And, if need be, as the call leader, you need to take note of key questions and comments, and repeat them as needed for the benefit of all participants. Without meaning to, central meeting participants can easily make remote "spokes" feel excluded and isolated. In the "face to face" atmosphere of the central group, it is likely that some socializing will take place. Verbal or visual joking may occur, and remote participants cannot be part of that on an equal footing. Be sensitive to this. As the leader, it would be unwise to limit socialization, even if such limitations were possible. But, you can use your leadership skills to draw remote participants into the positive atmosphere. Take the opportunity to explain a funny situation that may have occurred. Try to create a special bond with those who are remote. Take some meeting preparation time to gain information about the locations of remote participants (i.e. weather or business events). Use this information to draw remote participants into any social elements of the conference call. Your goal is to shift the focus to remote participants from time to time. This extra bit of attention can bring out more active and enthusiastic participation, and the result may very well be a more productive meeting.
Prospecting is another technique that often provides the link between inbound marketing and sales activities. When leads have been nurtured through to the bottom of the funnel, your sales reps can follow up on them with prospecting activities. Prospecting generally involves targeted communications to individuals — like emails, LinkedIn messages, and phone calls or voicemails — as opposed to content meant to draw an audience. Another way to think about it is that prospecting is a one-to-one conversation, while marketing is one-to-many.
If you are fanatical about having the most comprehensive listing of companies available, then Hoover's may be for you. It consists of what is probably the largest datatabase of business in the world, a mind-boggling 65 million+ companies and 85 million+ individuals within those companies. Hoovers is a standard fixture at many professional sales organizations and the premium version lets you create lists and have access to more information that the free version.
The problem is that information abundance equals attention scarcity. This is known as attention economics. Social scientist Herbert Simon was the first person to discuss this concept when he wrote “in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.”
There are plenty of companies out there who are happy to take your money in order to provide you with what they promise are seemingly inexhaustible numbers of companies and contacts for you to call. While I don't suggest that you never pay for leads, you should always look at your return on investment (ROI) after the fact and make sure your money was well spent. For each list, how many sales opportunities did you create and how many deals did you close?