A week ago today, I needed a small email database appended with title and company information. It was an opt-in email list with just email and first/last name, so I needed a bit more information for first-level sorting.

I’m what you would call a highly-motivated, ready-to-buy buyer. If I find the right product for the right price, I’m ready to buy right now.

I’m also what you would call a crazy-busy buyer. I know I probably need to shop around a bit to see who has higher record completeness and reasonable prices, but I really don’t have time for a full RFP process or six complete presentations.

So, a week ago today, I sent Web and/or email inquiries to six companies that offer database and/or list append services.

Here’s what happened.

Netprospex
As usual, they were highly responsive and happy to work with me completely via email. They offered pricing immediately, and even took a copy of my database and provided a precise idea of what percentage of my list they could append not only with title and company information, but also with business phone, industry and other important filtering data.

InsideView
I submitted a Web inquiry with detail about what I was looking for. A week later, I’m still waiting for a response.

Data.com
Their “contact us” form didn’t give me an opportunity to give detail on what I was looking for, and the “thank you” page made it clear I’d hear back from someone within 48 hours (a loooong time for what I was looking to buy immediately). Two days later I got a call from a Salesforce.com rep leaving me a voicemail and asking what I wanted to buy. No mention of Data.com (in case I didn’t know the two were related). No email follow-up.

Reachforce
I submitted a Web inquiry with detail about what I was looking for. A week later, I’m still waiting for a response. In their defense, they may have actually called. Someone left me a message mid-last week saying they were from “the service department” but didn’t identify what company they were calling from. No email follow-up.

Salesify
I submitted a Web inquiry and got a response within 30 minutes. Highly-engaged rep with exactly the availability and pricing detail I needed.

Circleback
This was actually a referral from a colleague I was speaking with later last Monday. Immediate response, all via email, clear pricing & availability.

Three things stood out to me in particular about this process:

  1. I’m surprised that two of the companies failed to respond to me at all
  2. Three companies called me just once or twice, then stopped trying.
  3. Those same three companies clearly wanted me to communicate via phone. I didn’t have time for that, and would have been far more responsive to an email vs. having to reply to a voicemail.

And, of course, a couple lessons here for those of you managing or working within demand generation or sales teams:

  1. Make sure leads don’t fall through the cracks. I wasn’t going to be a huge transaction, but I was a highly motivated buyer with money to spend.
  2. Even if the prospect initiated the contact, keep trying beyond 1-2 phone attempts. Your prospects are incredibly busy. And if they wanted something from you, they will appreciate your persistence.
  3. Don’t count on just one channel of communication. Use at least phone and email, if not social as well, to allow prospects to respond with their preferred method of communication. For your crazy-busy prospects, email and social are often far easier and more convenient.