Business Development Strategy

Whale Hunting Practice #10: Research Your Whales

By November 1, 2009December 29th, 2015No Comments

A traditional marketing plan depends upon generating leads.  Quite the opposite, whale hunting depends upon identifying the ideal customers with whom you want to do big deals.  How can you turn the tables on the process?  By research!  It doesn’t need to be as scary as it sounds.

I’ve posted about the target filter and how to use the target filter to get an initial list of potential whale customers.  Once you have a list [Whale Chart], your scouts should go to work to learn all about them.

If this process intimidates you, just think about how it would intimidate your competitors who are not practicing the Whale Hunters Process.  Like all things Whale Hunting, this feature is deliberate process, not magic.

Here’s what you need:

  • Whale Chart
  • Scout
  • Librarian

Your Scout can be an internal marketing team person, admin person, sales support person.
or intern (including intern team).  I recommend that you team up with your local college or university to create a student-generated project that  accomplishes your research needs while offering the student team a real-world project.  If that scenario doesn’t work for you, it remains true that a university librarian or public librarian can guide your search.

Your goal is to determine key facts about the target companies so that you can double-check them against your target filter.  Step One of that process is to use standard online research tools.  Step Two is to use Internet search strategies, including the company’s website, to flesh out the public information.  Step Three is to use social media resources to research not only the company but its key executives in areas of interest to you.

BIG NOTE HERE:  Do not pay for data at this point!  Once you have found all of the free information that’s available, you can evaluate whether there is proprietary industry information that might be worth purchasing.  Sometimes there is.  But NEVER start there.

Many small to midsize companies are afraid of research; therefore they shun it.  If you build a serious research process into your sales process, you will be light years ahead of your competitors.  When you approach a company knowing a great deal about them and knowing why they are a perfect fit for you, it will be apparent to them, and they will respect you for your research activities.

Do you have a whale hunting research story?  We’d love to hear it!