In The Whale Hunters Process, the first steps in your “Scouting” stage involve creating a target filter, locating companies that fit the criteria of your filter, and then researching those companies.
Okay. You’ve got your list of companies that interest you, and you’ve learned a lot about them.
But what you don’t know yet is whether the time is right for you to make a contact.
How will you know if they have a need for your product or service? How will you know when the time is right to approach them? You need to watch what they are doing and listen to news about them.
We call this process “scouting for whale signs.”
We’ve had a client that is a customer loyalty research company. When do big companies decide to embark on a customer loyalty research campaign? Typically, when something has gone wrong. They have had a crisis in consumer confidence (like Toyota, today). Their revenues are down. Their profits are shrinking. They are losing market share. Wall Street analysts are downgrading their stock. If your scouts are watching and listening to the companies on your whale chart, you will find signs of readiness.
We have clients who are marketing companies. Their openings come when there is a new product launch, or a new channel, or the contract with an Agency of Record is up for renewal.
For any company, changes in personnel, mergers and acquisitions, growth, downsizing, good news, or bad news, may signal opportunity for you.
How can you keep on top of the precise sales opportunity? One of the easiest methods is to set Google Alerts for the key whales that you are tracking. Ask your scouts to call in for the quarterly CEO call of a public company. Track trade journals and industry news sources. Pay attention to personnel changes. Consider a subscription to Lead411, an online service that tracks critical information on companies, using criteria that you define.
Your business development process will become more powerful when you systematically follow your prospects in the marketplace, looking for signs that they are ready to buy.