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Pre-sales research: is it worth it? (the short answer is yes.)

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When it comes to sales, the words ‘research’ and ‘analysis’ might not usually be front of mind. But, if you feel your sales strategy is stuck in the same old loop, failing to deliver the outcomes you need, and if your sales team is consistently struggling to reach their targets, a lack of pre-sales research could be exactly why.

Investing in research to better understand your target audience and target market, before you launch your sales and marketing activity, may feel like an excessive step, particularly for a mature business that feels it knows its market, but it can pay dividends in the longer-term. Pre-sales research can help you engage with the right audience at the right time and present a relevant message that chimes with their needs and eases the path to conversion. We’ve highlighted some of the key areas where it can really add value.

What is pre-sales research?

Pre-sales research is a process, which lays the groundwork for your sales efforts to succeed. This can be broken down into several stages that serve to build a clearer picture of your audience and your market, so your sales and marketing efforts can be intelligently targeted to deliver the best results.

This might include:

  • Market research - gathering market and customer intelligence as an input to your strategy and approach.

  • Data cleansing and enrichment – creating a clean, accurate database matching the profile of your target audience, as the foundation for your sales and marketing activities.

  • ‘Voice of the Customer’ research – drilling down into the perceptions and expectations of your customers to refine your proposition and approach.

  • Sales insight and lead qualification – feeding your sales team with well-qualified leads and powerful insight so they are well equipped to convert.

Gain a better understanding of your customers

It is so important to understand your audience at all stages of their journey. In terms of the bottom line, it ensures you’re focusing your resources on the right people but, more importantly, delivering the best possible experience to solidify your brand reputation and keep your best customers coming back.

Pre-sales Voice of Customer (VoC) research enables you to test your assumptions about your brand, your proposition, how your prospective customers want to engage with you, and much more. For example, what benefits of your proposition are most relevant to each audience? Have your prospective customers heard of your product and if so, how do they perceive it in relation to your competitors? This intelligence, combined with analysis of your wider market, is invaluable in informing all aspects of your sales and marketing campaigns, your messaging and competitive positioning, so they are designed to drive ROI from the outset.

You’re only as good as the data you hold

Data, circumstances and people change regularly, so what is relevant now will be very different in six months’ time, which is why it’s so important to regularly cleanse and enhance your database.

Conducting data cleansing and enrichment research ensures that the starting point for all your efforts is an accurate, profiled database, which includes the decision makers most likely to be receptive to your offer. Enriching basic contact records with additional layers of customer information allows you to segment and target your campaigns intelligently. Basic information such as organisation size, job function or seniority, or deeper insight such as competitive products used, ensures your teams can tailor your message and proposition across all communications.

Bringing the cream to the top

The value of an enhanced, profiled database extends beyond the design and targeting of activities; it also ensures a robust qualification process and allows leads to be managed efficiently. Not only are leads more likely to fit the profile of a good customer, they can be scored and routed appropriately. For example, if a lead is associated with a key account, it can be fed straight through to your key account team for immediate attention. A lead associated with a small business at the early stage of research, can be routed to an automated nurture programme. What is more, if your CRM is up-to-date and accurate, it can match leads with existing accounts and previous enquiries to identify opportunities for upselling, cross-selling or re-engaging with prospects that had shown interest previously.

Identifying high-quality leads for your sales team

With today’s abundance of digital communication, phone contact can be an incredibly powerful way of getting through to prospects and piquing their interest via personal (and more meaningful) interactions. This more personal form of interaction can add immense value to the pre-sales process. Skilled telemarketing agents, tasked to generate or qualify leads, can capture sales insight during live conversations – budget, buying stage, needs, motivations, challenges – that ensure the sales team, equipped with lead notes and call recordings, is better placed to convert the sale.

A personal, two-way conversation can, not only identify sales-ready prospects and ensure they are prioritised, it can quickly qualify out prospects without a requirement, so that valuable sales time isn’t wasted. What is more, feedback captured from those prospects who say ‘no’ to your offer can help you identify and fill gaps in your proposition, increasing the likelihood of a ‘yes’ next time.

Incorporating phone-based research and qualification within your sales and marketing process, is a smart strategy for those looking to shorten their overall sales cycle. If you need a solid feed of customer and market intelligence or actionable insight to inform your sales strategy, call us today to discuss your requirements.

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