When it comes to sales, prospecting can sometimes be the most time-consuming task. You have to take time away from the job of selling to find more people to sell to in the future. It can sometimes feel like going around and around in a circle. However, with HubSpot and the inbound marketing methodology, you have the upper hand when it comes to managing your prospects once you've identified them. But, what are some of the first things you should do once you've added them as a contact in the CRM? Call them? Email them? Both?
Good sales people would answer “Call them” or “Email them.” Great sales people would answer “Both. Call them first, then email follow-up.” The best sales people would answer, “Research them.”
Below are the four best resources for researching your prospects before you make that first connection. These practices will introduce you to some great ways to get to know your prospect before you even pick up the phone.
G.I.L. (Google Is Life).
Google is by far the most powerful tool in your researching belt. Throw the first name, last name, and company name into the search bar and let Google do the rest. A quick Google search can show you exactly which current events your prospect has been involved with, and you can also look up their local, national, and global competition. This will not only give you a great talking point when you make that first call, it will also let them know that you took time to learn about their company and what they do.
Also, Google holds almost 72% of the global search engine market share. They also have 93% of the global market share coming from smartphones and tablets. So, if you aren’t using Google at some level, you are missing a key component of understanding and better supporting your prospects.
LinkedIn is an awesome social platform for professionals, especially if you are in a company doing B2B sales. LinkedIn gives you the ability to see a resume-like professional history of its users. This means that you can see where people graduated from, where they’ve worked in the past, and certifications or educational background information. This will give you a baseline of information on the individual to guide your talking points during that initial conversation. Along with having access to this information, another key benefit is the additional opportunity with others on LinkedIn that are linked through your connections. This opens up a new list of possible referrals.
Want to know what your LinkedIn profile should look like? Here's the Here's the guide to LinkedIn profile best practices.
3: The Company Website
This is probably the most basic, yet overlooked resource that you have access to. The prospects website has a great deal of information about the company. The “About” or “Info” tabs can be a prime place to understand the history of the company. It can also tell you about the company's overall mission. Most companies will have a “Meet the Team” tab as well. This will help provide a basic understanding of the business’ hierarchy and chain of command, and not to mention, put a visual to the name of the prospect. Also, it goes without saying that the website will give you a more in-depth understanding of the products or services the company offers.
Facebook is more than just a platform for you and your friends to post photos of that crazy weekend you had in Vegas. When used properly, Facebook can be a dynamic tool that allows you to understand your prospect and their business on a deeper level. It’s not very widely known that Facebook can also be used as a search engine. Using Facebook in this way can connect you with valuable information from past and current customers of the business to see where they may have underlying pain points. On the flip side, you can also use Facebook to research your prospect to see what other interests they might have. Your prospect could be an avid golfer, an award winning gymnast, or an amazing artist. These are all things you can use as talking points to show that you are interested in a true relationship and partnership with not only their company, but with them as an individual.
When it comes to sales, knowledge is power, and data is king. It takes time to build relationships with prospects, and doing research on your prospects shows that you are willing to take the time to learn about them as an individual. This will lead to more prospects liking you, which turns into trust, and leads to more relationships being built. Not to mention, the more information you bring to the table, the more professional you sound.
Now that you have the best resources to research your prospects, there’s only one thing left to do...