I thought it would be a good idea for my client to see if they could sell more to their existing top accounts (I’m quite the strategist you will note.) The first step to doing this was to get a list of those top accounts.
After playing with the client’s accounting software for a fun few hours I managed to get a list of their top 100 accounts by revenue for the last year. Opening this list I thought I’d take a look at how their sales coverage was on account number one. What had they done to sell more to this top account?
I was working a hypothesis that my client’s sales people were mostly selling their main products not all their products. I thought there might be room to boost revenue by selling more to their strongest existing clients.
I jumped into the client’s CRM system to see what notes lay in there. Which contacts in this top account had been spoken to; met with; and what other activities had been completed?
One thing I found in the CRM system was the name of this account’s head of marketing.
So then my habits kicked in. I typed this head of marketing’s name into Linkedin. But he was hard to find. I typed in his name and the name of this account into Linkedin’s search function. I did not find him. Then I searched by the account’s name and the word “marketing”. He did not come up. So then I searched Linkedin by only the account’s name and waded through pages of employee profiles.
Still the name of this head of marketing did not come up.
Finally I just typed his name into Linkedin (without the account name) and got a bunch of profiles (luckily his name was not “John Jones” but it was not that unique either). After a lot more time wading through profiles I finally found him.
You may have guessed by now…he was no longer at the company per his Linkedin profile! He had left a year ago.
So next I typed in just the title “VP Marketing” and the account’s name into Linkedin and came up with two people – one who literally had the title “VP Marketing”. I like to cross check such findings. So I looked this guy up in Insideview and found that he was also listed there as the VP Marketing for this company.
Admittedly this was on odd situation where the sales person did not know who a key contact was in such a key account. The account had changed hands as a sales person had left. The new sales person had been told by someone at the company who they should talk to. But that person was not the head of marketing – more of a gatekeeper. And the sales person (here’s the key) never investigated any further. Even though they could have found out in 15 minutes by searching Linkedin, Insideview or Jigsaw – like I did.
I admit I’m a crazy fan boy of Sales 2.0 tools like Linkedin, Insideview or Jigsaw. But as this story illustrates these are valuable tools. These tools are massive repositories of information on companies and they are available right from your desktop. They are very low cost or often free. But the information you can get from them could make a huge difference in your commissions.
Not using them to cross-check/update account information seems like looking a gift horse in the mouth to me. What do you think?