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Sorry, I'm in a meeting

How many times have you heard that excuse when you call a prospect? A lot, if you're like most of the sales reps who responded to our recent ZoomInsights survey. Some respondents think it's annoying but others are amused. "Who picks up a call in the middle of a meeting?" one wrote.

Also, a surprising number of prospects apparently answer the phone while … well, indisposed. Hard to believe, but many of our survey participants said they get that excuse. Can you say "too much information?"

One rep told ZoomInsights he reached a prospect who said he was headed into the exam room at his doctor's office. "Not sure why he answered at a moment like that, especially since we'd never talked before," the rep said, "I contacted him later and made light of the situation."

Another rep wrote, "When I worked for AT&T, I had a guy tell me, on the phone, that his company didn't use phone service. I asked him if he was talking on a can with a string or just his shoe."

"A prospect told me that he was getting a speeding ticket and would have to call me back," responded another rep.

And here's a great one: "I'm being forced to take a four-week vacation – bank policy – call me next month." Lucky guy!

Prospect much?

ZoomInsights also asked sales reps how much of their time they spend prospecting. The most common response, by 37 percent of reps, was 25 percent or less.

Referrals are top

When it comes to prospecting tools and sources, the most common response was "referrals from others," at just under 32 percent. Nearly 28 percent rely on online business directories, such as ZoomInfo. "Other" responses included leads generated by marketing, conferences and trade shows, and cold calling.

What's on your mind?

The top issue among sales reps who responded to the ZoomInsights survey, by a wide margin, was "Identifying and reaching true decision makers." "Qualifying, prioritizing prospects" came in second.

Find the best contact

One way to identify and reach decision makers is to look up companies with ZoomInfo Pro. You'll get detailed and just-verified profiles on more than 50 million businesspeople and five million companies. And it's way more than basic info like title and contact info. At a glance you can find out recent awards won, special interests, college attended and much more. Check it out!