For any data researcher, the tyranny of the “unclean” list can be intimidating.

While I can’t give you all the answers, I can give you a few simple steps that may make the calling portion just a little bit easier.

1. Look at the website

This seems like an obvious tip, but when you’re on a roll going through a list, it is easy to overlook this very simple step.

Many industries, especially hospitals and small companies, have a page that details their leadership or administrative team.

If you can’t find the title through an “About Our Team” page, some sites also have a website search bar. I would recommend quickly searching the lead name first, and if it doesn’t return any results, then search the title. This may give you a specific department number to call, getting you ever closer to the lead you need.

2. Have an email format at hand.

Getting an email out of a lead, an operator, or an administrative assistant is sometimes one of the most difficult roadblocks a data researcher faces when cleaning a lead.

Leads know that releasing this piece of information makes their privacy vulnerable. Assistants and operators are often not even allowed to give out a superior’s email.

However, having an email at hand–even the wrong email–can catch a lead off guard and guide them into correcting your mistake.

The best way to do this is to have the closest possible email format for the lead. As mentioned above, if you find a colleague’s email on the company’s website, you can simply plug the lead’s name into the colleague’s email, and you have for yourself a good guess at company email format.

When you have found the closest possible email format, use it with confidence.

Three important strategies:

  • Be quick to get a word in before the operator transfers you to attempt to confirm the email
  • Tell the lead or gatekeeper that you have tried to send an email, and it bounced, and confirm the email based on the format you have
  • Don’t ask permission to confirm the email–this gives the lead or gatekeeper a moment to pause and think about giving out the email.

3. Have a “pushback answer” ready

I have found that this is crucial. Some “gatekeepers”–like operators or administrative assistants–may not transfer you or even confirm a title, let alone and email, without knowing why you need to get in touch with the lead.

Often, you can create a pushback answer based on the titles you are calling. For example, if I am calling HR managers, I may say, “I’m calling regarding employee development solutions.”

If you still get questions from the receptionist, simply say, “Well, I was hoping to send Mr. Smith an email on behalf of my employer, but at this point, I don’t know what the email entails.”

**It is important not to use the pushback answer initially and to reserve it if you are questioned. If you lead with the pushback answer (ie. “Hi, I’m calling for Mr. Smith regarding employee development solutions), you open the door for the Gatekeeper to themselves pushback.


Putting it all together

Hopefully, at this point, you feel prepared to make the call. An ideal call using these techniques would look like this:

You: “Hi, I’m calling for Mr. Smith–is he still the Director of X?”
Receptionist: “Yes he is. I’ll connect you.”
You: “Before you do–I tried emailing him earlier and it bounced. Is his email still
Receptionist: “No, it’s”
You: “Oh, thanks so much! Could you connect me to his voicemail?”
Receptionist: “May I tell him what it is regarding?”
You: “I’m calling from Company X regarding employee health solutions.”
Receptionist: “Connecting!”

Written by Kylie Kaspar / Data Services Associate