In sales, having the ability to find the right contact is one of the more underrated functions of the prospecting process; one that separates someone who is average from someone who excels. It sounds easy enough until you actually sit down and try calling into a company like Microsoft or IBM to see who handles some niche area of technology operations.
Some things to consider:
Craft a referral email – This should be very short and sums up who you’re looking to speak with and why. Provide one sentence that highlights the product/solution and also ties into the reason why you’re looking to chat. This could also replace your 1st introductory email as a means to quicken the identification process.
Use Administrative Assistants– If you have a person listed as the IT Director make sure they ARE indeed the IT Director and not actually some Java Developer in the UK. Either before or after you get transferred to their extension, connect with the Admin, if applicable, to confirm if the person is the best person to speak with.
Follow the trail – When you do get someone live on the phone and they turn out to be the incorrect contact, still use them as a resource to find the right person. Ask who they would recommend that you contact.
Social Media – I recommend a LinkedIn search since the employees themselves update their information. There are many resources available that can allow you to be resourceful online. Even using a simple Google search by typing in the Company Name and the ideal Job Title(s) has yielded some of the most appropriate contacts. The results could bring you to a Press release where the IT Director is quoted or a case study where the Director of Network Security has made some statements.
Connect with the ‘general’ department – When all else fails ask to be transferred to whatever department your decision maker tends to reside in, whether it be Marketing, IT, Human Resources, etc.
The point is you can’t rely on data from your database or list vendor until you’ve proven first hand its good, accurate data. The faster you can find the right contacts the shorter your own sales cycle becomes with that account.
Any other methods that you’ve used that helped identify the appropriate contact to call?