A Gold Mine of Market Research…Paid For in Full

Gold barWhen targeting market prospects in your job hunt or for a targeted, value-based outreach, one of the biggest challenges is researching your prospect list.

Let’s say you are in B2B sales, and you want to reach out to wholesale distributors of durable goods with twenty to 250 employees, headquartered in your county and three counties adjacent. How would you find them? Perhaps your company subscribes to one of the many market research databases out there, such as InfoGroup or Hoovers.

There are plenty of other market research tools available on the internet, but I strongly recommend that the first place you check out is your metropolitan library. One of the best library resources is ReferenceUSA (the library division of InfoGroup). This is a database on millions of businesses and households which includes information on census, lifestyle, home values, industry codes and even D&B credit scores. It is access to the same data available commercially through what you may know as Sales Genie, minus the monthly subscription fee. Find out if your library offers it, and if not, find one that does.

Further, you will often be able to access this and other resources online from work or home with your library card. You may not need to make a trip to the library to conduct your market resarch.

The ReferenceUSA database can produce a list of wholesale distributors of durable goods with twenty to 250 employees, headquartered in your county and three counties adjacent. You can narrow your search even further by any number of parameters (each record has data in up to 221 fields—we are talking detailed!). It all depends on what you are seeking.

This first step is unlocking a gold mine…and I am constantly surprised at how many sales professionals and business people I encounter in my own community who are completely unaware of this resource.

Let’s suppose your market research yields a list of 28 companies. Which ones will you contact first? Will you start with the companies with the most employees, or the fewest? Will you further qualify by reported gross revenues or credit rating? Perhaps you want to start in your own county first, and expand outward.

Starting with your top priority suspects, begin researching the key decision makers. Depending on the size of the company, the data in ReferenceUSA will give you either just the owner or the entire executive staff and even the board of directors (It even identifies gender—quite helpful when targeting people with transgender names!).

Whatever you find, it is just a start. Their data is well researched and updated, but it is NEVER one-hundred percent accurate. To further identify who’s calling the shots, check out additional data sources (Hoovers for one). The company’s website may give you all that information up front, and may even include biographical information.

ReferenceUSA will even highlight stories in some media sources related to each company record, and even identify competitors. For further research, check out BizJournals online—the media company that publishes business weeklies in the nation’s top metropolitan areas and business markets. In your research, you are seeking any information that may prove relevant to your approach. Knowledge is power.

This resource can be a great asset in deploying what I call The Wedge. If you would like to learn more, then join us for Your Foot in the Door, and share your own questions and challenges on June 11. If you want increased prospect engagement leading to better sales, you will want to be there.

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