Every week, it seems, I get a call from a diligent salesperson, calling to follow up with me because I downloaded a white paper. I invariably disappoint them, explaining that the reason I downloaded the white paper was to do research for one of my Backup Reminder columns.
Sometimes I’m doing research for a different purpose—on behalf of a client, say, or for my Podcast Asylum or Author-izer personas. But I’m a solo professional with a home office, and definitely not a prospective customer for enterprise software companies. I’m not usually even a good prospect for the SOHO backup companies, because I already have backups coming out of my ears.
So please—if your company publishes white papers, make sure you include “Media” or “Journalist/Blogger” when you ask what industry the person downloading your report is in. For that matter, you could include a checkbox that says “Just doing research.” Some companies do have a “No plans to purchase at this time” option, and in some cases it’s possible to un-check the “Contact me to follow up” option. But those are the exceptions, rather than the rules.
It’s a waste of money to have your salespeople calling people who will never become customers. You could refuse access to people who aren’t serious prospects, but that’s not good public relations. You want media coverage, because someone who does want to buy your product might be reading my blog.
But please. If you have someone call me, it should be your PR agency, not your sales staff.