It's not about contact info: Insight is key to sales success

    August 19, 2014

    There's one thing I really need to get off my chest:

    Sales organizations spend way too much time worrying about whether they have the right customer contact information--and way too little time thinking about what they are going to say to the customer once they get in touch with him or her.

    describe the image

    A little background: We created Boardroom Insiders to help salespeople map out what to talk about with executive decision makers. We saw the pressure that salespeople were under to ditch product pitches and have real "business conversations" at the CXO level. Our assumption was that while salespeople knew whom they were targeting and how to reach them, they needed customer insight so they could show that they had done their homework and understood CXO priorities.

    We created an executive profile format that focuses on the people making buying decisions--their personal interests, family and business background, and current business initiatives and challenges. 

    A couple of years ago, we reluctantly added contact information because our customers really wanted it. We have been up front about the fact that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this contact info. Based on our own testing, we know that around 25% of the email addresses we publish will bounce--but because we have human beings researching and validating the email addresses, we believe we are more accurate than some of the other services that rely on Internet scraping.

    Here's the truth: there is no "magic bullet" source for accurate direct dials and emails for executive decision makers--and there probably never will be! Most companies do not publish--nor will they give out over the phone--the emails and phone numbers of senior executives. Why? Because they have been told to block you--and hundreds of other sales people--from wasting their executives' time with generic sales pitches that have no relevance to their business.

    If you really want to reach someone, you will find a way. You will "run into" them at a conference, find an email address that makes it through, get them on the phone on a Friday afternoon, or get in touch with their assistant. When this happens, you will have one chance. You don't want to blow it.

    Top salespeople put a lot more thought and preparation into what they are going to say than worrying about having the right customer email or direct dial. Prospect databases serve their purpose. But having the right contact info is just the beginning. To win a customer's attention and respect, good salespeople know the stakes are high in that first meeting and that there is no shortcut to doing their homework.

    Happy selling and be sure to do your homework--and for tips on C-suite selling, be sure and download our free ebook, below!

    Sharon Gillenwater

    Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Boardroom Insiders

    Get the ebook now!




    Share Your Thoughts

    We Love Feedback.
    Sharon Gillenwater

    About the Author

    Sharon Gillenwater

    Sharon Gillenwater is the founder and editor-in-chief of Boardroom Insiders, which maintains an extensive database of the most in-depth executive profiles on the market, from Fortune 500 companies to independent non-profits, to help sales and marketing professionals build deeper relationships and close more deals with clients. Gillenwater is a long-time marketing consultant with expertise in marketing strategy, account-based marketing, and CXO engagement programs.