Find and Be Found
Does the Internet offer an extension of traditional sales and
marketing tools or is it a complete shift of a paradigm?
It used to be that salespeople worked within a limited circle
of contacts and prospects. You networked within your social organization,
church group, service club and perhaps with other salespeople
in a "leads club" setting. Your corporation handled
product marketing and client relations on a major scale due to
the enormous costs of advertising and establishing a presence
with a national scope. Today, at relatively no cost, anyone can
make available to the world, information about themselves, their
company, products or services. For those of us who make a living
by contacting others, Internet search engines comb the web, indexing
key words and retrieving a never-ending variety of homepages within
moments. You can easily find out who to target and how to contact
them with just a little bit of help.
What does that mean to you? Well, it depends on whether you are
wanting to find, or be found!
Sales Research Tools
The Internet site for Sales and Marketing Management Magazine
offers so many links to business research resources on the web
that you will need weeks to explore them all. If you are wanting
to target a company or category of business to offer your wares
to, this is the place!
Find information by and about almost any business or industry
Get lists of companies and contacts by categories
Learn about trends in specific businesses
Keep abreast of current business news
Find the Prospect Via the Net
Are you looking for access to a particular person? Unable to get
by their secretary? Can't discover the FAX number to send a message
likely to be put on a decision maker's desk? Go to Four11.com.
Chances are that a search of this comprehensive Internet "phone
book" will pull up the prospect's E-mail address allowing
you to take advantage of this medium's impact.
Four11.com also lets you search the entire U.S. white pages phone
book listings, E-mail contact addresses for most U.S. Government
officials (listed by state and branch of government), a celebrity
directory of famous (and infamous) people and a service that allows
users of Internet-based video phones to connect with each other
without having to call by voice phone first and arrange to be
"on-line" at particular times.
Services for Salespeople
Four11.com and Big Foot also provides services to salespeople
who want to be found.
The iName service offers an E-mail forwarding ability where you
keep one address for your lifetime and simply forward messages
to wherever you happen to be working, perfect for the upwardly
HotMail offers an ability to pick up your e-mail from any web-connected
computer in the world, an especially useful feature for salespeople
on the go.
Register your name, company name, past and present E-mail addresses, phone and FAX numbers into their multi-million name database so that other searchers can find you. Optionally, enter your school name, hobbies, etc. for others to find you via keyword searches. You can even set up a "blind" E-mail box where people
can send you mail without knowing your address.
And of course, just about everyone with a computer and an Internet
account will sell you a homepage and help you design aa advertisement
for yourself. Prices vary from free to hundreds of dollars per
year, depending on how much work they do and whatever other agendas
they might have.
Within the next two years, our computers will have 24-hour connections
to the Internet, even from home. It will be as common to have
an E-mail box as it is today to have a regular mail box outside
your front door. The challenge then will be to filter out the
unwanted information from the useful. But that is the subject
of another column.