Our ability to know more before the call is increasing all the time as the tools that can inform us are constantly improving. But there is a limit. These tools are all drawing from the pool of information that is available on the Internet. And some prospects have bigger “footprints” than others on the Internet.
Folks that are active on the Internet posting stuff all the time and linking away have big “feet”. They leave big “footprints” that the cool new tools will show you. But other people have tiny little “feet” – they don’t use social media that much. They hardly leave a trail at all.
“Shoe size” does not correlate to importance. Younger folk use social media more than older folk (gross generalization I know but let’s keep this simple for now) but older folk tend to be the CEO of your target company more than younger folk. Those older CEO’s just don’t seem to post that many updates to Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.
So we’ve got some groovy new Sales 2.0 tools (IntroMojo, Xobni, Gist, Rapportive and Batchbook to name five I can come up with today) that display most of the online social goodness out there about people but what they can display is limited by what is actually there.
So what? Well it means for the foreseeable future you will still need to talk to people.
The only way you will get the scoop on these folks with “tiny feet” is by asking around. If you need to call the CEO of a potentially important target account and they happen to be the type not immersed in social media (common), you won’t be able to do all your research with your mouse. You will need to use that old fashioned thing sitting to the side of your computer screen (phone).
I like to tell people to “call low” when prospecting. I usually pause there to try to enjoy a reaction. Of course I don’t mean “sell low” – that’s the way to stall all your efforts. What I mean is “call low” for information. Then when you’re well-prepared “call high” to the decision-maker. But only “call high” when you are prepared. Remember CxO’s are super-frazzled. They don’t want to speak to you unless you are prepared.
So in today’s world, researching important decision-makers is often going to be a two-step process. Take a look at your favorite social tracking tool and then call people who will tell you more – often a lot more. Yup, Sales 2.0 prospecting still uses the phone as the most important hunting tool.
Agree? Disagree? Will we always need the phone – or one day will we just use it to stop our papers blowing away (assuming we have paper)?