional and is a great resource to find prospects to call on as well as to confirm information found in Data.com.
Ideally, the prospect is just about to start the buying cycle upon first contact, so that the sales cycle is short and there’s maximum value for sales and marketing effort. In reality, prospects are at all different stages resulting in the need for marketing to help educate and nurture the lead so that a sales rep can take over once the prospect has entered the buying phase of the relationship. Sales prospecting works for B2B startups and I recommend it.
What else? What are some other sales prospecting tools for startups?