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One of the fond memories I have of my HP days is when very high level executives would roll up their sleeves and play “individual contributor” just to stay grounded in the business. Rich Sevcik, GM of HP’s “mini-computer” division (the HP 3000 competed against the DEC VAX and AS/400) was one such executive. I was a product manager fresh out of Wharton with new MBA, and found myself getting lots of attention as I was responsible for pricing some of the new systems. Rich would drop by my cubicle and look over my shoulders wondering how the pricing model worked and how sensitive pricing was to assumptions. Bernard Guidon, his counterpart for the HP 9000 UNIX platform was legendary for his management by walking around and lighting off fires at the individual contributor level.
I never forgot this lesson—-that great execs get their hands dirty to stay grounded in the business. With that thought, I decided this week to jump in and take on some cold calling for one of our large technology clients which has retained us for demand generation strategy and execution. Here is a snapshot of one hours’ worth of my efforts—again, I’m not a professional inside sales rep but found this exercise very helpful. By the way, I purposely called during the lunch hour to maximize my chances for catching IT managers/executives outside of their meetings:
So what are my initial conclusions from this?
I’m definitely careful not to extrapolate too much based on this one cold calling session but I must say that cold calling can be effective if it’s backed up with several critical elements – motivation, skill, training, compelling offer, “consultative” style dialog rather than “pitching” at the prospect, understanding of your target prospect’s situation and pain points, and good desktop tools. In fact, this holistic approach is the essence of our Aventi Group “Vector” methodolgy for demand generation.
Please share with us your own stories of cold calling successes, failures, and lessons learned.
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