A prospect’s business goals and strategies are at the root of their decision-making process. Therefore, your sales team’s focus must be to help the executive buyer meet their objectives and execute their strategies. If your team is still focusing on your product’s features and “bells and whistles”, now is the time to change tactics.
Digital innovation has upended the buying process, resulting in more demanding buyers who are not content to listen to canned sales pitches. It is no longer a seller-centric process; buyers have taken control of the agenda. Buying teams have greater information access to compare providers. As a result, leaders are not seeking information from your team, but insights into how your solution can help them achieve their objectives.
To keep pace, your team’s account research and planning must be elevated to build the trust and credibility required to differentiate your sales pitch from the competition.
How to Compile Company Goals and Strategies
The first step in your team’s account research process needs to be gathering information on the prospect’s goals and strategies. The tasks involved in this step will differ depending on if the prospect is a public or private company.
Public Company Sources
The sources your team will rely on for compiling the goals and strategies of a public company are straightforward.
- Company Website: This will be your primary source for most of the information you require. Because of the vast regulatory reporting required of public companies, a detailed analysis of the prospect’s website will yield important insights into their strategies and operations to create credibility in your sales pitch.
- The “Investor Relations” section is your starting point. It includes the Annual Report, your team’s best source to begin analyzing a company’s goals and strategies. The CEO’s “Letter to Shareholders” provides an overview of the company, prior achievements, and future priorities. Additionally, this section will have earnings presentations, shareholder reports, such as the quarterly 10-Q report, and other financial and operating reports.
- The “News” section includes press releases and media articles, which will highlight management changes, M&A, and other recent developments.
- Other areas to review include leadership team, product portfolio, customer listings, and partners.
- Web Search: Perform detailed searches, for example, on a prospect’s leaders, goals, initiatives, partnerships, and clients to help generate additional insights.
- Social Media: Review for updates on company news, management videos, and other information about the company.
Private Company Sources
Because the vast majority of prospects are privately owned, becoming proficient in assembling material for their goals and strategies is a necessity. The “how-to” for investigating and gathering information on private companies involves different approaches and tapping into more sources.
- Company Website - While there are some similarities with public companies, a private company’s website will hold much less information for your research. The following sections of the site should be the focus of your account research and planning:
- Press Releases
- Leadership Bios
- Investors and Board Members
- Product Portfolio
- Blogs, whitepapers, and videos
- Web Search: Because of the limited information on the website, performing advanced web searches on your prospect takes on more importance in your account research. Familiarize yourself with the advanced capabilities of your search engine to streamline and refine your research.
- Social Media: Many private companies utilize social media as a critical channel for customer engagement so it can reveal details on company plans and news not found on the website.
- Third-party Intelligence and Market Research Companies: Utilizing the services of these companies, such as IBIS and MarketsandMarkets, is an alternative for gathering critical facts.
- Benchmark Public Companies: If the above sources fail to provide sufficient information, another approach is to identify 2 - 3 public companies in the same space and use them as benchmarks for your prospect. Leverage their goals and strategies as the basis to make educated assumptions about the prospect.
After compiling this information, your team’s next step is crafting a sales narrative showcasing how the benefits of your solution align with helping the prospect achieve their goals and carry out their strategies. While identifying a prospect’s goals and strategies takes additional time, providing prospects with insights on how your solution will help them meet their objectives is indispensable.
To learn more about how enterprise sales teams can improve their trust and credibility with executive buyers, watch our learning videos on the power of Insight-Led Selling.
Also, try our B2B customer insight platform, ClientIQ, free for one week! You can conveniently find all of the information outlined above in one convenient platform for both public & private companies.