3 Ways to Research Prospects Online to Grow Sales

by Lori Richardson on January 10, 2013

courtesy of InsideView

courtesy of InsideView

If your B2B company has been slow to get more involved in what some call the Social Selling movement, you can still do some very simple things right away while your company debates how, when and why to jump in. Since we encourage clients to make small improvements every day, we are less concerned about your global strategies and more interested in you taking some small specific actions.

A big win for your sales team would be to find more prospective customers and start listening to what they are saying. The reason you want to hear what buyers are talking about is because it helps educate your salespeople on what is going on in your buyer’s world. There is no replacement for this, and when so much data and insight is available online, one would wonder why companies are ignoring such a gift.

 

Here are three simple ideas to help you get started.

1. Set up (or finally start using) your Twitter account – you should have done this already. Reserve your company name and use Twitter to listen to what is going on in your buyer’s niche, sector, and company. We have a client who started doing this, and within a couple weeks gained 4 PPOA’s (Possible Points of Access -ways to get closer to the buyer based on issues, locations, and ideas the buyer was talking about). They just set a first meeting with this prospect company who earlier would not interact with them.

HELPFUL:  Download InsideView’s Twitter for Social Selling Guide here.  Read it.  Learn how to find what your buyers are talking about then do some monitoring for a few weeks. You’ll know in short order if your time is well spent.

2. Do general search on the web. Look for more of what your buyer and their niche, category, or sector are talking about. Start with simple Google searches. Learn about more complex searching. If your potential buyer  is a sales recruiter, for example, you can see where they are active and what they are working on, then tailor your messaging to better fit what their world is like currently.

3. Try free tools to help monitor activity of your buyer – companies and individuals. We like InsideView, where you can set up a Company Watchlist and get a daily update on changes and possible trigger events happening in these companies. LinkedIn can also give you a weekly update from any saved searches you do for specific job titles in specific regions. If I call on manufacturing CTOs in North America I can get an alert weekly when anyone updates their profile with that title.

Read the Eloqua Grand Guide to Social Selling. On page 4, there are 6 Steps for Getting Started with Social Selling that you’ll find helpful.

If you are a sales rep in a company that is not supporting you with social tools, do it ON YOUR OWN. That’s right – it’s your territory and your career – don’t wait for the powers that be to determine how social you can get. Spend Power Saturdays or Sundays getting your social strategy going- you won’t regret it.

Want to cut to the chase and get some help with this, or get a quick Social Assessment? Let us know, we’ll be happy to discuss.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized as one of the “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012″ and one of “20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management”. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling.

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Amber King

    Great advice Lori. More and more prospects go online these days and business need to be have an online presence in order to find them.

  • http://twitter.com/insideview InsideView

    Thanks Lori for including InsideView in your post!

  • http://69.195.124.93/~scoremo1 Lori Richardson

    It was easy, because such a good tool to use.

  • http://69.195.124.93/~scoremo1 Lori Richardson

    Thanks, Amber – it’s really true, and online your “virtual presence” can work for you 24 hours a day!

  • http://twitter.com/TobyLeads Toby Marshall

    Some sage advice here, Lori. How else will you know what your prospects want if you don’t do the research? As a B2B marketer, I find LinkedIn a very useful tool to find out more about my VIPs (Very Important Prospects). In this new age of social media, the information is readily available – seek and you shall find.

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