Every sales rep should be doing research on their leads. When you get an inbound lead, when you source a lead, when you get a lead through a trade show or event...I don't think it matters where it is from but you should be noting certain things before you pick up the phone. Smart research is the most important part of your prospecting and outreach. If you don't do smart research in the sales process you are less likely to actually get the chance to help that company. If you arm yourself with research you will have a good reason to reach out.
Sales reps only have so much time in the day. Maximizing your time is important for your short term and long term success as a sales rep. The best skill you can learn as a sales rep is the art of a good research. At HubSpot we call this whole process smart prospecting.
Definition of Smart Research:
Process of identifying key points from a lead that would lead you to believe that what you sell is relevant to their situation and could potentially be timely for their business goals.
How to assess the lead and do smart research:
1. Learn and define a good fit for your product or service that you sell.
If you are sourcing your leads yourself figure out the types of things that ideal fits and good customers of yours have in common. Ask yourself questions about what makes a good fit and why? Why is something timely or relevant for the companies that buy your service or product. That will lead you to the types of research you should be doing on your leads.
2. Always know why you are reaching out to a company. If you don't have a reason to be reaching out, you should not be reaching out.
Never, ever, EVER call a lead that you don't know anything about. Whatever way you got the lead is not the important part. The important part is that you have it. Now it is your job to assess the situation and figure out why you think you can help. You might find out in this process that you might not be able to help. If that is the case, get rid of it. Why would you work a lead where you don't have a good chance at helping them? That is a waste of time if you ask me. Optimize your time by working leads in a smart way.
3. As you start to work on these "triggers" share them with your team and collaborate on what you are learning.
Have a brainstorming session about the types of things you should be researching when you are starting to prospect a lead or company. Keep a running list of those in an excel file and share them with your colleagues. Would they think of the same ones? Are there ones that you should add or delete? Try to get a few people on your sales team doing this at the same to test your results of this type of research and identification of your leads.
4. As you do your smart research note the things you are learning about the company in CRM so you don't have to do the research over and over again.
Once you have figured out what those top things are note those in CRM when you are about to work the lead. Once you have done all of your research you should be able to assess which of those triggers is the most important one or the most relevant one that you should work that lead based upon.
In my next post I will write about how to take this information and create a really relevant reason as to why you are reaching out to someone with the smart research you have done on your lead.