The past half-decade has witnessed a massive change in the way companies (even countries) do business. Global recession coupled with liquidity crisis, the fall of iconic institutions, collapse of investor-customer confidence, increased regulatory compliance requirements in the aftermath, have left organisations to grapple with stiffer competition, tighter budgets and higher targets. Nowhere perhaps the pressure is so acutely felt than in the sales teams across companies who have to overcome lengthened sales cycles, reduced spending and increased quotas. The direness of the situation has forced many companies to embrace Sales Intelligence programs in a big way. Sales teams are increasingly contextualizing business opportunities by unearthing relevant industry, corporate and personal information to improve the quality and quantity of sales leads. But question is, “How much time can you, or rather, should you devote to research on prospective customers”?
A vital question, since too much time spent on researching could be a waste, while too little may lead to awkwardness in the meeting or the call as the case may be. How do you arrive at the optimal time then? Difficult to pin-point, for it will depend on a variety of factors such as:
• The size of the company under consideration
• The penetration of its brands, particularly, the brand you are vying for
• The history of its marketing strategies
• The prospect you are engaging with
Having said this, the following points will help you to take a call on how much time should be spent on researching about your prospects.
What is the quantum of information available in the public domain? Despite the age of the internet and social-media, you may come across many prospects who do not have much information about their company in the public domain. In most of these cases, you will at best get their basic contact details upon searching. Why then, waste time and resources scouting for what is unavailable? Make sure you advise your sales intelligence team to spend minimal time researching about such prospects.
What is your anticipated deal size? This should be, by far, your most important consideration. It is advisable to have a questionnaire ready, such that the basic details and information are quickly filled in before the team member moves on to the next prospect.
What if you are vying for a large account? An account that could change the dynamics of your business? Suggest you elaborate the essentials to your team emphasising the importance and stakes involved. Give them decent time to draw up an informative list of the prospects footprints across interest areas. Monitor the progress personally so that you get the desired results with minimal waste and rework
Finally, weigh your options of setting up a highly digitised gear or a big sales intelligence team for your prospects research function, ascertain if you really need that kind of infrastructure and an internal 360 Degree monitoring function. Check if you could benefit by outsourcing your sales-intelligence requirements to an expert research agency for monetary consideration, scale and time. A cost-benefit analysis against the above-mentioned parameters should be your path-finder.
For a free sample report on one of your prospects, Click Here.