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Helpful Research Steps Prior to Making Cold Calls

When cold calling against a named account list, it is critical to prepare for each cold call by doing some research prior to getting on the phone.  Not only can doing some research improve the chances of having a successful cold call, but with a finite list of accounts, it is important to get the most out of each attempt to get into an account when making cold calls.

There are some key areas where we can spend time doing some research and those are outlined below:


Industry

Every prospect will be part of and operating inside of an industry.  Each industry will be its own ecosystem with news, trends, language, etc.  Before calling into a target prospect, identify what industry they fall under and try to learn what you can about it.

Resources to find information about an industry are industry trade publications and websites.  Doing generic web searches for news related to the industry can be a good way to find current events and trends.


Company Background

It is important to have a good understanding of the prospect’s company when making cold calls.  In the old school world of sales, the sales person would start out a meeting by saying, “Tell me about your business.”  Today, prospects expect you to already know about their business in terms of history, offering, organization, challenges, etc.

The prospect’s website is a good place to start when trying to research their company.  It is good to review the company’s history to learn about the road the company has traveled.  Another good source of information on a business’s website is their listing of news articles and press releases.

A valuable resource for company information is the annual report.  An annual report will typically provide a summary of the business environment that the company is operating in and some insights in terms of overall strategy and direction.  You can also analyze some of the financial data in the annual report to find some trends or challenges in there business and these can be discussion points when making cold calls.

 

 


Key Players

When preparing for making cold calls, it can be helpful to research who the key players are in the organization.  Not only can this help you to navigate the organization, but it may also provide valuable discussion points by learning about what the individual’s backgrounds are.

You may be able to find information on executives and managers on a company’s website.  Social media like LinkedIn is also a great place to research the key players.


Portfolio of Products

When making cold calls, it is important to understand what a company does and sells in terms of their products and services.  A company’s website is usually a sufficient resource to use to gather this information.


Competitive Landscape

It can be very beneficial to be aware of the prospect’s competitive landscape when cold calling.  This would involve not only knowing who the competitors are, but also knowing how they stack up against one another and how they compare to the prospect.

Running web searches on the industry and companies will help to gather some good data in this area.  There are also a number of financial and market analysis web sites that compile this data and have it in centralized and summarized formats.


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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales training helping sales professionals to drive sales effectiveness.

 

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This article was published on Tuesday 19 April, 2011.

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