When I first started my career in sales as a contingency recruiter for a local agency in 2006, websites such as Monster or CareerBuilder, and Google for general searches, were the main online resources that I used for both business development (new jobs to proactively try to recruit for) and product research (aka candidates’ resumes).
Times have changed.
Throughout the years, the number of free online sites that a sales person can use has dramatically increased. Within three years as a recruiter, I went from having 2-3 websites in my URL history, to utilizing dozens of sites simultaneously throughout the workday such as Linkedin, Zoominfo, 123people.com, indeed.com and Facebook. Last year, when I transitioned into a role providing lead generation services for Reality Digital (an expansion stage social media technology company that received venture funding from Openview in 2006) I found myself using these websites again all day long… and then some. To add to my list of website must-haves, Twitter and Youtube became necessary web research destinations in my daily routine, helping me gather that much more information about a lead before making the first cold call.
Here are four free sites that every savvy sales rep should be using throughout the work day:
Zoominfo.com: Useful site for gathering important information about companies such as main corporate lines, addresses, brief description of the business, press releases, recent articles, key decision makers, and job positions that are open.
Twitter.com: Search for people who are talking about what you are selling and consistently post information, articles about your company’s product/services. If you are posting about work, however, don’t tweet about your personal life as well.
LinkedIn.com: If you are in sales and have not heard of Linkedin, I’d be shocked. This is the ultimate professional directory, and in my opinion, someone who is in a cold calling/hunter capacity should have LinkedIn open on their screen at all times.
123People.com: Perhaps one of the most intrusive of all online sales tools – 123people allows you to search for a lead’s information such as home phone numbers, pictures, articles, etc. Use this site wisely – you could end up really turning off a prospect if you call them on their home phone number or start rattling off some tidbit of information that you found out about them on the web.
At the end of the day, the more (relevant) knowledge that a sales rep has about a lead going into the first call, the better the chance of setting up a second call.