How Much Time Should You Spend Researching Prospects?

How much time is the right amount of time to spend on pre-call research? Should sales reps spend three to five minutes before calls, or should they allot three to five hours? The answer is difficult to pin down, and often varies between companies and sales roles. We put together a quick guide to help you determine how much time is the right amount of time for you to spend doing your homework on prospects.

The majority of sales reps don’t spend enough time researching prospects before they attempt to call them.

And as anyone who’s gone into a call completely unprepared knows, too little time spent on research can lead to awkward sales calls. However, sales reps can be overly confident; most pick up the receiver and wing it. Some sales reps don’t do any research at all. Sometimes this works. Sometimes this approach leads to disaster.

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According to Gleanster Research, only 25% of leads are qualified. Marketing Sherpa discovered that only 58% of leads are verified before being passed on to the sales team. That means that some reps spend the majority of their time calling the wrong phone numbers and sending messages to the wrong email addresses, and that they always pick up the phone without a clue as to whether a lead is even accurate.

If the amount of information you have on prospects does not extend beyond basic contact data, 30 seconds of research will have a monumental impact on your daily productivity.

You’ll never know everything there is to know about your prospect, so don’t attempt to.

It would be nice to know everything about your prospects before you get them on the phone, but if you spend 3 hours researching a prospect that ends up spending $0-$500 on your products, you’re never going to make any money. Too much research can be a huge waste of time for sales reps.

If a large quantity of small deals comprises the majority of your business, don’t make it a habit to spend more than three to five minutes on any lead.

The effort you put into pre-call research should yield results.

Setting up a Google alert on a Fortune 500 company and sifting through every news update that appears is not an efficient way to discover what’s happening at that company. Take into consideration the amount of effort it takes to sift through data, perform searches, and scan information on leads. Perusing a LinkedIn Profile can offer insights on the target customer, but the data provided is sanitized. The information is carefully prepared and, very rarely, offers anything of real value.

If you cannot find quality sales intelligence about a prospect, expand your sources, or consider that a prospect that flies completely under that radar may not be the best opportunity to pursue.

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