I get a special feeling when I find someone who turns out to be a fantastic source for future stories. Journalists rely on sources to break news, unearth unusual angles or get the inside information on a recent event.
A good source can be a CEO of a large company prepared to talk frankly about their plans and share their thoughts on the industry. But a great source could also be a junior employee who happens to be a subject expert in a fascinating area.
So finding and maintaining sources are a key part of journalism – and an increasingly difficult task given the number of sources and the speed of the news cycle. Long, boozy lunches “building relationships” are pretty much history these days.
Media is the same as any other business, except the “special sources” are usually prospective and existing customers. Everyone works hard to gain the sources that will lead to the next sale. Once you have made a good contact you have to do two things – record all their details so you can get in touch as required, and know where they have moved to if they change jobs. After all, if you had sold your services or product successfully, they could encourage their new employer to buy from you as well.
Outdated contact lists create headaches as a company gets bigger. A new sales executive might write off an old contact list if the first 10 customers he calls have moved on to different companies.
On average, every 30 minutes 120 business addresses change, 75 phone numbers change, 20 CEOs leave their jobs, and 30 new businesses are formed, according to US research conducted by Dun and Bradstreet’s Sales and Marketing Institute.
Several apps tackle one or both of those problems.
If someone sends you an email in Gmail, Rapportive will show you a photo of their face along with their social media contacts in a pane to the right of your inbox. It will show you if they are nearby, their job profile and employer, and any activity in connected apps such as email marketing tool MailChimp.
With one click you can connect to them on LinkedIn or Facebook or look up all your recent email conversations within Gmail.
Rapportive is free.
The Evercontact app which works with Gmail, Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook to automatically update the details of any contact who has sent you an email. The app strips information from the email signature and copies it directly to the email app’s address book.
The great thing about Evercontact is that once installed it will keep ticking over, building your contacts list without you having to copy and paste phone numbers and addresses.
Evercontact has some cool tricks such as mining a year’s worth of emails for contact details, a Chrome browser extension which will save highlighted text to your Gmail, Evernote or Salesforce.com contacts list.
Evercontact costs from US$4 per user per month.
This is a service under the Salesforce.com umbrella which removes duplicate records, fills in missing information and keeps your contact list in your Salesforce.com CRM generally up-to-date. Salesforce.com claims that by using the service a company can increase sales opportunities by up to 25 percent.
An advanced service, Prospector, gives real-time updates and access to a global database of individuals (think LinkedIn) of which you can import 300 records a month.
Data.com Clean service starts at US$25 per user per month and the Prospector service costs US$125 per user per month.
Image credit: Rapportive