In the information age, information overload often buries needed data and, in many cases, finding the relevant detail can mean hours of lost labor as well as lost opportunities.
John Berry, vice president of operations at e-commerce consulting firm Geekteam.com, says he wasted precious time wading through the Yellow Pages and the Internet looking for data to help drum up new clients.
"I was trying to search in too many places for specific information, particularly for the right people to contact and the size of the company. We didn't want to deal with companies that were too big for us. On the other hand, we were frequently [contacting] companies that were too small and just didn't have a budget," Berry says.
The 1-year-old start-up, which counts among its clients FedEx Collection and Dunkin' Donuts, still gets a good majority -- 60 to 70 percent -- of its clients through cold sales calls. And one lesson Berry quickly learned was that his time was literally worth money, and implementing a business-intelligence solution was preferable to creating a product in-house.
After looking at several products, he chose HotData for its price, customer service, and functionality.
"I wasn't convinced [the other solutions] were better, but they were definitely more expensive. Some offered a lot of bells and whistles I didn't need at the time," Berry says.
In addition to providing the correct contact names, HotData helps Berry determine which companies are appropriate markets for his business.
"Some of the data they provide is the company's sales volume. From that kind of information I can figure that if they don't have a budget, we might be able to sell them on getting a budget. Whereas if you've got a company that has sales of $250,000, it may not be worth approaching them at this point," Berry says.
The return on investment in terms of productivity for Geekteam was "huge," Berry says. Instead of spending hours per sales pitch on often useless research, he can now concentrate on his company's growth.
"I would say that for one contact -- just to get the basic information -- I would spend two or three hours. [That] would include multiple phone calls and trying to find the right contact person," Berry says. "[With HotData] it takes minutes, literally."
Berry says the implementation of HotData was seamless, plugging directly into his ACT database.
"[But] if I had a question or a problem, an e-mail or a phone call would clear it up immediately. Good customer service is a rare commodity today," Berry says.
Berry now manages the operations of Geekteam instead of managing the data. He has had time to focus on other projects, handling everything that's not programming related, such as the bookkeeping and daily operations, and expects to more than double Geekteam's business this month.
"I would have [implemented HotData] sooner had I known. When I started, I really thought I could do an adequate job and get the information I needed on my own. I'm an old dog and [Hot Data] taught me new tricks," Berry says.