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If you’ve read my stuff before, you’ll know I have one basic prospecting framework I’ve been harking on about for the last 4-5 years. It’s a framework aimed at getting you access, setting up those oh-so-important initial sales meetings.
My prospecting framework has 3 elements:
- Define your prospects and get their basic data: for example what industry are they in, how big they are and then data like decision-makers’ emails and direct dial phone numbers
- Find trigger events that show changes in your prospect’s environment, giving you a reason to approach them and potentially enough instability that they may switch vendors
- Get a referral into your prospect so you can avoid those “old school cold calls that suck” (you know the ones that take 200 calls to get one qualified meeting)
I first created this framework from stressing out about the lousy results my inside sales team was getting cold calling. I literally wrote on a napkin.
About six months after I wrote on my napkin I found out a smart guy in Silicon Valley called Umberto Milletti had already started a software company that produced results using an approach similar to this. So I felt vindicated that my framework must make some sense and a bit jealous that I had once again not turned my napkin into my fortune.
Fast forward 5 years and innovation brings us to the point where Insideview is not the only game in town. More vindication for my napkin idea but still no fortune.
This week I was lucky enough to be offered a demo of a very interesting new entrant into this space called Sweetspot.
Given that this is now 2014, Sweetspot is an iPad first (and only at the moment) tool. Obviously this makes plenty of sense given many sales people are on the move all the time.
Sweetspot currently focuses on the 2nd part of the framework–trigger events. (I think the first part of the framework, getting contact data, is a little easy these days with tools like data.com etc.
Sweetspot provides a very nice user experience through an interface that looks a lot like Flipboard (if you’ve used that)—that is to say information comes to you in a format that looks like a magazine.
Aside from the user experience, which I think will definitely appeal to attention-starved sales people, there is an interesting stream of information to be garnered from Sweetspot that may not be so easy to garner from other tools.
It turns out that behind the scenes Sweetspot is made up not only of software but also of humans who do some serious heavy lifting for you. This team has gone through every public company (Sweetspot only covers public companies for the time being) and found the Twitter handles for all the top executives in each company. These Twitter handles are pre-populated in Sweetspot for your use. This feature alone could save you tons of time if you want to keep up with the Tweets at your target accounts.
Even if the executives in the company themselves do not tweet Sweetspot looks for tweets about the company’s executives and includes those in the information you see about the company.
Sweetspot has started down the road of providing me with the relationship information I need to execute my full prospecting framework. There is a tab that shows me my first degree Linkedin connections at an account. But what I would like to see is who my second degree Linkedin connections are and how to get to them through my first degree connections. (Later on it would be nice to have some email templates too so I could request an intro with a couple of clicks.)
In the future, Sweetspot says the tool will integrate with CRM systems (Salesforce.com no doubt) and also to some marketing automation tools to allow sales people to launch drip campaigns. (I’ve recently written about this movement to bring “marketing automation” to sales people.) You can make notes in the app and add items to your calendar so you could use Sweetspot as your “mini CRM”.
All-in-all Sweetspot seems very promising. If you have your iPad handy I’d download it and see what you think. It’s just gone up on the App Store.
I don’t know who will rule in this space of bringing sales people the ultimate sales intelligence tool but it’s great to finally see entrepreneurs lining up to make sales people’s jobs more effective–and more fun. Sweet!
Louis Gudema says
Your basic framework definitely has value, but I’m wondering if it eliminates too many prospects. Trigger events may not be public (or not, at least, until it’s too late). And given the very low participation rate of senior execs in social media it’s rare that I find that I have a valuable connection to them.
It definitely depends on the industry and company that you’re going after. Some industries have much higher or lower social media participation than others.
Do you find that aiming for senior execs is too high with this? Maybe it works better at the manager or director level?