How to Conduct Targeted Prospect Research for Cold Outreach

The following is a guest post by our friends over at Apollo.

Targeting prospects who are a bad fit for your product is a waste of your time and resources. Careful preparation before beginning any cold sales outreach will help minimize misallocation of your attention as well as lower the potential for churn down the road. We will outline some best practices on how to conduct targeted prospect research below.

Questions to help you research prospects:

Who primarily uses my product?

  • What industry are they in?
  • How big is the company generally or can I reach multiple sizes?
  • Can I target multiple roles?
  • Is the company large enough for me to target multiple people?
  • What role do they primarily have?
  • What’s their seniority level?
  • Which teams do they work on?
  • Who indirectly benefits from my product?
  • Who would be interested in my product and just doesn’t know it yet?

Who is the decision-maker or who is the potential decision-maker?

  • How senior are they?
  • Who will be using the product and can act as a champion for it?

Example of targeted prospect research:

In the following example, we’ll pretend to be a company writing out their own individual answers to the questions above.

Who uses my product?

  • What industry are they in? Ad tech
  • How big is the company generally or can I reach multiple sizes? They are small (1-10) or mid-sized (50-100, 101-200).
  • What role do they primarily have? They are media buyers, account managers, and VPs of marketing
  • Which teams do they work on? They are on the account team, the media team, and the digital advertising teams
  • Who do they work with? They work closely with the other teams listed and with their clients
  • Who gains an indirect benefit from my product? Account management would benefit from the digital advertising team having it since they would be able to bring the quality results to their clients
  • Who would be interested in my product and just don’t know it yet? Account management

Who is the decision-maker or who is the potential decision-maker?

  • Are they senior? They are either VPs or senior media buyers
  • Who will be using the product and can act as a champion for it? Representative-level media buyers

These questions will help you discover where you should be focusing your attention, and there are sales prospecting tools available to help you A/B test to narrow your search down.

The more practice you have, the easier it is to understand who you should be reaching out to at companies.

Types of contact lists you can use:

Many teams choose to find or create lists of contacts instead of or in addition to their own prospect research.

Purchased lists of prospects. Be careful, however, when deciding which service to use! Not every listing service is made equal, and many will send you outdated or incorrect information. These include any third party tools that provide you with emails or phone numbers. Your best bet? Look out for a vast and accurate b2b sales leads database.

Build your own! Watch for articles relevant to your space that list out companies interested in a specific area or innovation. You can be sure that these companies will be interested in your product.

A huge, warm thank you to RevenueZen for letting us guest on their blog.

Still have questions, comments, or concerns about your targeted prospect research? Feel free to drop us an email at sales@apollo.io.