There are many moving parts involved in the B2B sales process, and a lot of lengthy research involved in pursuing sales leads. Being as efficient as possible during the time allotted for sales lead research is crucial to your success as a salesperson.
With the use of modern technology, there is essentially no such thing as “cold-calling” as we know it traditionally. Now, any time a sales call is scheduled, whether by phone, teleconference or in person, a meticulous amount of research and scouting has happened before the first handshake and greeting between parties.
Here are the best tools for sales lead research and how to use them to your advantage.
The Big One: LinkedIn
LinkedIn offers many key insights into a company with whom you want to establish a sales rapport. Each company has a page, and profiles for many employees so that you can identify key decision makers that you’ll have to interact with and find common ground in the way of making the sale.
Look at the profiles of the decision makers at a given company. What experience do they have at their company? What experience do they have in previous jobs? What are their responsibilities? What kind of content are they sharing? Do you have any mutual connections, and, if so, what is the context of these relationships?
Many of these things may sound trivial, but in the larger picture, you have to find common ground with the people you target to sell your products to. Often, their LinkedIn presence provides major insight into what they feel is important in buying services and products for use in their company.
Here are some other places to find important information that drive sales lead creation.
1. Social Media Accounts
Reviews of the company’s social media accounts and those of the key decision makers, if you can find them, reveal not only insights about how the business operates but also the interests of the people with whom your salespeople will interact.
Knowing what people value, how they think and their interests will make it easier to build your pitch and find common ground on which to stand when you approach them from a sales standpoint.
You can draw major insights into a company’s culture and budget by looking at their page on Glassdoor, the nation’s leading facilitator of company transparency.
For example, Glassdoor will tell you what jobs are open in the company you’ve targeted to sell to. If these openings are in an area of the company related to the product or service that you’re trying to sell, it’s a sign of investment in that area. Most of the time, it means that a company will be more receptive to your pitch.
Search some of the companies with whom you haven’t formed a selling relationship yet. Are they hiring in your sector? What are relevant employees salaries? This gives you hints to what they emphasize and value in their business and whether or not they have the budget for your products and prices.
3. Geolocational Research
Looking at your leads on a map will give your sales team a better understanding of the geolocational forces at play in the sales process–the size of the business, what sectors it operates in, and its major competitors in the region. Sometimes, using GPS technology in customer relationship management strategy can even lead to new sales lead development.
With the growing trend in sales of meeting potential buyers on their own turf, GPS can map out routes for sales calls and help you get the lay of the land before you set out to sell to a new lead.
How Competitive Research Fits in to Your Sales Lead Research
What better way to craft your sales pitch to new leads than to consider what your competition in the region or nationwide is up to? This is especially helpful if you know that a lead is looking to switch from a competitor to your software.
Search the press releases from your competition. Ask yourself, what are they doing differently from us? How are their prices? Have they recently released a new product line or made a splash in the media for some reason?
Understanding your competition and how they sell is a crucial aspect of knowing how to approach a new lead and what you need to say to convince them to change their business relationships from a competitor to your company.
Customer Relationship Management Software
More and more companies have turned to customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage leads and coordinate lead research, and it’s easy to see why. Programs that integrate customer relationships, update customer information and track every aspect of the sales lifespan are immensely useful when time is short and the need for sales lead research is extensive.
The most popular CRM software by far is Salesforce. This web platform is constantly innovating and making it easier to manage your customer base and sales leads from your phone, tablet or computer, making research as simple as possible. From the many features that Salesforce offers to the business community, you can automate marketing and gather key information on customers, essentially maximizing the effectiveness of your sales lead research.
How Does Alchemer Fit into All This?
Alchemer’s diverse platform of survey building tools allow you to generate customer feedback and gauge loyalty throughout the sales process. It also integrates with Salesforce to automate lead profile updates and essentially handle most of the research and planning stages for you.
Survey responses integrate cleanly with Salesforce’s innovative CRM platform to push data into lead profiles and activate email marketing and other customer retention and marketing strategies. This next generation of lead research can ensure that you truly do get the most from background information on your sales leads.
By spotting trends fast and better serving your prospective customers in less time, you’ll increase the number and quality of your leads.