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How to Research B2B Sales Leads Like a Pro

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, September 4, 2019


Sales and marketing is a little bit like a job interview. Ideally in both situations, all involved parties get something valuable. But if you walk into a job interview without knowing anything about the company you are applying for, chances are it will be an uncomfortable experience.

The same holds true for sales and marketing professionals. Although it can be quite daunting to initiate a sales relationship with a new company, researching and understanding a prospective client's business before that first sales call is an essential process, especially in the manufacturing industry.

Why Research?

Manufacturing encompasses thousands of different disciplines, products and industries. On the surface, many of them may appear to be similar. Perhaps you are used to dealing with companies that manufacture outdoor furniture, but suddenly you are being tasked with selling to a company that produces automotive parts.

A little apprehension should be natural, as it lets you know there are things you need to learn about that particular business. This is where research comes into play. It provides you with enough expert knowledge to convince executives that you understand their specific needs and can be an asset to their operation.

Where to Research

The internet is a gold mine of information to help you become better educated on different industries. Because time is valuable, knowing where to search can help you maximize your efforts. Search engines can be beneficial, but depending on the particular algorithms in use, results can be mixed. This is especially true for less commonly searched terms, fields or companies.

Visiting the company's website can provide information on what they make, how they make it and any special abilities that make them stand out from the competition. For general information about issues that affect the entire sector, industry journals can give you a comprehensive assessment of what the sector, or individual business, is experiencing.

Know their Challenges

It is important to understand the processes a business uses to make its product. Have you ever seen an injection molding machine in operation? What about the supply chain issues that automobile part manufacturers face? Are there regulations that may complicate the production process or distribution of finished products? Brushing up on relevant topics will give you an advantage in relating to a potential customer's needs.

Stand Out Among the Crowd

Learning special facts about the company may endear you to your contact. Besides being a great conversation starter, it is extremely flattering for someone to know about a certain patent that a company may have just received.

Perhaps the company just won an award for environmental stewardship. Or there may be a manufacturing method that they pioneered. All of these can help grease the rails in the first few minutes of a conversation.

The People Behind it All

Industry research means nothing if you do not form a connection with the people who make everything happen. The most effective method of learning about them is through social media and networking applications, such as Facebook, Twitter Linkedin and Instagram.

Depending on how much an individual shares, you can learn about their alma mater, position in the company, prior experience (maybe you both share similar experiences), hobbies and other industry connections. Knowing this can help smooth over the initial and sometimes awkward start to a conversation and put you on a personal level with your contact.

Superior Sales Support from IndustrySelect

With an IndustrySelect subscription, you can find all comprehensive and relevant information to make a positive and lasting set of industry contacts in one place. When viewing a company profile, IndustrySelect will show a list of articles related to the company. Displayed in the "Related News Article" section, these articles are culled from the internet via an integration with Bing News.

IndustrySelect also offers in-depth analysis of a particular industry via highly focused and specific blog articles. These provide sales professionals with a knowledge advantage prior to placing that initial call.

IndustrySelect maintains a database of more than 400,000 manufacturers and one million executives. For each of those companies, IndustrySelect provides direct contact data for executives, so that your message gets to to the right person.

With IndustrySelect, you can build a list of prospects, learn about a particular company or just educate yourself on a certain industry, and have the tools in-hand to make sales happen faster and easier.

Try out a free demo today!



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