Dan MacLean from Proposify posed a question on Linked that is really tough. He asked how reps can find the best phone numbers to call when prospecting. All the people who don’t believe in the phone can stop reading right now. For the rest of us who live in reality, you might want to keep reading. Here’s the deal– there is no easy answer, but here are a few things you can try to make sure you get your direct dial numbers right.
3rd Party Vendors
Test vendors like crazy. You have go and try different vendors and test them out. I’m a fan of DiscoverOrg ZoomInfo as we’ve had success with them. There are a lot of vendors out there and most of them suck and sadly you won’t be able to know if if the are good until you give them a try. Don’t expect to get 100% success rate here and I wouldn’t even expect a 50% success rate but you have to test them.
Suck it up and use HQ phone numbers
You can usually get an HQ phone number for the company you are targeting. You get this by going to a website or using one of your list vendors. The key here is being creative when you land on a switch board operator. We’re coming out with a study where we interviewed hundreds of gate keepers to see what they want you to do so more on this later.
Use Social Media
I don’t believe that 50% of people have their direct dial on LinkedIn (I’d love to see a stat for that if anybody has one) but people do have their contact information on there so it’s worth checking. Don’t stop on LinkedIn, check their Facebook and see if it’s mentioned or see if they responded to someone on Twitter to take a conversation offline and the phone number came up.
Use InsideSales.com Sales Engagement Tool
Here is the holy grail and it’s how InsideSales.com is going to solve that problem. Have you used Waze? Waze gets you to your destination with real-time help from other drivers. What if we could do that in sales? We can. InsideSales.com gets you accurate phone numbers with real-time help from other sellers. If a rep from company ABC calls a number and has a meaningful conversation the system captures that. If a rep from company XYZ then goes to call that same person, the system can tell the rep if it’s a good number or bad number.
Find an Excuse to Talk
I’m not a believer in lying to the prospect so you’ll need to be creative here. At InsideSales.com we’ve approached prospects with an offer to be a guest on our podcast using email or LinkedIn which requires us to have a conversation. Who doesn’t want to participate in a podcast?
The Out of Office Email
This is really hard to time but often when decision makers are out of office, they will leave you their number or the number of someone you could call to get their number when you send an email and they are out of office.
LinkedIn is a power tool, but only if you use it. Do you have any connections to the prospect you’re trying to reach? Would they be willing to give you their contact information? If yes, it’s worth asking.
Try searching the contact’s name with the term ‘phone number’ and you might be surprised. If that doesn’t work try searching the contact’s name the area code with an * next to it. The asterisk is a wild-card and might help you get tighter results.