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5 Incredibly Easy Ways To Get To Know Your Prospect Before The Sales Call

Once you have a sales call set up and confirmed, you have everything you need: the person, the initial interest, and the agreed upon time. Right?

Not quite.

To do right by your prospect, you need to track down some key info before you dial. This pre-call ritual will help you deliver the utmost value and keep their attention. From our team’s experience and research, 12 key items stand out.

Here’s a handy spreadsheet to help you log your research (especially if you plan to follow up by email). 

checklist sales call research

Keep reading for more info on where to find each of the checklist items before your next sales call.

Step One: Check Your CRM System (30 seconds)

Quickly scan to see the lead source. If your prospect has engaged with your marketing content in the past (landing page visit, eBook download, webinar sign-up, etc), you can reference this on the sales call. Also look for notes on past interactions with other sales team members and what (if anything) happened.

Step Two: Hit the Company Website (2 minutes)

Go to your prospect’s company website and hit each of these four key pages before you call:

  1. About Us
  2. Careers / Open Positions
  3. News
  4. Blog

Here’s what you’ll want to look for on each page and how it will help you carry the conversation:

sales-call-company-about

About Us page: Keep an eye out for mutual acquaintances (investor, board member, or even mutual customer) that you can reference on your sales call. If your prospect hears that someone they know trusts your company, they’ll be more likely to give you the time of day. That’s the power of social proof.

sales-call-company-website-careers

Careers page: Open job listings will often include what software the company is currently using and the pain points they hope to fix with a new hire. Can your offering help them with these pressing issues?

sales-call-company-website-news

News section: Look for triggers or action events that align your offering with the company’s immediate needs. Not only is it an excellent conversation starter, it also shows that you’ve done your homework, which is psychologically proven to make people more motivated to help you in return.

sales-call-company-website-blog

Blog: Don’t spend too much time here—just a quick scan to see what the company is talking about and if your prospect is actively contributing.

Step 3: Look at LinkedIn (2 minutes)

First, check his/her LinkedIn profile to see if you have any mutual connections. Executives (who are often your decision makers) respond positively to referrals 84% of the time.

Next, take a quick look at Recent Activity. Here’s how to access it:

GIF-how-to-find-recent-activity

And here’s the information you should flag for your sales call:

sales-call-LinkedIn-recent-activity

Then look for this info in the profile itself:

sales-call-LinkedIn-profile

Make note of any 1) recent career highs or 2) similarities you share with this person. Here’s why:

  1. Complimenting personal accomplishments during a sales call creates subconscious, positive attitudes of you and your company. In fact, recent research shows that even when prospects are aware of flattery being used as a sales tactic, they are still left with an implicit positive impression.
  2. Similarities draw people together — especially in B2B buying decisions. Sharing even a coincidental similarity with your prospect, such as having the same first name or having attended the same school, can increase his/her willingness to buy from you.

More LinkedIn – If You Have Time / Need More for Your Sales Call (2 minutes)

If your contact is a member of a group related to what your company does, Google ‘Contact Name’ and ‘Group Name’ to find speaking engagements or events participated in.

For example, if you search our CEO and a LinkedIn group he is a part of (Babson MBA), it leads you to this result—a description of a podcast that Matthew participated in:

Matthew-Bellows-Babson-Alum

If you then search the podcast name with Matthew’s name, you can actually access the podcast (below) and listen to a minute or so. You can point to public engagements like this on your sales call as a way of showing you know your prospect.

Founder-to-CEO-Matthew-Bellows

To better understand where your product or service fits in with your prospect’s team as a whole, perform an advanced LinkedIn search.

sales-call-LinkedIn-advanced-search

Here’s how:

GIF-How-to-LinkedIn-Advanced-Search

Depending on company size, you might find the entire team right there in your scroll.

sales-call-bonus-tip

Step Four: Check Out Twitter (1 minute)

Find accounts for both your prospect and the prospective company to give you intel for your sales call.

sales-call-twitter-search

To find your contact’s personal profile, type the company handle into the ‘Search Twitter’ bar. Instead of pressing Enter, choose the ‘Search all people’ query to see a list of all employees with the company’s handle in their bio.

 

Step Five: Competitor Pages (2 minutes)

Perform a quick gap analysis to understand the challenges and goals of your prospect. No doubt, he/she is hard at work catching up to competitors in some areas and staying one step ahead in others.

sales-call-competitor-gap-analysis

Find areas for growth and flag them. This info will help you to outline how you can improve your prospect’s efficiency at daily to-do’s and longer term objectives. During your sales call, use it to give objective suggestions without being condescending.

To find your prospect’s competitors, Google: ‘company name + competitor’ or, if you sell to tech companies, try G2 Crowd. You can also use the free tools below.

Other Free Tools to Use Before Your Next Sales Call

sales-call-tips-tools

Crunchbase – Access information on acquisitions, funding, investors, board members, founders, products, competitors, upcoming events, and more.

Datanyze Insider – Download the free browser extension for one-click access to revenue, number of employees, tech providers, social profiles, Crunchbase account with funding.

Ghostery – This free browser extension allows you to see the marketing and advertising vendors that a company works with on the back end.

Datafox – Create a free log-in to pull startup stage, total funding, employees, general info, conferences, and industry competitors.

InsideView – With a free 7-day trial you can access a company overview, family tree, and buzz.

Discover.org – If your customers are in Marketing, IT, or Finance departments, set up a free account to access data like organizational charts for your prospective companies.

Time to Call

Failing to do research comes across as a selfish sales pitch. No one wants that. Personalize your call to create credibility and to power your persuasiveness. An informed dialogue cultivates open, honest conversation that leads to true consideration as a vendor.

sales-call-warm-cold-approach

If you find these tips helpful or have additional suggestions, please comment and let us know!