Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Solution Selling and Business Intelligence - Intelligent Business.

Before you call your next client- have you done your research homework ?

Challenge:            How would you fair on the following test right now?

 On a piece of paper , draw three columns  name three clients you are next going to call and write the names at the top of each column.  You might choose for example an Existing Client 1st Column, A Qualified Prospect for column 2 and new Prospect for column 3.

 Then  for each column answer the following nine questions. - be brave and commit yourself to paper and record your answers.

Away you go - good luck.

1. What latest news for their industry sector have your found out? (Market and Global)

2. What are the main challenges of the client’s company have you researched?(Company and Market)

3. What are the likely priorities that you have unearthed? (Company)

4. Where are the new potential customers to be found? in their markets? (Market Global?)

5. Who are the main 'players' in their market? (Market)

6. Where are the new opportunities in their market? (Global, Market, Company)

7. What are their competitors up to? (Market)

8. Who’s who, who’s where, who’s moved? ( Who's who in the Zoo) – you really oughta to know werhoos werhoo*. (Company)
9. Who are their connections on LinkedIn etc? (Company)
How well did you do? Quite  a tough audit into our research skills for a call wasn't it?

TACK International Buyers Views Research Buyers tell us they expect salespeople to know not just  about their products but also about the client's company and market sector in some detail ahead of the meeting / call contact.

I guess we can all research better and improve our insight into the business and market place.

So let's look at how  we might improve our insight
What do we need to know ?

Let’s start with the Client Company

a.       First port of call is the client’s company website. But once there, what should you research for? It is easy to waste time on web searches so prepare  for yourself some questions ( even write them down like the ones in the challenge if you feel they are relevant) otherwise one tends to just react and can fall into the danger of being distracted from our main purpose or research. We can be like a spider caught up in the web and miss the fly!
To avoid getting entangled, try to get an idea of their business by considering 1. who are their suppliers?  2.What do their suppliers provide the client with ?  3.What does they client do?  4. Who are the client’s companies? 5. What value does the client give to their clients?

Remember the client’s website is primarily designed for their clients to look at ,not necessarily their suppliers ,so we may have to hunt around a bit for the information we want.

It’s worth looking at the ‘About us’ and ‘What’s new?’ or ‘News'  areas. ( Although it sometimes shows how they don't keep their website up to date!- but that's information for us as well I guess)

It is valuable to surf the Web  for news items, reports about the client company. Try the on line Business media services like the The Financial Times (FT) .

If your research target  are  a publicly quoted company maybe the Business pages of the papers or on line versions can help. It could be useful to set up a Google alerts for your target company.

b.      Next it is worth investigating the individual contacts or potential contacts within the company. Enter the contact’s name into the search box of their company website see if that produces anything.

c.        Google the contacts name and see what that reveals. Don’t  forget to try  google-images Google Images to see if you can find a photo of your contact. You tube is used a search engine in its own right.
 For example  Neutrino Business Intelligence ( Neutrino BI)

 You tube clip about Neutrino Business Intelligence

d.      Is your target on LinkedIn? Have a look at their profile. Look at their past jobs, qualifications etc. Also search amongst the various industry groups within linked in.

e.      Do they do twitter for business?

f.        Has their company produced any videos on Twitter e.g. demos. Trainings etc.

g.       Do they have a Facebook profile?

h.      Do they have a work blog?

It always amazes me the huge variety of trade magazines published.
 The Guest publication spot on BBC One's 'Have I got news for you?' illustrates this point.
 Next, finding out more about Client’s market

a.       Google for trade bodies, institutes

b.      What are the trade sector magazines or publications – If the trade sector is not familiar to you try looking up BRAD in reference section of Public Library . Often referred to as the Advertiser’s Bible it holds information on the advertising rates for the magazines do a search for market sector you are interested in and you can find out the magazine titles On line versions BRAD Insights

d.      Look at the Government website like  UKTI

Finally don’t overlook researching at the Global level.  How can you really speak at a high level as a business Adviser and Trust level if you don’t know the news.

a.       At a Basic level know the front page and last page of a newspaper. Most national and local papers it’s the news of the day on the front page and the sport on the back page. If you are staying overnight away from home and your hotel ask you which nespaper you would like why not ask for the local newspaper- it will give you an insight into the area you are visiting.

 Information gleened  helps with the small talk with a client- if you discern that that is what the client wants. (Don’t forget though that 25% _+ will want you to 'cut the **** and get on with it' straightaway – i.e. ( Start Listening and Questioning from the start!)

b.      Take a look at sites like  The Economist , Institute of Directors (IOD),
Related Links:

Next episode of 2 Have I got news for you?" Epsiode 1 series 43. 9 p.m. on Friday 13th April 2012 BBC One

*Fun video - why knowing who's who is important
 (Muppets' version of the GNU song of Flanders and Swan - You tube)

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