Effective Call Research – Getting it Right

Sellers seeking to be more successful are putting more emphasis on proper sales call preparation.  Competition is fierce and prospect’s available time is scarce, so seller’s have to be prepared to make the most of this limited customer-facing time…. whether on the phone or in person.  Having an effective call preparation process can significantly improve results.  ShadeTree’s Dynamic Conversation Playbooks suggests that the “Prepare” phase of a call consists of:

  • Purpose
  • Research
  • Plan

The purpose defines the needed research and planning.  The call purpose might include getting the prospect to take any of the following actions:

  • Following up on a campaign
  • Follow up to an inquiry
  • Find other opportunity decision makers
  • Discuss buying timeframe
  • Address objections or concerns
  • Discuss references


The key objective of research is to acquire information and turn that information into knowledge that best supports the seller in helping the customer improve their business.  These insights can be the key differentiators that separate one seller from the other.

Sellers that are well versed in product capabilities and features, but can’t map these areas to the buyer’s business objectives will be the losers.

The days are long gone where prospects appreciate the request from a salesperson “tell me about your business”.  It is a waste of a prospect’s time to educate the seller on their business… and more importantly it is an extreme waste of a seller’s valuable customer-facing time that could be spent much more productively making forward progress towards a sale.

With so much information available on-line, what research do sellers need to focus on to best be prepared for a sales call?

The following information can help a seller learn how he can best improve the seller’s business.  Information on the prospect’s:

  • Customers
  • Vision
  • Markets and market positioning
  • Competitors
  • Business objectives
  • Business strengths and weaknesses

This research framework is effective in all selling situations from small to large.

Advancing and optimized selling organizations provide resources and training to salespeople to be highly effective at preparing for sales calls.  Use of subscription service sites such as Jigsaw, LinkedIn, Hoovers, Inside View, ZoomInfo, etc. are good sources for B2B sales.

Further, selling organizations that have a clear process and set of actions that should be achieved in a sales call with a specific call-to-action on the side of the prospect see higher conversion ratios through the sales cycle.

Key take-aways:

  • Formalize a process for preparing for calls with specific tasks and information to research before the call
  • Have a specific purpose in mind, with a call-to-action for the prospect to take to achieve that purpose
  • Be clear on how your product or service will improve your prospect’s business



Incite: to stir up or provoke to action