Cold Calls Warm with Research in Advance

We are assuming you are doing inbound marketing in your b2b business. The question I was asked:

"Would you rather make 100 cold calls or 20 well-researched calls to b2b sales prospects?" (A trick question?)

Of course we’d all take the 20 higher caliber conversations over a “dialing for dollars” mentality. In fact those days of calling anyone without research are long O-V-E-R.

Here are some tips and tools gleaned in a fun roundtable conversation on Pre-Call Research I participated in through the Docusign SalesGuru site which included the following experts:

Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools, Miles Austin of Fill the Funnel, and Lars Nilsson of SalesSource

The archived audio is an hour long and I promise that if you listen to it, you'll pick up a tip or a tool you didn't know about - since all of us on the panel took notes as well.

Pre-Research Tools to look into:

Our #1 “go-to” is LinkedIn for research. Look into “advanced search”. Even without upgrading to a paid account you can glean a lot of pre-call information through LinkedIn.

Look at and join LinkedIn groups in your target niche. Get involved, add value, and make connections. Just like participating in an in-person organization, you usually get little value without being involved.

Prospecting and LeadGen Tools (in no particular order)

Data.com (integrated into Salesforce.com)

Jigsaw InsideView Netprospex OneSource

Zite Alltop SiftSocial

Gist Rapportive ConnectedHQ

Rainking (to understand a prospect’s tech platform)

Don’t forget free tools like Google Alerts and Twitter for research

Subscribe to news services that serve each market your prospects are in.

Bottom line:

Block out time in your calendar to prospect and to do prospect research.

Don’t call anyone without knowing something about their company, about them, about their industry and issues, or without some connection. Faking it doesn’t count. That is bad – don’t do that!

Work quickly when doing research – it is easy to get caught in an endless research mentality and you may forget how little you are actually on the phone or reaching out at all. If you have any sort of call reluctance, and many sales people do, you need to time your research and keep an eye on it.

Also check out: 4 Sales Tips for Reaching Prospects by Phone recently published.

Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012″ and one of “20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management”. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.

Topics: B2B

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