Conducting Corporate Research
The obvious place to begin researching a company in preparation for prospecting is a thorough review of a company’s website. This will give you a solid foundation about the company. It is important, however, to remember that a company’s website is a careful representation of that company. The information presented is a well-scrubbed story developed by their marketing department.
Next, it is important to research the company further with more neutral information. Doing a search for news articles about the company will be quite helpful to see what type of media coverage, if any, has taken place in recent years. Google News searches of the company name, the industry, the location of the company and so on are good initial news searches. As you start to see what type of results are returned, you can alter your search terms to pare down the results. Also check any local news sources and trade journals that are applicable to the company.
Another business-related site that can be useful when doing corporate research is Corporate Affiliations. This site can provide company profiles, information on executives, and other important corporate data so you are ready for any way the discussion may turn.
For information with a local touch, such as companies in the northeast, LexisNexis Sales Explorer eBook provides company information, business financials, and contacts in the northeastern states with minimum annual revenue of $10 million.
Putting Your Research to Work
Once you have conducted adequate research, whether it is for an industry, a specific company, or a particular executive, it is time to put that information to work. One of the most important qualities to have when prospecting is to listen. Understand the challenges of that company and work to solve them. That is where all the research you have conducted will come to light. Show you have done your homework and you have the answer to their challenges.
When prospecting is done correctly, it can make a big impact on sales growth. Make sure to listen and keep your prospect’s business challenges in the forefront of your mind. Let them know you care about working with their company to improve their business and you will become a trusted ally.