In the world of B2B sales, company research is a critical aspect of any successful rep’s daily duties. In fact, access to the right research tools and information can make or break your ability to identify target accounts, personalize a sales pitch, and ultimately, close deals.
As a B2B sales rep, the more you know about a prospect and their company, the easier it is to sell to them. For this reason, we’ve put together the ultimate list of company research tools for sales reps. On this list, you’ll find a variety of tools, both paid and free, to add to your existing technology stack. Let’s get into it!
1. G2 Crowd
Although G2 Crowd is intended to help buyers compare and purchase business software, it also provides a helpful way to research your target companies and accounts for free. If you’re selling to software companies, G2 Crowd is an excellent place to get a feel for a company’s pain points, their customer reviews, similar tools, big competitors, and so much more. Check it out!
What kind of marketers would we be if we didn’t include ZoomInfo on this list? If you’re not familiar, ZoomInfo is a leading business database made up of more than seven million contact profiles and more than 18 million company profiles. With ZoomInfo you can search, filter, find, and contact companies using a wide range of criteria. ZoomInfo can deliver everything from a company’s phone number to the names of the different technologies they use to conduct business.
AngelList’s tagline says it all– where the world meets startups. So, if you’re interested in learning more about startups visit AngelList for everything from investment information to employee count and plenty more in between!
4. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a comprehensive social media platform that offers a variety of social listening capabilities. Although we’ve primarily seen Sprout Social used for marketing and customer service purposes, the platform has a host of features that can help the average B2B sales rep learn more about the companies they’re trying to sell to.
As you’ll see throughout the remainder of this article, social listening is a highly effective way to collect information about a company. Not only will you be able to see what each company chooses to publish and portray on their business profiles, but you’ll also be able to monitor hashtags, brand names, products, and competitors to uncover lesser known information about your target accounts.
ZoomInfo and DiscoverOrg recently joined ranks to bolster our individual offerings and provide sales teams with the most comprehensive contact and account information– ever. With DiscoverOrg, sales teams can access additional data points including complex organizational charts, buying signal data, and so much more.
Reddit is more than just a niche social networking website. In fact, we’ve spoken at length about Reddit’s value as a market research tool. The best part about the wealth of information found on Reddit? It’s free!
I won’t harp on this point since it’s something we have a whole article about, but we urge you to take a look if you have yet to delve into the world of Reddit: The Beginner’s Guide to Reddit as a Market Research Tool.
This next tool is a no-brainer. As the first professional networking website of its kind, LinkedIn has cornered the market on professional and company information. Although LinkedIn offers both free and paid research tools, we recommend starting with the platform’s basic search functionality and expanding from there if you find the need.
Don’t underestimate the power of email when it comes to researching your target companies. Email is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to help you stay up-to-date on the companies you care about most.
The most simple way to leverage email for company research is to subscribe to email updates on each company’s business website or blog. That way, you’ll receive email updates about their products, content, services, news, and more. For a comprehensive look at a particular industry or market, we also recommend you subscribe to each target company’s competitors as well.
Although Facebook doesn’t seem to be as popular as it once was, there is still valuable information to be gleaned from the platform. If your target account has a business profile set up, check out how they’re presenting themselves. What type of content do they share? How often do they receive customer complaints? What are most of their complaints about? Give the page a like to follow along and see company updates happen in real time.
In addition to the basic information found on a business’s Twitter profile, you can also use the platform’s advanced search functionality for social listening. Monitor industry-related hashtags, important keywords, and competitive brand names to get a feel for what is being said about your target businesses.
Unlike the polished image you’ll find on other social networks, companies often use Instagram to show a more personal side of their business. So, if you’re looking to learn more about a business’s culture or work environment, check out their Instagram page!
12. Google Alerts
The best sales reps are experts at using Google to find contact and company information. But Google offers advanced alert functionality that provides more information than a standard Google search.
If you’re not familiar with Google Alerts, they’re relatively easy to set up. Simply navigate to google.com/alerts, enter the names of the companies and industry keywords you’d like to track, select your preferred sources, and that’s it. Once you set your alerts, you’ll receive an email every time Google discovers a new piece of content containing your tracked terms.
Quora, a popular question and answer website, is a great resource if you’re looking to understand what questions people are asking about your target companies. Although it might require a degree of creativity and some digging, Quora can be a goldmine of information.
Glassdoor and other leading recruiting platforms offer a wealth of anecdotal information about nearly every company you can think of. Not only does Glassdoor provide intel about job titles, new hiring initiatives, and salary data, but it can also give insight into how the buying process works at any given company.
Simply read through each company’s reviews and take note of any common complaints, observations, or insights that could shed light on a company’s buying process. An example of this might be a company that receives complaints about micro-managing leaders. Or, perhaps you see complaints from entry-level employees who feel they don’t have much power to make decisions. This prompts you to get in touch with a more senior employee who has more say in the buying process.
The last item on this list should be a no-brainer. But– just in case you forgot, always remember to check your CRM before reaching out to a company. Doing so will provide insight into your own company’s history with the business. And, your CRM can provide
Final Thoughts Regarding Research Tools for Sales Reps
No matter where you work or what you sell, you will need a combination of research tools and tactics. After all, the more information you have during sales conversations, the more successful your efforts will be. If you’d like to learn more about the world of B2B sales, check out one of the following blog posts:
- 7 Ways to Nail Your Next Sales Presentation
- The Definitive Guide to Landing A B2B Sales Job
- The B2B Sale’s Rep’s Guide to Twitter
- How to Build the Ultimate Sales Prospect List
- The 10 Most-Read Sales Articles of 2018
- Why Sales Reps Need Access to Company Hierarchy Data
- The Ultimate List of YouTube Channels for Sales Professionals
Or, if you’re ready to start your free trial of ZoomInfo’s solutions for sales teams, contact us today! Our corporate database has the information you need to crush your next sales quota.