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September 22 2019.
Research for a successful sales call.

In today's competitive market, sales job is also a market research job. Ability to do 'Homework' i.e. market research before making any sales call, is an essential skill to become a successful sales person. Decision makers expect the sales engineer to be a knowledgeable representative of their organisation.

Recently, I came across a research covering expectations of the decision makers. It says, over 45% of sales engineers during personal sales call were found to be unprepared for the discussions. Except knowledge about their own products, they are not aware of any thing related to the industry or economy. This is most common problem with the new sales engineers.

In the current competitive scenario, mere knowledge of your company's product is not sufficient !

To address this situation, let us understand what are the expectations of the decision maker;

# They are interested in a 'Solution' rather than a 'Product'. Can you clearly articulate not just the value of the product, but also the value of doing business with your organisation.

# Decision maker values information, which is current and up-to-date especially about the industry, technology tends, his competitor etc.& not just the information on products being sold to him.

# Your sales call is expected to provide insight & information resulting in his preference for your product & organisation.

With this understanding what the decision maker expects, what research you should do?

> The new sales engineers must spend as much time researching the customer than actually calling on the customer. The experienced ones can focus more on industry & Technology trends, competitive scenario etc.

> The sales engineer should seek information on internet & thro' publicly available information sources e.g. business magazines, Trade association, Stock market etc. Organisations should recognise that research is an essential skill of the sales engineer.

> The Sales person should take the lead to collect & analyse the information. Other departments like marketing can only help in this regard.

^ My experience & observation : Majority of the information to become a well informed sales person, is publicily available.

Research & information collection should be like breathing, an essential activity without which no sales person can survive !
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