Hoover's this week launched ConnectMail, a prospecting tool that helps Hoover's users quickly identify and connect with decision-making prospects. ConnectMail is accessible through links next to the names of more than 19 million U.S. and Canadian executives included on Hoover's fact sheets, people search results, executive bios and build a list results.

Here's how it works: When users find a prospect's name on Hoover's, they click the "send e-mail" icon next to the contact's name. From there, they are directed to the ConnectMail pop-up window where they compose a message. Clicking "send" triggers ConnectMail to begin searching for the prospect's e-mail address. The sent message will contain the user's return address while the prospect receives the e-mail as if it was delivered from the user's company e-mail system. When ConnectMail delivers the message, the user receives a validation and the recipient's correct address.

According to Hoover's, users can expect more than an 80 percent success rate from ConnectMail if the correct information is entered and the recipient is currently employed by a target U.S. or Canada-based company. The ConnectMail archives, which can be accessed through the My Hoover's section, enables users to track their sent e-mails and monitor those that were successfully delivered.

Hoover's continuously launches new products and services designed to help sales professionals more effectively reach the best prospects. And ConnectMail is just another innovative service likely to be embraced by Hoover's users. How often does a sales rep want to reach out to a decision maker via e-mail, but doesn't have his or her e-mail address? Users count on Hoover's to provide them with the contact and background information to make the most targeted and successful connections and ConnectMail is just another way in which users can accomplish their goals.

What's also impressive about this new service is that while it makes these e-mail addresses available to users, it accomplishes this goal while minimizing the chances for theft and abuse. This is a very interesting model and it's certainly not surprising that Hoover's brought it to the marketplace. It certainly seems like a concept with a lot of staying power. Look for other providers to consider implementing a similar service.