Two Serious Dangers of Insufficient Sales Insight Gathering

June 4, 2018

Take the right steps to gather sales insights, or run into these two major risks.

The benefits of gathering thorough insights in sales prospecting are well established. But let’s look at this topic from another angle. What are the risks you run by skimping on research and reaching out cold?

As we’ll explain, there are two primary dangers, and both can be quite costly.

Time Wasted Chasing Hopeless Leads

“Your most valuable asset, far and away, is your time,” wrote Kelly Riggs last year. “The sales value of time is simply incalculable.”

Who could disagree with that? We can spend our time on any number of productive activities. Frittering it away on frivolous tasks sets us back immensely. But unfortunately, this happens all too often when reps follow a scattershot prospecting approach.

Researching B2B buyers does require a time investment up-front. Gathering and organizing information about prospective accounts and decision-makers doesn’t happen instantly and shouldn’t be rushed. But this initial expenditure almost always leads to far less time wasted once you move to the outreach phase.

A sophisticated sales prospecting strategy involves identifying key attributes and aligning them with your ideal customer profile, in order to quickly gauge whether or not a person or company is a likely fit. This step will filter out a high percentage of hopeless leads, enabling you to concentrate on the ones with real potential. It’s all about transitioning from a quantitative mindset to a qualitative one.

Studies have suggested that as much as half of all sales time is wasted by unproductive prospecting. For many teams, this is the single biggest opportunity to become more efficient and cost-effective.

Frustratingly Fruitless Sales Conversations That Go Nowhere

When you’re not qualifying and filtering your prospect lists through research, much of the indiscriminate outreach is likely to go unnoticed or ignored. But that’s not even the worst outcome.

In cases where you are able to actually get through and engage in conversation with a poorly vetted prospect, it can lead to frustration — on both ends — and a diminished reputation.

Think about it this way. Time is priceless to B2B decision-makers, just as it is to sellers. When they take a call or respond to answer a message from a salesperson, and it quickly becomes apparent that the rep didn’t do their homework, the prospect is apt to become irritated. The negative impression this leaves might be communicated to other peers and colleagues, hurting your future chances with more viable candidates.

Data clearly illustrates the costs of insufficient research in sales prospecting. But again, we find opportunity here: only 18% of prospects are completely satisfied with sales approaches they’ve received, while 54% feel that the majority of callers fail to research their business.

With so many people getting it wrong, it’s easier to stand out when you get it right.

Embrace ABM and Social Selling to Steer Clear of Danger

Companies that adhere to an account-based marketing (ABM) blueprint, framed around a more focused and insight-driven pursuit of high-value targets, tend to avoid these pitfalls. Superior lead qualification and account research are inherent to this strategy.

An ABM framework drives collaboration between sales and marketing. The marketing team helps research and prioritize prospects, while also providing customized content to help fuel sales engagements. Social sellers can gather their own useful insights while helping create inbound opportunities.

Meanwhile, outreach is almost always more precise and purposeful.

“Instead of burning up resources to target a broad range of clients through somewhat relevant topics and pain points, account-based marketing concerts all of its effort on a small group of highly-targeted prospective accounts,” explains Gil Allouche on the ROI value of ABM.

The absence of in-depth research as part of the sales prospecting process is a costly mistake that today’s B2B organizations can ill afford. These damaging outcomes are all too easily avoided with the proper preparation and groundwork.

To learn more about finding the right information and honing your prospecting efficiency, download Read Me If You Want to Make the Most of Sales Insights on LinkedIn.