Researching sales leads prior to the initial sales call can give you an advantage over the competition. After all, the information you discover using these 6 Easy Ways to Research Sales Leads could be what gets your foot in the door with a prospect.

Being informed about a company’s history, what their industry looks like, and discussions that have taken place are all critical pieces of information to know before reaching out to a prospect. Spending the extra hour doing research before a call demonstrates initiative and is the first building block in cultivating a relationship between the buyer and seller.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the predominant social media platform for professionals.

With more than 500 million users, LinkedIn’s user base of professionals is a valuable research tool to use before the first call takes place. LinkedIn can paint an accurate picture of who a prospect is by providing professional history, current and past positions, and referral opportunities. Additionally, having a shared university connection could be a useful introduction tool to help kickstart the relationship.

Don’t just take our word for it. Studies show that top performers spend on average 6 hours a week researching prospects and connecting with peers.Studies show that top performers spend on average 6 hours a week researching prospects and connecting with peers. This post include 6 ways to research leads.SalesLoft’s integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful way to get alerts for and view relevant user data all in a single platform. Having seamless access to LinkedIn intelligence within the SalesLoft platform saves sellers valuable time, and grants useful insights that help develop deeper connections and relevancies between the seller and prospect.

Professional connections are strong relationship building platforms, and LinkedIn can help be the bridge that brings the buyer and seller together.

2. Facebook and Twitter

Twitter and Facebook are also useful sources of information.

Recent tweets provide news about the company and prospect; it’s an excellent resource for industry news updates and trigger events. The company Twitter feed can also offer insights into how the organization interacts with customers and competitors. Facebook can provide additional intel about personal interests, connections, and events that the prospect is attending. Anything that can help serve as an icebreaker and get their attention is a win.

Social touches are also a great way to establish warm connections and stay connected with a buyer. Engaging with prospects on social networks productively, as a business partner, during discovery can help lead the buyer to your solution. Re-tweeting, favoriting, or replying to a tweet helps keep you in top-of-mind without exhausting a contact with calls or emails.

3. Glassdoor

Learning about a company’s culture, structure, and recent job postings can be as valuable as any social media profile. A company’s core values are essential to how they conduct business. Knowing what they place importance on when looking for in new employees can help you understand what they are looking for from a seller.

Recent job postings also demonstrate where the company is focusing their growth. If they are looking to fill roles that would be using your solution, use that to inform your approach to the meeting.

4. Company Page and Recent News

The importance of understanding the company you are reaching out to cannot be understated. After all, it’s not the seller’s job to let you know who they are and what it is they do.  They expect that you’ve done your due-diligence before to reaching out.

Did you know that 88% of sales reps are not adequately prepared for a sales call?  Simply visiting the company page can give you a proverbial leg up on the competition. Calling out recent announcements is a great way of demonstrating that you have taken an active interest in learning about the organization.

The company blog can also provide information on what the company has recently been working on. Here’s an example of how this works:

Let’s suppose a company selling a certain frosted breakfast roll posted a press release about store closings. You wouldn’t walk into a meeting talking about expansion. Instead, you’d talk about cost savings and the ROI of pumping the airport full of that intoxicating cinnamon scent (raise your hand if you know what I mean about that aroma 😉 ).

5. Visit the CRM

It seems obvious, but your company’s own CRM information can be a valuable tool. CRM usage has a direct impact on customer retention and satisfaction. In fact, nearly 50% of salespeople polled noticed an impact when utilizing their internal platform.

Researching previous engagements provides valuable insight into what didn’t work previously and help you identify solutions that may have since been developed. If a buyer stated that it wasn’t a good time six months ago, perhaps you are better positioned now and a follow up is warranted.

6. Industry News

Having a holistic view of a prospect’s industry is just as important as understanding their company. A 2016 report found that 85% of respondents preferred vendors with knowledge of their industry and the challenges they face (Demand Gen).

Recent news articles provide an excellent opportunity to frame conversations around relevant topics that are important to the company. From developments in technology, trigger events, or competitor actions, the news can be your best friend when it comes to understanding what your customer needs, and why they need it.

Finding connections, hypothesizing pain points based on industry news, and understanding the background of a company are all relatively simple due diligence activities any salesperson can do to set their self apart from the competition.


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