It cannot be said enough that proper preparation influences the outcome of any meeting.
This is even more important in a sales meeting. There is a very short amount of time to make a proper impression as an individual. Up until this point, most of the prospect’s interactions have been with marketing efforts or perhaps an email exchange or two with a salesperson to coordinate a time to speak directly. Everyone has worked so hard to get to this moment so why squander it without a bit of preparation on the industry, company, and person?
This assumes the salesperson has command over the problem they are solving and the outcome the customer is seeking. If not, then they should head back to sales training as they are not ready for a sales call.
There are so many resources available to research company-related news.
If the meeting is with a publicly traded company, a quick search on their ticker symbol will give you the highlights. Pay special attention to good news (revenue, earnings, expansion) or bad news (layoffs, lawsuits, or missed forecasts) as these can definitely influence the mood in the meeting and the trajectory of the deal being pursued. Watch for other significant events be those acquisitions or industry recognition like being named a best place to work.
All of this information is public and easily discoverable with a quick web search. There are no shortage of news and content aggregation tools out there ranging from simple mobile applications to more advanced news clipping services.
Great salespeople add understanding what’s new about a company to their preparation regimen.
Even a quick scan of recent press on the company web site or reading the last couple blog posts can go a long way to demonstrate care about the opportunity and highlight proper preparation for the discussion. Do be careful about when and how all of this information is used with the goal of knitting it into the conversation versus directly referencing research and preparation efforts. We also live in a day and age where information is available about the person or persons in the meeting.
Use LinkedIn to research the person’s background and interests.
See what they have written either on the company blog or their own. Do they use Twitter or other social feeds? See what they share to get some insight prior to the discussion.
As with company information, there are many tools available to aggregate all of this publicly available personal profile data and then allow you to add notes, actions, and events. Be sure to make the best use of technology to help with your preparation efforts and use the information gathered tactfully and in context.
As part of preparing for a sales pitch, have an accurate understanding of who makes what decisions. Is this the decision maker, an influencer, or someone who is neither?
Understand how the decision will unfold then map preparation efforts to that path including knowing ahead of time who needs to be in the next conversation. Contact us if you’d like us to tell you more or schedule a demo. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.