Research: Use With Caution!

strike balance in your sales prospecting research

Find Balance in Prospecting Research to Improve Your Team’s Sales Metrics

I know a sports executive who has been president of an NBA team and an NHL team. With all the heavy lifting this person has to do—running marketing, sales, business operations, building a new stadium—sometimes social media isn’t number one on their priority list. I know it took over nine months for that person to change their role on LinkedIn. If you were trying to do business with either of those teams—or that person individually—you’d get very conflicting information on LinkedIn as opposed to Googling them. Not to mention, the individual who took that person’s job would have the same title. Imagine trying to prospect that business and asking for someone who’s no longer there. Would you lose credibility? Probably.

High-performing salespeople know that although research isn’t our job, it’s part of what we do. It can tee-up an opportunity. But we can also get lured into the Medusa’s eye and paralyzed by the amount of infor­mation we can find. Studies have shown that 82 percent of executives feel their sales reps are challenged by the amount of time it takes to research prospects just to make the initial cold call. To be frank, Google and LinkedIn have become purgatory for inefficient sales reps.

On the other side of the coin, we have to be careful because Marketing Sherpas research shows that B2B data decays at a rate of 2.1 percent per month. That’s an annualized rate of 22.5 percent! I’m not saying to completely discount research. It’s a necessary tool in the sales playbook. I’m just saying: find that balance between accuracy and efficiency.