If you’re reading this post, I’m going to make an assumption that you are a sales rep that either spends too much time researching prospects and leads OR don’t research at all. ‘Nada’ ‘Zilch’. How did that go for you?
Researches have stated that arming oneself with solid information of a prospective customer and company can improve the level of engagement and frame a fruitful sales conversation with the prospect. Researching a prospect can really help with lead management. Before you contact a prospect, investing in a few cycles of research is well worth your time. Who wants to shoot in the dark? Nobody. Researching a prospect before you make the first point of contact can make a world of difference between a sure deal and a bust. But if you are part of the former category that spend too much time on research, you need to understand that you are wasting time. Prospect research is critical before your first call or email, but if you spend a lot of time on research, you are compromising the time you could have spent on selling.
Faster Response Time = Better Conversion Rates. According to Lead Response Management Study, the magic number is ‘5’. 5 Minutes. Responding within 5 minutes means you’re 4 times more likely to convert that sales lead than a 10-minute response, and a staggering 21 times more likely to convert than a 30-minute response. This is primarily for web-generated or inbound leads, but this is a study that speaks loudly how time is incredibly important in selling.
Hubspot has got an amazing article on the places to research a prospect before a sales call. While there is a lot to gather from researching your prospect, ultimately it is important to train yourself to spend no more than 5 minutes researching potential prospects. And to save time you need to know where to look and what to look for.
Tips to Research Prospects and Sales Leads in 5 mintues
- Scour Your Prospect’s Social Media
There are plenty of sources available online for gathering information on your prospect, but there is nothing like Social Media that offers you a wide range of relevant information, all at one place. This is the kind of information that you should use to frame your conversation with sales leads. While scouring for information on social media there are a few pointers that are worth remembering;
Group Memberships speak a lot about the prospects’ interests and values. Make note of the special-interest groups that your prospect is a part of and the influencers he/she follows.
Find mutual connections in Linkedin that can help in building rapport and trust. Mutual connections can help you build instant credibility and rapport with your prospect.
Twitter might seem to sparsely feed you with information in comparison to other networking sites, however, you can learn a lot from your prospect’s interactions, tweets, mentions and hashtags he frequently uses. The hashtags could uncover the areas that interest your prospect.
Most of your prospects will be involved in lead generation. Try to discern some top priorities based on what is being communicated from the content they are trying to push.
Social Media is also a great platform do your background check. Before calling you need to make sure that you are contacting the right person in the company. You might be contacting an influencer, decision-maker, or someone who has the least interest or no reason to talk to you.
Find out how long they have been working in the organization, or in the current role. If your prospect is new to the company, he/she may not have enough context on the company’s needs and pain points or he may have less influence on the decision-making process.
If you wish to read more on the importance of Social Media, have a look at this article, “4 Reasons Why Inside Sales Team Should Not Ignore Social Selling.”
- Take a Swift Tour of Your Prospect’s Website
Take a note on the mission and vision of your prospective company, and identify how your products or services can help them achieve its vision. This information will help you paint a meaningful picture for your prospect. Browse through the ‘News’ section and ‘Media Releases’ on the company’s website to find whether there has been any recent product releases, venture funding, etc that can help you tailor your pitch to better suit your prospect. Perusing the ‘Jobs’ section can also help you extensively in knowing whether the company is on the verge of expansion.
- Sleuth for Trigger Events when Researching
When you are researching for information look for trigger events that indicate that the prospect has a need for your solution. Trigger events could be direct or subtle, so you should have a sharp eye on them. Trigger events could be hiring sprees, office expansion, new target geographies, investment avenues, etc. Search for third-party publications and industry blogs that talks about the struggles companies of the industry go through. This will give you a vivid picture on how to engage with your prospect. With this data, you are able to hypothesize pain points and identify how your product or service addresses them. Build multiple scenarios of how your solution can add value to your prospect. Instead of selling turn into a consultant or a trusted advisor that understands the prospect’s business and seeks to add value.
- Research Internally for Past Interaction
Chances are somebody in your organization would have reached out to your prospect in the past. Search your CRM and try to find old emails or phone calls, and review any correspondence you find. Probably somebody else could give you another perspective to look at the prospect that you never thought of before.
- Investigate Your Prospect’s Industry
If you wish to speak your prospects’ language you have to research on the industry he/she is in. Make notes on the key players in the industry, current trends, etc. This will help in customizing your pitch for prospects’ unique and current needs. If you are able to demonstrate that you clearly understand their industry, they are far more likely to be interested in your solution.
- Identify Customers Similar to Your Prospect
Run through your customer database and identify customers similar to your prospect where you have resolved their problem or added value to their processes. Case studies, testimonials, etc., are good sources of information to get a feel of the kind of product that was pitched to the customers. This will help in creating a more tailored experience to your prospect. Nevertheless, prospects ask sales reps whether they have done business with a customer similar to theirs, and it pays to have a quick and confident answer.
This is the age of context, “Sales Context”, and using relevant information to create a unique experience for each sales prospect with positive and meaningful conversations can yield a stronger prolific start to your sales process.