Profiling companies is an essential part of Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Social Selling. But, with so much information available online, what should be a day’s work at most can quickly drag out into fragmented hours where you don’t uncover much to work with.
So let’s cut to the chase into the How To. In this blog, I’ll share the very steps we take with clients to profile companies for their ABM and social selling campaigns.
You’ll find step-by-step what to look for in each of the following sources (or click on them to head straight to your biggest prospecting challenges).
- Look at their website
- Google them!
- Check out their social channels
- Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator (last but not least)
(If you want to know how to easily slot social selling into your daily routine, download our 10 Minute Coffee Cup Routine).
The first step of ABM/social selling profiling: look at their website
In the search for “exclusive information” and the abundance of information available with social and online search channels, it's easy to forget the goldmine of information you can find on a company’s website (if they update it regularly). Generally we find that entrepreneurially-minded or medium to large-sized organisations do keep them incredibly up to date with all sorts of information, like annual and financial reports available to view and download.
I know you might think this is marketing fluffiness, but it’s quite easy to spot whether a company is really living and breathing their values. Especially when you dig deeper into how much weight they give to various claims (and whether this is backed up in areas they may forget to “brand” like their job adverts). When you then compare this with your other profiling information, you’ve got real insights and useful starting points for conversations.
(Note: In larger companies, you may need to head to the relevant sector before then exploring each area.)
About Us page
This is usually the best place to start. It will often tell you more about their ethos, values, what they’re passionate about and what they believe makes their company different.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Statement:
Changing consumer attitudes and what employees value in an employer are becoming increasingly important - meaning it’s become much more than a tick-box exercise. A company’s CSR initiatives therefore often give vital clues as to what they really care about and how they use this to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
Often, a company may have a CSR section but for some they will name their overarching CSR value and have a whole page dedicated to what that means in practice. (And if so, it sends a clear message that, not only are they fully behind their CSR strategy, they differentiate on this issue.)
Meet the Team
Sometimes, you’ll find nothing more than corporate headshots, along with a brief bio. At other times, you’ll find mini interviews, fun photos or even videos about their team members. While the latter can give you more insights and “angles” into relevant leads, the former can also tell you a lot too. Do they prefer a formal approach and take pride in their expertise first and foremost?
Blog and News sections
Some companies choose to combine their blog and news into one section. Either way, it’s worth looking at both. The blog may mention recent events/thoughts on news around the world while their news section will focus on their most recent news.
Home Page and Services/Product Pages
These pages will tell you the most about how the account differentiates itself in the marketplace and the pains and challenges they are trying to solve for their customers. How does your service or product help with that? Or, even better, does your insider knowledge from speaking with others in the industry and related markets mean you can spot an opportunity for them that they’ve not realised?
This will give you a general overview of the growth areas the company is hiring for. If you review the job descriptions, you may also be able to discover any future projects they are concentrating on, as well as how they see their core values applying in practice to different departments.
Dig a little deeper: Google them!
If you’re prospecting a larger company (or any company that commits to its online presence), then trusty Google should unearth a lot of information!
Basic News search.
Simply type their name and click the News filter in Google. This will show you all recent news information and press releases, such as a recent change of CEO, big mergers/acquisitions and new product/service launches.
Video and photo filters.
Sometimes, these can be a backdoor way into information that doesn’t make the news - such as reviews, seminars/webinars they’ve hosted or spoken at or charity or business events they’ve attended.
Use keyword searches
To get more specific results (or filter out less relevant but more recent results), use keywords to search for specific news you’re interested in, such as:
- “Company Name” AND “CEO/MD name”
- “Company Name” AND (appoints OR hires OR “new role” OR “new hire” OR “new appointment”)
- “Company Name” AND (event OR hosts OR hosting OR webinar OR seminar)
- “Company Name” AND (launches OR launched OR releases OR released OR announces)
- “Company Name” AND (acquires OR merger OR merges)
- “Company Name” AND (“partners with” or “new partner” or “new partnership”)
Check out their social channels
Social channels are a much easier and cost-effective way to get news out in the public domain and so you’ll usually find a wealth of news insights you can’t get from Google or website pages alone.
Social media also provides another layer to your prospecting which helps you get under the surface of the official brand message and help inform your social selling content strategy:
- What language do they use?
- What hashtags are they using?
- What content types do they prefer to share? (Is it blogs/videos/written posts?)
By following them, you’ll be the first to be aware of any sales triggers too.
(Just be warned - the vast amount of information available can also make it much harder to filter through the noise!)
Use Sales Navigator: save time profiling accounts and start social selling!
Last, but certainly not least, is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The popularity of the tool is growing exponentially as sales people realise its power for prospecting and building. Users see +17% win rates, 42% larger deals and 15% more win rates - and cutting the time to prospect accounts and leads is the one of the number one reasons that salespeople use the tool.
With Sales Navigator’s Growth Insights you can find the best sales triggers that indicate your prospects account is growing all in one place.
Under Growth Insights You can quickly see:
- Employee Count (and how it’s changed over time)
- Distribution and Headcount (i.e. the employee count by roles)
- New Hires
- Job Openings
You can also see at-a-glance the latest Account News, New Decision Makers and Account Updates.
(Read more about all of the features account-based social sellers can’t live without in our blog: Why Sellers and Marketers Will Love LinkedIn Sales Navigator For Their Account-Based Activities).
So there you have it: the best ways to profile a company for ABM or social selling that we’re practising in 2021.
If you’ve not already gathered, LinkedIn Sales Navigator really is a can’t-live-without tool for ABM social selling prospecting - quickly filling in the insights that would usually take hours of research (and sometimes still prove fruitless). But the other steps are just as important as they will give you a whole-picture view of what the account values, needs, thinks and says online.