How to supercharge your prospect research process

How to supercharge your prospect research process

Sales calls are one of the more challenging parts of being a sales professional. The process behind this can be very troublesome to deal with. Not only are you attempting to book a call with the right person in the company, but you also need to sell to a stranger. Those without the experience may think this process is easy. But sales professionals know that it's challenging having to make a sale without any visual cues, such as facial expressions and body language. 


With remote selling becoming more popular, people are using platforms such as Zoom to virtual sell to their prospects. While it works far better than a phone call, there are still some struggles that a salesperson needs to overcome. One of the best ways to get around this and make a successful sales call is by getting to know your prospect. By the time the date for the Zoom call appears, you should be overflowing with prospect-related information. 


Of course, the information you gather about the prospect shouldn’t concern where they traveled a few years ago for their honeymoon or that they enjoy eating pepperoni pizza. The information you accumulate should be relevant to the business and guarantee you the success of your sales call turning into a closed deal. It should also be information that is up-to-date to ensure that your sales pitch is aligned with the current status of their business. If you were to mention a pain point from several years ago, that would not fly well with them since they have most likely fixed the problem by then. Without doing your research, you won’t be able to provide prospects with a thorough and personalized proposal. 


For this post, let’s go over how you can supercharge your prospect research process. 


Check for any existing customer data

There is a good chance that your prospect potentially interacted with your brand in some capacity. Before you do anything, check any of your internal resources to see if you’ve managed to acquire access to information about them. Look through your customer database to see if it is holding any information about the prospect and their company. Any information is good and can indicate what to look up to further your research attempts. 


Additionally, if they have previously spoken to any of your sales reps, use that as an opportunity to obtain information about them. Reach out to your sales team and see if they have acquired any other insights on the prospect. You should also check to see if the prospect has had any recent engagements with your organization’s marketing campaigns. See if there are any discernible trends, topics, or content your prospect seems to show interest in. That information should provide you with enough ideas to identify their pain points. 


Investigate their website

One of the most valuable sources you have access to is the prospect company website. Their website should provide you with enough information regarding the business, such as product information, executive leaders, social media profiles, blog posts, and more. Furthermore, the company website will allow you to gain insight into the image they are trying to project to their customer base. 


The goal of this search is to gather data that will let you understand how the company works. Accumulating enough vital information such as their mission, goals, and values will assist in assessing how your company can provide them with the help they need to reach their company's mission objectives. However, keep in mind that while the prospect's company website does present you with a copious amount of information, not every page will assist you in your research process. To prevent yourself from wasting time, focus on searching pages that hold the data you need. Pages such as the About us, Teams, Blogs, and News pages are your best bet. 


Blogs are especially vital since they provide you with a wealth of information. The company blogs contain all sorts of valuable information and can be used to deduce what the organization’s values are in terms of content, culture, and thought leadership. The information you gather from the blogs can be used to design your message, possibly by referencing content from the blog posts or asking them to provide further information on a particular topic. If you managed to discover an article authored by one of the prospects you are targeting at the company, you now have acquired an extra point of entry to begin a conversation about a topic they are experts on and passionate about.


Moreover, adding some relevant company information in your outreach lets them be aware that you’ve taken the time to look into what their organization is all about. Doing so allows you to take the first step of qualifying a lead, which goes a long way in boosting your reputation with the prospect. 


Directories

Several websites contain lists of companies based on their particular industry, sub-categories, or other search criteria. These directories can assist you in your efforts to research your prospective clients. They are excellent since they have done most of the research for you. You can sort and filter the results based on your ideal customer profile. How you use the platforms to research your prospect all comes down to the nuances of your model customer. 


Of course, you’ll need to take some time to learn the ins and out of each directory to figure out the best way to gather information on your prospect. Several platforms even have a paid option that offers better visibility and functionality when searching for prospects. 


Here are a few of these directories you can check out for yourself:


AngelList

If the prospect is a part of a startup company, there is a good chance that they have a profile on AngelList. AngelList is a platform for job-seekers and angel investors to browse startups and either apply for a position or invest in a startup. The website will provide you with information on who the founders, leaders, and investors are, which is useful when you are looking for information about the key players. 


AngelList also has information about the organization’s funding history, which offers you decent enough insight into data concerning the company size. It also shows other companies the founders are associated with, which means you could find a shared connection. 


CrunchBase

Crunchbase is another excellent platform for you to check out and discover detailed information concerning your prospect. It’s a data aggregation platform that compiles data on both public and private companies. They also have a feature that allows your CRM to import data directly from the platform if you wish to use their API. Certain CRM accumulate data by themselves, but if yours is incapable of doing so, consider integrating with a data source such as Crunchbase. 


The website will provide you with an assortment of information such as team members, funding rounds, investors, competitors, customers, partners, board members, advisors, timeline, news, current employees, former employees, sub-organizations, acquisition history, and much more.  


Glassdoor

Glassdoor is an excellent place to check out whenever you want to see what kind of social feedback a company is receiving. Searching through Glassdoor will provide you with a ton of information about the company, including reviews written by former employees and applications, along with the overall approval ratings of the company. Glassdoor does an exceptional job at helping you see what's going on inside of that company. 


Owler

Owler is a valuable platform that gathers information from public data from several sources and combines them with crowdsourced data to provide you with a summarized company profile. The platform is quite beneficial and doesn’t require any additional downloads. Some features can be inaccurate at times, usually when it concerns smaller companies like startups. However, it’s still a serviceable platform to get some information about your prospects. 


Competitor research

Usually, the sheer mention of your prospect competitor sounds like a terrible idea, but what if it was used in a way that guaranteed you a sale? By taking the time to conduct a gap analysis of your prospect's competitors, you can identify where they are selling themselves short and how to pitch your product or service in a way that offers them that competitive edge. 


Business leaders are more likely to get riled up when they see that their competitors are outperforming them, and by pivoting that weakness into a solution, you can significantly increase your chances of closing a deal. A strategy like this shows that you not only managed to do your research but that you have a good understanding of their industry. This can lead to a more beneficial conversation with the prospect. 


Social media

Social media can provide you with another excellent resource for prospect research. The information available on these platforms will provide you with a wealth of knowledge that will leave your prospect impressed once you start your sales pitch. Using things like hashtags can provide you with relevant information through their post concerning the industry or organization. 


The market you are involved with, along with the person you are targeting, will determine where you need to look through. Here are some of the sites you can look into.


Linkedin

If you were to ask your sales team at your company where they go for prospect research, they are most likely to answer with Linkedin. If anything, you should probably be concerned if that isn’t their first answer. LinkedIn is a social networking site that allows professionals to connect with other professionals. It’s packed with features that improve its professional networking abilities, such as allowing users to provide information about their skills to their profiles. It also presents you with endorsements and recommendations to and from other users. 


 The platform has over 756 million members and counting. If you are not already using LinkedIn, you are already falling behind your competitors in terms of sales. The platform allows you to search for companies, view their employees, and perform advanced filtered searches that make the process more efficient to find a particular person you're looking for, which is crucial when researching your prospects.


It should be noted that only members can access the Advanced People Search function, which is needed if you want to search based on keywords, names, titles, company name, geographical location, and so forth. The search function also lets you filter the results based on group membership, whether it’s a first, second, or third-level connection. 


Linkedin is also great to keep up with any of the prospects' company news. Plenty of organizations publish articles and updates on their LinkedIn page. For example, maybe your prospect has posted about a new update to their products, or they have succeeded at getting new fundraising. If you see any information that is relevant to your business, it could be an indicator that they are a prospect. 


Twitter

Another excellent social media platform that you can use to research prospects is Twitter. The platform has over 186 million users and continues to grow each passing day. The platform has become home to many people and includes your prospect and the organization they are a part of. The social media platform does provide an advanced search function, but unlike LinkedIn, you are not required to connect with others to communicate with them, merely Tweet @ the person you wish to message. 


Plenty of companies use it to post updates on anything related to their company, such as recent updates or blog posts. They are also followed by people who work at the company, so you can use it as a way to discover who the executives are and see what they are posting as well. The information they provide can help you gain insight into the company and the prospect. 


Conclusion

Your research process is crucial for ensuring that your sales team can design a pitch that will entice the client. If proper research is not conducted, the chances of closing a deal with the prospect will be exceedingly difficult and highly likely to fail. To make your research easier, consider using Intro.so. Our extension provides you with the information you need when you are in a Zoom meeting call with the prospect.