Salespersons, marketers, recruiters and anyone else can share their Rolodexes on Jigsaw (http://www.jigsaw.com/), and make money for their trouble!
Salespersons, marketers and recruiters accumulate a lot of contacts in the course of their day-to-day work. Many of these contacts can be shared without losing too much business value. That’s exactly what Jigsaw facilitates: By contributing a contact, a user can get two new contacts, which are likely to be worth far more. The contacts they add to Jigsaw can give great value to another user.
Let’s take the example of two salespersons, one selling computers and the other selling printers. In many companies, a common person would be responsible for buying computers and printers. Supposing the computer salesperson contacts this common buyer first. Without any loss, she can easily share this contact with the printer salesperson, who would stand to gain a useful contact. This sharing would work especially well if there is something in it for the person doing the sharing. For the sake of this example, I am assuming that the computer company does not sell printers and vice versa.
Jigsaw provides exactly the kind of platform where the computer and printer salespersons can trade each other’s business contacts and get new contacts in return. And, what’s more, they can do this anonymously.
Each contact in Jigsaw includes the name, title, company name, telephone number, email and physical addresses. Unlike many address databases that include only the central switchboard telephone number (e.g. +91.20.39847000) and a generic email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), most Jigsaw contacts have the contact person’s direct telephone numbers (e.g. +91.20.39847110) and email addresses (e.g. email@example.com).
Hoovers and Jigsaw are both in the contacts database business. Where Hoovers (http://www.hoovers.com/) provides data by itself in a typical Web 1.0 fashion, Jigsaw (http://www.jigsaw.com/) follows the classic Web 2.0 paradigm by providing a platform in which its users contribute most of the content and thereby create a vibrant “business contact marketplace” as Jigsaw calls itself.
In typical Web 2.0 style, Jigsaw users are rated by one another for the accuracy of information they contribute. Users get rewarded with points both for providing contacts and for challenging existing contacts submitted by others. (Contacts no longer in the stated company, companies that no longer exist – these are typical grounds for challenge.) As a result, the data in Jigsaw is likely to be constantly refreshed, more accurate and hence more credible.
I see tremendous possibilities for business applications to leverage this Web 2.0 paradigm of user-generated business contact content. In continuation of my previous blog of 16 August 2006, I can immediately spot an application in the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) sector: A bank can set up a Jigsaw-style of contact marketplace in which its existing and prospective customers can share contacts which the bank can use for cross-selling its products. Banks already seek out referrals from existing customers; a Jigsaw-style platform helps to take this to the next level and make the process more structured and scalable.
Of course, there are some tricky privacy and confidentiality issues that banks and other businesses will have to sort out before proceeding full steam ahead with such a business contact marketplace.
For instance, in case a contact uploaded by someone has previously registered herself in the bank’s DNC (do not call) registry, a campaign targeting contacts acquired from the contact marketplace must ensure to exclude this specific contact. This can be achieved relatively easily by introducing an interface between the contact marketplace application and the DNC database.
Likewise, when a person acquires a contact in the course of performing his work for his employer, would uploading this contact to the contact marketplace amount to a breach of the confidentiality clause in his employment agreement with his employer? Would there be a breach of the contract between his employer and his customer, especially when he lets out information like “This contact is responsible for buying ERP software for her company”, which are quite specific and not typically available in public domain? What if the contact company is only a prospective customer and there is no contract with his employer?
All this brings us to the basic question,
Whose Rolodex is it anyway?