Here are few questions for you:
Is it important to research individual accounts and decision makers before you call?
Does that research increase your appointment setting success overall?
Or is research just a waste of time and only slows you down?
There’s no doubt the research is an important part of any effective prospecting system. The thing is that it’s easier get bogged down with research details and never get to pick up the phone.
- “Oh I want to know more about the prospect”
- “I want to get his education history on LinkedIn”
- “Maybe he’s tweeting something relevant, I’m going through his tweets”
- And so on
Enter: the rabbit hole of redundancy.
I will share with you an effective framework for researching hundreds of leads in less time. But before that, let’s consider the importance of research.
Is it important to research individual leads before you call?
Yes. You want to have enough information to be able to make your call or outreach relevant to them. The keyword is enough. Enough research is ‘relevant research’.
Examples of not relevant research
- School the decision maker went to
- Name of their daughter on Facebook
- Last vacation place as per their tweet
- Opinion on politics or religion
Examples of relevant research
- Industry of company
- Company’s value proposition
- Most industry-specific problems you can help solve
- Contextual press release & Annual reports
Maybe you’re thinking: that relevant research may take a lot of time. In reality, it doesn’t if you know exactly where and how to find such data (more on that in my next email).
Does research increase your appointment setting success overall?
Yes. The next important question is: to what extent?
While some form of research helps you to personalize your emails or calls, the level of “okayness” vary from industry to industry, and also from persona to persona.
Research for CFO needs to lead with strong ROI insights. Research for Speech Therapists needs to lead with care and empathy.
Your goal is to determine the point of diminishing research returns. If the research gets you at least 1 appointment out of every 10 connects, it’s good. 10 out of 10, it’s great!
Is research just a waste of time and only slows you down?
Well, we have answered this indirectly: it’s not a waste of time. And when done right, with an effective framework, it will not slow you down at all.
It’s helpful to consider blocking time in your calendar separately for researching and another for prospecting. This ensures that you have a dedicated time to these two important aspects.
Imagine you’re researching one journalist. It’s very easy to do a thorough research about her work, read some articles she has written and even go through her social profiles to find relevant content.
Although it will take time, you know it’s worth it. You give it a shot. And it works
Quick, effective research framework
Now imagine again that, you’re researching a hundred journalists. Uuuggh!
The thought of it alone can stifle you with inaction.
We know “researching” and “prospecting” are two different things. Equally important though.
Here’s a simple framework I personally use to systematize my research. It makes my process a little easier. Easier is good.
The framework has 3 parts.
1) Basic: “Who’s the prospect?”
This is where you identify details of your ideal persona. Example: Title, Company, Number of years at the company, Email, and so on.
This is straightforward. The impact in terms of personalization is really low.
So don’t stop there. Move on to “contextual”.
2) Contextual: “What did you notice?”
Let’s assume I’m a facility manager for a manufacturing company. And you want to sell me some solar energy tech platform.
What would you notice? Let’s say Iowa recently passed a regulation that allows manufacturers to get tax breaks when they go for wind energy or when they go for solar energy.
This is a great context because as a facility manager, you know that I am actually in that location, operating in that market.
Here are some places to find dig out good context.:
- Location-based industry report
- Recent announcement or press release by the company
- Decision maker’s recent interview in the media
- Article or blog post decision maker wrote
A solid context shows that you’ve done your homework as a professional and is bring something to the table. While context is good, it really does drive home relevance until it’s well connected to the buyer.
3) Deductive: “Why did what you noticed matter?”
Deductive research answers the question: so what (to what you noticed)?
Why did what you’ve noticed matter to the decision maker and her company? Why should she, at that point in time, care about it?
Remember Iowa solar energy example?
If Iowa has some new regulations that give a lot of tax breaks, this might save the facility manager some money on his new plant expansion in 3 different locations.
And you solar tech platform can calculate that for the next 5 years. High five!
Putting it all together
In your research document, create three columns, where you have the basic data, contextual and the deductive. Maximum 2 sentences for each column.
This framework helps you to run your research like an assembly line factory. You know the data you’re looking for and you find it quickly and move on to the next.
Implement this and let me know how it works for you.
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