Researching a prospect before reaching out to them is crucial because it allows you to personalize your approach and tailor their message to the specific needs and interests of the potential customer. This can increase the prospect’s chances of engaging with the salesperson and ultimately becoming a customer.
Additionally, researching a prospect can provide valuable information such as their current pain points, budget, and decision-making process, which can help the salesperson communicate effectively and close the deal. Furthermore, researching the prospect can also help avoid wasting time reaching out to people who are not a good fit for the product or service offered.
1. Check the Company Website
Use a company’s website to understand:
- How do they view or position themselves in the market (e.g., does the company sell a “business platform for digital media” or do they help “align people and strategy”? Each organization has a primary reason for existence. What is it?
- What do they say they sell, and what are the primary industries they serve (i.e., Maybe they have five major solution areas and serve eight distinct sectors)?
- What is the senior leadership landscape (using the leadership page)?
- What is the vision of the company? Where is it going? (what are leaders saying to investors or the market?)
- Any significant breaking news or changes through the press release and investor relations tab (i.e., acquisitions, new offerings, etc.)
- Example clients (we could have similar client experience)
VIDEO: Watch this video example
2. Listen to the Public Company’s Earnings Call
- An ideal path to gain an understanding of a company’s growth strategies and initiatives
- Where is the company saying they will invest?
- Who are the company’s customers?
- Focus primarily on the CEO’s initial comments and document: where growth has come from, where they expect it to come from, what specific changes are underway or planned
- Use tools like Seeking Alpha to find and read recent earnings reports, as well as use newsletters like FORTUNE Term Sheet to keep up on daily market changes (e.g., acquisitions, funding rounds)
3. Review the Company’s Annual Report
- Review the letter to shareholders (if there is one)
- Review the business description
- Review the risks to the business
- Review the revenue streams
- Review the financials
4. Use LinkedIn to review the company page
At a company level…
- The industry they identify as what?
- Company size (use the employee headcount)
- Changes in sales or marketing headcount by using the “insight” tab
- See if you have any 1st or 2nd-degree connections where you could start
At a contact level…
- How they define their role & responsibilities (not always available)
- How long have they been at the company
- See if they either worked at or followed one of our clients
- Any common connections
5. Find Contacts in LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator Tips for Researching
- Use the advanced search feature to apply filters when searching for new contacts and accounts.
- What are they working on? What are their initiatives?
- When creating search lists, consider applying filters like geography, years in current position, relationship to you, company headcount, and department headcount growth.
- You should save your search lists and track changes to this population over time while checking back frequently.
- Consider saving search lists like your 1st or 2nd-degree connections who have changed jobs in the last 90 days at companies larger with more than 500 employees.
6. Determine Where the Company is Investing for Growth
- Search for the investor relations page on the website, and watch analyst presentations
- Search finance.yahoo.com for news and updates on moves the company is making
- Review the annual report and letter to shareholders (if they have one) to see where the company is focused and what its strategies are for growth
- See where executives are “liking” and “sharing” content on LinkedIn. What are they reinforcing? What are they commenting on?
- Search for news coverage or press releases by the company and see what they are saying about where they are going
7. See what the Company’s Social Media Accounts are Saying
What are they focused on? What does it look like to make their customers successful?
- What are their videos on YouTube focused on?
- What impact are they trying to drive with their customers and prospects? What does the social media presence say?
- What are they tweeting about or posting about on LinkedIn?
8. Setup Google Alerts and News
- Insights about a company come from observing a company over time.
- Set alerts at https://www.google.com/alertsto monitor initiatives, topics, businesses, and executives related to your top accounts and targets.
- Set the alerts about the company, organization, or about products, or specific vital topics they are involved with
- With alerts, you will receive a notification in your inbox when your topics appear in content or a webpage indexed by Google.
- Use the content to stay current on these topics, uncover prospects, customize messages, and identify reasons for outreach.