Years ago, back when I was prospecting at another company, I remember cold calling a lead four or five times before finally getting her on the phone. When I finally did, I realized that I knew nothing about what her company did or even what her role was at that company. After asking some potentially intrusive questions, I discovered that she was the wrong decision maker to call.
I didn’t win the deal because I didn’t have the information I needed to win the deal. I realized then and there that knowing something about a prospect is a heck of a lot better than knowing nothing at all.
Are your inside sales reps still cold calling prospects? If so, it might be time to reexamine your prospecting strategy. Unless you’re selling insurance or something else that has a quick, one-size-fits-all value prop, it pays to know more about prospects than their names. By quickly gathering a bit of data on target prospects and accounts, reps can do a far better job of building lead lists, qualifying leads, identifying key decision makers and having meaningful conversations.
There are several things about prospects that—whenever possible—you should learn about prospects before contacting them. Here are 6 common facts I like to know about prospects prior to reaching out.
4:30 pm can be a great time to call B2B C-level prospects. By then, they’ve often finished their daily grind and are open to chatting about new opportunities. But when it’s 4:30 p.m. here in California, it’s 7:30 p.m. in New York. By 7:30 p.m., most prospects that aren’t complete workaholics are busy having dinner with their families. That’s why you need to know your prospects’ time zone. If I know a prospect is located in New York, I’d can make sure to reach out to them at 4:30 their time. Knowing prospects’ time zone also helps me do a better job of prioritizing when to reach out to each new prospect.
Contact/ Purchase History
Before calling a prospect, check Salesforce to see whether their company has done business with yours before. If they have, it is often a lot easier to keep the prospect on the line or get a call back. It’s likewise important to know whether other reps at your company have reached out to this contact before. If so, there may be some helpful info in Salesforce Chatter or the lead notes field.
Knowing a company’s overall revenue can help you idfentify whether they could potentially have budget for your solutions. As an example, if you’re selling high price tag enterprise solutions and their revenue is in the six figures, their company may not be the right fit for your solutions. This is data that can often be obtained from sources like Dun and Bradstreet (D&B).
Company Funding History
Before dialing a prospect, I like to get a brief overview of their company’s funding history, as getting funding is an important trigger event. As an example, say a target SaaS company just closed a 50 million dollar series B round, this can indicate that they may have a budget to spend on your solutions where they didn’t previously. Sites like AngelList and Crunchbase.
Newly hired executives are often not only given a mandate for change, but also a budget to bring changes to fruition. It is often prudent, when list building, to target prospects that have recently changed jobs. This information is often freely available on LinkedIn.
This is going to sound like common sense, but simply taking the time to identify and briefly research a prospect’s industry before calling can give you a powerful advantage over sales reps that cold call without this knowledge. Tailoring your sales pitch to their industry-specific pain points can really make the difference between getting a second meeting and getting a “thanks, but no thanks.” This is one of the reasons I routinely advocate that reps target specific industry verticals.
When you do get the right decision maker on the phone, here are 21 questions that you can ask to help you qualify them and bring them to a buying decision faster!