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Effectively researching a prospect/company before a sales call

To present yourself as a trusted advisor to the prospect, it is paramount you prepare for the first call/live meeting. Here are some thoughts on how to do that effectively.

Visit Their Website: Start by going to the potential customer's website and carefully perusing all of its components. Pay close attention to their mission statement, products or services offered, case studies, and testimonials on their about us page. This will provide you a thorough understanding of their company and their main services.

Read the company's annual report (if it is public): When reviewing the annual report, focus on analysing the company's financial performance such as revenue, profits, and noteworthy changes. Gain an understanding of the company's goals and objectives for the year, while identifying major accomplishments, milestones, and challenges outlined in the report. Pay attention to sections that discuss market trends, industry analysis, and the company's position within the market. Additionally, take note of the prospect's commitment to corporate social responsibility, sustainability efforts, and community involvement as these sections can provide valuable insights into their values and priorities.

Read the CEO's statement: When reading the CEO's statement, focus on gaining insights into the CEO's vision and strategic direction for the company. Look for mentions of key initiatives, new product or service developments, and expansion plans that can indicate future opportunities. Understand the CEO's perspective on industry challenges, market opportunities, and the competitive landscape, as this will help you align your sales pitch accordingly. Pay attention to references to customer-centricity, innovation, or digital transformation, as these areas may be of particular importance to the prospect. Take note of any key messages or priorities emphasized by the CEO, as they can guide your approach and highlight areas where your solution can provide value.

Read the Chair's statement: The Chair's statement offers a broader perspective on the company's performance and strategic outlook. Look for mentions of long-term goals, corporate governance, and shareholder value creation to understand the company's overall direction. Gain insights into the Chairman's perspective on risk management, regulatory compliance, and corporate culture, as these factors can impact your sales approach. Pay attention to references to mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, or organizational changes that may affect your sales strategy. Additionally, note any specific challenges or opportunities highlighted by the Chairman, as they can help you tailor your solution to address their unique needs and circumstances.

Examine the prospect's social media profiles: on platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Look for articles, conversations, or postings that provide information on the difficulties facing their industry, current projects, or any potential pain areas. Pay close attention to how they engage with clients or other influential figures in the sector, since this can reveal important details about their goals and passions.

Reading the LinkedIn profiles of team members in your prospect's team is an effective way to prepare for a meeting. So, if you are meeting with a Procurement Director, read the descriptions of every member of the procurement/sourcing team. This will present you with the projects they have/are working on, what technology they use and how they think about their role within the company. In turn, from this information, you can hypothesise about the departmental challenges and roadmap - and where you and your solution may be able to help.

Conduct a Google search to uncover any current news or press releases: pertaining to the prospect's company. Keep an eye out for updates on any significant achievements, partnerships, or product releases. You can better grasp their present areas of focus and potential areas of cooperation with the aid of this information.

Industry Research: Familiarize yourself with the prospect's industry by conducting industry-specific research. Read industry publications, blogs, or forums to gain knowledge about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in their field. This will enable you to speak confidently about industry-related topics and position your product or service as a relevant solution.

Review Competitors: Understand the prospect's competitors and their market positioning. Identify what sets your prospect apart from their competition and how your product or service can provide a unique advantage. By demonstrating your knowledge of the competitive landscape, you can showcase your expertise and understanding of their industry.

In conclusion, being ready for a sales meeting with a prospect is an essential first step. Effective preparation starts with thorough research, which enables you to comprehend the objectives, needs, and priorities of your prospect. You can learn useful information that will enable you to customise your sales pitch to their particular needs by spending time investigating their website, social media presence, annual reports, CEO remarks, and chairman statements.

A convincing value offer, clear objectives, and foreseeing objections are further crucial components of preparedness. Your confidence and adaptability during the meeting are boosted by developing compelling presentation materials, honing your pitch, and making plans for various eventualities. Finally, developing a follow-up approach guarantees that you keep the relationship going after the original meeting and retain momentum.

Alex Nicholls-Gray


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