How long have you spent trying to identify the right decision maker within an organization? Hours? Days? Weeks? And when you located the right person, you still couldn´t get through since you didn´t know the email alias or building number (thank you Microsoft). At your wits end, resorted to trying every conceivable email alias until one didn´t bounce. Joebob@, jbob, joeb@, joe_bob"?¦you get the picture.
Prospecting nirvana hit in December 2004 in the form of Jigsaw that is essentially a common pool of contacts. Jigsaw was initially known mostly within the world of large, or enterprise, sales community as a great place to get a contact name. But it´s far more than a cheap resource for sales: it´s a gold mine for anyone seeking to create a partnership with a firm who doesn´t have the first notion of where to begin.
To put this in context, the average small business owner spends about 3 months trying to ferret out the right contact. I have a pretty great rolodex of folks I´ve worked with over the years, and so I decided to test Jigsaw myself.
I first tried to find a contact within Time Warner whom I´ve known for years. He wasn´t in the database, although he´s still in his role. It didn´t really surprise me, since he´s the CTO of HBO, and he works hard to keep out of the spotlight so he doesn´t get cold called. Still, I thought someone, somewhere, would have put him in Jigsaw.
Then I tried the behemoth known as Microsoft where I´ve created dozens of partnerships on behalf of small businesses, have sold small technology companies to and whom I finally accepted as a client a few years back. I have hundreds of contacts at this firm so surely someone would be match.
Over a hundred contact cards came up, and then a tease. Everything was listed but the name, phone and email (address and title are included). At this point I signed up for the trial just to see who was on the card. The way the system works is you get 25 contacts for $25, with discounts if you want to get more-pretty good if the information works right? And it did. In spades.
The instant I registered for the free trial, the name, email and direct phone was populated on my screen and happened to be an exact match to my own database. Jigsaw offers the ability to export the file, make notes and file it away since I "purchased" the contact for 5 points. For some reason, the system named me QuickWriter, (which I take as a compliment for fast typing-and if this was a random name assignment, Jigsaw scored additional points in my book since it made me feel good)"?¦and in the upper right of the box, kept a tally of my points remaining, my contacts "purchased´ and number of referrals I´ve provided .
I completed several more searches, neither of which turned up folks I knew, but one search did reveal a person I´d heard about, but never had the need to work with. In that instance, an immediate name probably saved me several days and/or weeks of digging through the muck of an organization. Translation for the small business owner: savings of at least hundreds of dollars if not thousands of effort.
100 Times ROI Easy
The site seems to be populated by information on the largest and most complex companies in the US. And if you´ve read my book, you know that these organizations are the partnership Mecca for small businesses. They are also the most challenging to penetrate. So $25 for 25 contacts is well worth the price of admission. In fact, I´d give a hint to the marketing folks at Jigsaw and tell them they should include an ROI calculator (or at least a testimonial page) on the time and money savings achieved with the site. And yes, you can quote me on this.
For small companies- neighborhood businesses, in state or regional-the site still has a long way to go. A community-built site like this one is only as good as its contributed data — and that´s where more users can help.
My only caveat to potential contributors is this–In my mind, the difference in supplying group managers, directors, even general managers level contact records is that these folks have a vested interest in being pitched by potential partners and it´s their duty to take the call or respond to the email when it comes in. I have no problem handing over those types of individuals, knowing that I can help them and the people trying to reach them at the same time. Contrast this to my feelings about the CTO of HBO. Given his seniority, reach in the industry and my unique relationship with him, professional courtesy and a personal connection prevent me from providing his information.
Jigsaw is a great resource for the small business owner, entrepreneur and any other professional that is under the gun to create a partnership with a large, dynamic organization. It will be an invaluable resource when its contributors take the leap of faith and start supplying more local and regional contact names across more industries, and will be priceless when it gets more C-level folks so many partnership efforts rely upon.