There are a variety of ways that external research can support a sales team. As we shared in a recent blog post a very common, and very popular option are battlecards. Here we will dive into another sales enablement tool for consideration in an intelligence program: prospect research. But before we dive into prospect research, let’s step back a bit and examine why the sales team should be one of your first considerations for your intelligence program.
Why sales enablement?
A question often asked (and occasionally answered…) by intelligence practitioners is how you measure the Return on Investment (ROI) of intelligence. Whether it is to justify a program’s existence or to obtain budget for growth, very often it is necessary to prove ROI (understandably so since a study of the use of competitive intelligence in companies found only half of companies use the intelligence they collect).
A very fast and easy way to prove the value of an intelligence program and contribute quickly to ROI is through sales enablement. If an intelligence deliverable, or deliverables are directly related to closing a significant piece of business, the conversation shifts away from proving ROI to how more of that intelligence can be generated to close more business.
By focusing on sales enablement, you can clearly show ROI, win business, and increase your company’s top line.
What is prospect intelligence?
Prospect research entails obtaining insights into either one or several potential prospects. It overlaps with lead generation or lead identification, in that it allows you to identify potential leads. It also overlaps with lead qualification, as it provides insight into leads to determine whether they are worth pursuing.
Prospect research goes a bit further than both lead identification and qualification, as it can also provide insights on:
- How your company can position itself against a current supplier and competitors
- How your company should position its offer
- Potential near-term opportunities that may be available (for example if you discover a company’s contract is ending soon)
Overall, prospect research gives insight into a prospect in order to give a competitive edge.
What types of companies or products is prospect intelligence well suited for?
Given the effort required to create a custom program, prospect research is best considered by companies that:
- Are B2B providers
- Have a large contract size (consider $1M+ contracts)
- Have contracts lasting 3+ years
- Have an understanding of how they win against their competitors (for example, have conducted previous work in sales battlecards or win/loss analysis)
How is prospect research provided?
Prospect research can be provided in a myriad of ways, and each program HelloInfo builds is custom for our clients and their specific sales dynamics. But let’s consider a concrete example:
In this example, HelloInfo’s client is a large supplier of services and commoditized products to companies and industries. Contracts are typically 3-5 years, and deal value is $5M+. Ousting existing suppliers is relatively challenging, but not impossible.
The client company provides HelloInfo a list of target companies. This list is built based on criteria that includes:
- The size of the company and their ability to procure the services and products our client offers.
- Companies they know had not recently been in their procurement process.
- Where they have contacts, or could make contacts easily, but want more insight to leverage those relationships.
HelloInfo collaborates with the client to create a list of questions that will help the sales team. Examples include:
- What company is providing that product or service currently?
- How long is that contract?
- What is the value of that contract (high-level or as detailed as possible)?
- What are their existing contract terms?
- Who are the decision makers (titles, and names if possible)?
- Whether the company is currently satisfied with the existing service or not.
HelloInfo conducts in-depth interviews with procurement teams and decision-makers at the target companies to provide answers to the questions listed above.
On a monthly basis, the sales team is provided a list of pre-qualified leads to target with insights that will help them craft a winning sales strategy. Imagine your sales team being notified of an impending procurement process they weren’t otherwise going to be aware of. Or knowing exactly what a prospect doesn’t like about their existing supplier, or contract terms? Gain the edge on the incumbent suppliers, and over the others in the process.
When your sales team is closing deals based on concrete intelligence, there will be no questioning your intelligence program’s ROI.
Do you want to close deals? Schedule a call with us to understand how HelloInfo can build a custom prospect research service to support your sales team.