First, let’s start by addressing the most obvious question, “what exactly is prospecting research?” To frame this more simply, what exactly is “prospecting”?
This is a question that seems to have no uniform answer, as everyone seems to understand this process differently, resulting in no standardized way to conduct this type of research.
Prospecting can, however, be broadly described as a series of research processes that fall under one of the following milestones:
- Identifying your ideal customer profile (ICP) and building this into a list.
- Discovering what makes each of these names different.
Together, these milestones sum the process of “prospecting research.”
Let me explain.
Identifying your ICP and building your list
Who is it that you are looking to target? Sounds like a simple enough question, however this can be a very valid concern for many. Don’t worry though - the internet is a goldmine of information, and you just need to know where to start.
There are a few questions that you need to ask yourself in order to figure out what the pool of your prospects look like.
In order to answer these questions, you will first need to know the ins-and-outs of your product! While this is not specifically a pillar of prospecting research, think of it as more of a prerequisite.
Okay, so now you know your product, the value it brings and the pain points it targets. Now what? Well, you’ve got to do some research and build yourself a list of prospects. Take a look at the following four pillars that are involved in identifying your ICP:
1. Industry and location. What industry was your product developed for, and where do you see it’s highest ROI?
Once you know the industry, you have to narrow down on the location that you want to target. Sure, conquering the world sounds wonderful, but you have to be realistic. What location will be the most relevant to your product, or the most profitable? Where is the demand?
2. Pain points. You have now established the industry and location of your ICP, and now you need to figure out who, in this gigantic pool, actually has a need for your product.
Well, you previously determine what pain points your product addresses, so knowing this, you can eliminate any companies that wouldn’t be a fit for your product. To some extent, this might take a fair bit of guesswork, but you simply need to do some research.
3. Company size. Are you going after small to medium sized businesses, or are you looking to target the Fortune 500?
The size of the company can also be used as a good indicator of the amount of expendable revenue a company has to invest in your product.
4. Buyer title. You want to make sure that when you do reach out, you will be reaching out to the right person.
Who is the person that makes the purchasing decisions for your type of product? The Director of Marketing? The VP of Sales? The CEO? It may be a number of people, especially if it is a larger company, but try to reach out to the one that you think is most suitable.
Discovering the uniqueness of each name on the list
Alright, after doing your research and narrowing down your ICP, you should have a list of prospects. Now you need to do even more research in order to understand each individual on your list, and their company.
By doing this, you will be better able to craft a more personalized email, making it more likely that they will respond.
To do this, take a look at the four pillars involved in this part of the prospecting research process:
1. Company details. Take a look at the company page to learn a bit more about the organization. This will help you to not only craft a more personalized email, but it may also help you to identify what specific pain points they may be facing.
Further, taking a look at their website will show them that you have taken the time to understand their product. Remember that they are likely receiving multiple cold emails a day, so this will instantly give you a leg-up on the competition.
2. Social Media. Browse both the prospect’s and/or the company’s Linkedin page or Twitter account to get some more information on them.
By examining a prospects Linkedin page, you may find a common connection between yourself and them. Maybe you went to the same university, or lived in the same city. This can be a good starting point for opening a conversation.
3. Recent news. Simply typing the company name into Google can be worthwhile, as it will allow you to see any recent news about the company.
Maybe the company just launched a new product, or hired a new Director. Maybe they recently made headlines for charity work. Anything that you can find about them will make a difference when you connect. The more you know about them, the better.
4. Blogs and Publications. A good way to find out quick details about either the person you are talking to, or their company, is to search for any blogs or publications that they have published.
It would be beneficial to check to see if their company posts any blogs or publications, and it would be an extra bonus if the person you are contacting actually wrote one.
Each pillar represents a step in prospecting research. After doing you due diligence on all of these points, you should have enough information about your prospect to:
A) be confident that you are emailing someone who could actually use your product
B) be able to make a personalized introduction to increase the probability of a response.
The chart below illustrates the 8 pillars of prospecting research:
Seems like a lot of work goes into prospecting right? I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Luckily for you though, there are solutions out there (shameless self-advertising for Ubico) that can automate this process for you. Think of all the time you’ll save!
If you want to learn more about how Ubico can automate this process for you, please do reach out. We have a little chat widget in the bottom of your screen should you have any questions.
If not, good luck on your researching, and I hope that these points help!