Hard, cold fact: Few B2B sales reps relish having to make cold calls.

And Laura Ramos could not agree more. "I believe marketing should strive to put sales out of the business of cold calling," she states at the B2B Marketing POSTs blog. Since that's a tall order, she offers a compromise solution: connecting social-media dots to help warm up the cold-calling process a little.

"I am not a fan of the emerging class of 'Sales 2.0' tools that let reps follow online visitors or peer into their browsing habits," she states up front. "I am quick to dismiss these tools in my research and advice." That makes it all the more interesting when she touts a new tech solution as potentially effective.

Her newfound sales-warmer-upper is called PeopleMaps—"a tool that lets you leverage personal and professional networks to … see how you connect with other people, especially those inside of companies," she writes.

The software does its Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon thing by "mapping out the social graph between people you know and people with professional, public profiles that you may want to know," she explains. Ramos thinks this kind of exercise can warm up the B2B cold-call process because, among other things, it helps salespeople to:

  • Prioritize the hottest leads to pursue
  • Mine relationships "that can make warm introductions to prospective buyers"

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