Women in Sales Blog

Oh the things we could accomplish with getting back the time spent on prospecting research...

Posted by Sep 16, 2016 1:38:31 PM Ali Powell

Time. We only have so much of it in a day. What we do with the time in our workday is important.

As a sales rep it is important to spend your time on the right things that will likely yield higher results than if you were spending your time on other things.

Wouldn't it be lovely if you could login to your CRM and pull up your list of target accounts and leads and just start prospecting?

Imagine that the research is all there for you laid out nice and neat. The research is done really, really well too. Not crappy research where you question it. Research done the way you would have done it on your own. The research would be specific to your company and what you sell. Some bot or software would do the work for you and all you have to do is show up and get to work.

Sounds a bit like heaven to me.


Imagine this.

When you get into work, you pull up your CRM and every account and lead was all updated with up to date research on things that you would care about based on what you sell. Imagine the productivity spike! No more time spent doing the research on every account over and over again. Just pull up the account and the contacts under the account and get to work.

A colleague of mine sat down with me the other day and asked me about my process for finding target accounts. She wanted to understand how I source net new accounts, why I would source an account, and what I look for to determine if I would want to work an account. She was curious as to how I spend my days and fit everything in. She wanted to know if I book time on my calendar for prospecting/research and how to hold herself accountable to prospecting.

This was easy for me to answer.

If I am not on a scheduled call or doing work on a current deal I am researching accounts and prospecting them.

I don't set aside blocks of time for prospecting. If there is an open slot on my calendar in between meetings I should be prospecting there.

Here is where my problem lies. I actually like prospecting. I would argue that most reps do. If you have a good, quality account where you have good research and have good reasons you think that you would be able to help them with what you sell and the reasons are also timely...well that's a great situation to be in. I get pumped up when I find an account that has triggers and research that mean what I sell could be timely and helpful. Boom, when you have a trigger that is timely you should be excited to prospect the account.

But, the problem with reps today is that a good portion of your time prospecting is spent on the research part. Not the prospecting part. We need to change that.

I have to research accounts to be able to prospect them well.

Every single time I decide to work an account I spend a good amount of time finding reasons to make me think that what we sell could be helpful AND timely.

I do the research the 1st day I start to work the account. But, that research needs to be updated for when I come back to the account. So I manually have to go setup google alerts, follow them on linkedin, follow them on Twitter, sign up for their newsletter, etc. By doing these things I am hopefully setting myself up for upcoming triggers by hopefully getting notifications on that company when something happens.

Research takes a lot of time. Good research takes even longer. Updating your research every time you go back to that account to work it takes time.

Why is this still the way prospecting research is done? Why isn't there something out there that does it for me?

I don't want to waste good, target accounts by not having research done when I prospect into the account. I decided to work the account for a reason or reasons. If I reach out with out reason then I risk losing the account to bad prospecting.

By not doing quality research on an account that I am prospecting I risk losing the account to bad, unprepared prospecting.

If I call and get the prospect on the line and say something stupid or don't have a reason to be reaching out then that is my fault. I was the dumby who called them without knowing why.

I wouldn't want to talk to me either.

Why are you reaching out to them?

You should know the answer. The answer should be helpful and timely to reach out to the account. Staying on top of your research on all the accounts in your name takes a lot of time.

Prospecting research isn't a one and done type of thing.

I am sick of having to redo all my research every time I want to reach out to someone. I know where I want to look to find research driven reasons to prospect an account but I have to do all of this manually. I know the kinds of things that would mean what I sell could be timely and helpful. I am sick of doing this research manually for every account I want to work.

Why can't a software do this type of prospecting research for me? Why can't a bot or software populate the information for me in my CRM?

I want to do sales in a world like that.

Prospecting research is the biggest time suck for me in any given day.

There is a ton of value in doing research so I would never stop doing it. Every day it seems clearer and clearer to me that there is value in this kind of intelligence as a sales rep. I want to help reps get this kind of information into their daily workflow without having to do the manual work on their own. Why should we spend a good chunk of our time doing this work?

I want sales reps to spend their time being able to do well researched, quality prospecting without having to do the manual research work that goes into it.

Sales reps shouldn't have to spend a good chunk of their day doing research on their accounts. Sales reps should be spending their time on activities that will yield high return.

I want to take the admin work out of this equation.

Researching one account to the extent that I feel good about the reason and plan to reach out could take me 30 minutes. Then taking that research and thinking about the strategy I want to use to work the account takes even more time. Then I can finally start prospecting the account. The steps from there can take a while too. By the time all is said and done and I have done all the research, set myself up for continued triggers and research to come in on the account, reached out to every contact the right way, etc I am sometimes a 1/2 hour in or even an hour on a really high target account.

I want to speed up all of this so sales reps can work more high quality prospects in a day.

What do you think? Would this kind of thing be valuable for you? Would love to hear about any software that you have come across that does all of this for you?

If you happen to be a woman who works in sales you should join our Slack channel called Women in Sales. We are a group of women who all work in sales who want to learn from each other and support each other. Happy selling!

Topics: sales prospecting, precall research, research in the sales process, smart research, prospecting research

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