By the time a member of your sales team reaches out to a prospect, they should already know them inside and out. Not only this will help them feel confident and prepared, but it will also show the prospect that they have taken a specific interest in them and their needs.
Let’s face it, you are not the only company competing for their business and with so much competition out there, it can be difficult to build a relationship with a prospect and make a sale. That is where research of your prospect is critical. It is the one step that you can control as you try to win over your prospect and gain their trust.
Thoroughly researching your prospect will help you better understand their needs and interests and help you tailor a pitch specifically for them. According to many certified online sales coaches, tailored pitches are far more likely to be successful than anything scripted to appeal to a wide audience.
Where to start with research
The art of research should be an important part of your training. Topics should include both internal mechanisms such as your CRM which records past interactions with the prospect and external opportunities such as LinkedIn and other publicly available information.
Generally, the Internet is the best place to start as it offers easily accessible information about anyone including your prospects.
Google them, find them on Twitter or Facebook and glean as much information about them as you can, professional and otherwise. You can collect much useful data about their habits, interests and needs. You can also see what social groups and networks they follow or interact with. Also, by identifying mutual connections, you can easily spark a conversation with your prospect.
Speaking of mutual connections, many sales coaches say this is a very useful way to research your prospect. These ‘connected’ sources can be invaluable as they can give you a different perspective on your person of your interest. That said, you should be careful not to abuse your connection and ask for too much.
Doing industry research is also a great way to get valuable insight into the needs of your prospect and their company. Including some of this information while pitching to your prospects will show them that you are interested in them and you understand their specific needs. This will also help you to come with a unique offer that is tailored uniquely to them. In the end, this will help you to win that prospect over and close the sale.
Where to find your prospects
Starting the research process and gaining valuable information about your prospects is not hard if you know where to look. According to some of the world’s best sales trainers, here are some of the tools you should use:
LinkedIn: As the largest business network in the world, LinkedIn is the perfect place to network and start direct conversation with prospects
Company Websites: Start with the About Us to learn as much as you can about the company’s vision, its mission, its goals, values, location, employees and leadership
Crunchbase: A unique register for many companies of all sizes. Crunchbase is a great source of outreach tools and automation integrations. It can also provide a first step towards setting up a meeting with your new prospect
CRM: When planning a first contact with a prospect, be sure to go through your own CRM beforehand to make sure you’re not duplicating someone else’s efforts or giving them a lot of information they have already heard. If there has been a previous contact, hopefully your CRM will tell you what the outcome was so you can come up with a new strategy if necessary
Press Releases: To be as up to date as possible with any prospect, sign up for their newsletter, go to the Press Releases section on their website and follow them on social media. The more you know about them, the more likely it is you’ll find somthing no-one else has thought of when the time comes to make your pitch
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Natasa Tomic is a journalist and content producer who specializes in writing about business and sales.