Over the last 5 years, the sales role has seen numerous trends which have changed the way we prospect and sell. From Social Selling to Inbound Marketing (oh, by the way, I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this but that is for another day), the way that we engage with prospects is much different. The marketing agencies are waging a war on the cold call (again, later) and it is admittedly harder to get people to speak. Email is the most stubborn, ruthless gatekeeper known to man.
The days of working your way through a list cold, and using the old principle that the more dials you make, the more contacts you make, has some flaws in it. There is still a very real correlation to dials and contact, but it is on you, the salesperson, to do everything in your power to increase your conversion rate through adding value. One of the best ways to do this is to sound like you actually know what you are talking about right away. A little research on your prospect can go along way. But be cautious; there is a fine balance between having some key insights on your customer and sounding like a complete stalker.
It’s up to us as sales professionals to evolve with the times. That doesn’t mean put away the phone. Instead we need to do a better job of getting our prospect’s attention. One key way to set ourselves apart is by doing research to identify what your prospect actually cares about. It’s not always easy to draw a direct line from their job to your product. That’s where research comes into play. The areas of research that are going to give you the best bang for your buck are the prospect them self, the company that they work for, and the industry that they are in. Having a blended knowledge of the three will go a long way.
Below is a look at various places to research and how they help you identify information about the individual, company, and industry.
As you can see, there is an incredible amount of information available if you are willing to spend the time looking for it.