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Researching Industrial Sales Leads (Part One): First Steps

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, June 10, 2020

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Manufacturers are going through significant changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some struggle to stay in businesses, others are shifting production to focus on essential products.

Whether it's new competitors, new markets or new suppliers, many manufacturers are currently working on transforming their processes.

Proper research is more important now more than ever before when reaching out to prospects. Executive contacts might change as manufacturers restructure existing processes, and you need to understand how the current situation is affecting a prospect to identify relevant pain points and explain how your products or services can help.

Going Beyond the Basics

How much data do you have about your prospects? Relying on the basic information you can find with a quick online search isn't sufficient.

You can find a company name, address and main phone number for any manufacturer, but this general contact information doesn't guarantee that you will be able to reach the executives who make purchasing decisions. Your initial message will have to go through a chain of people who might not see the value of what you offer and opt not to forward the message.

Start with the Product Catalog

A thorough knowledge of a manufacturer's product catalog and a list of the different brand names used by that company will provide you with valuable insights into its current needs. Product names can be technical, which is why it's best to use Standard Industrial Classification codes to have a uniform way of categorizing and comparing products.

Studying a manufacturer's product catalog is relevant if you're offering products or services linked to raw materials, sales, inventory management, machinery, or training and hiring. You can also use a product catalog to deduct a few things about production facilities and identify sales opportunities in areas such as safety, compliance or janitorial services.

Here are a few questions to ask when reviewing a manufacturer's product catalog:

Is the manufacturer producing essential products?

What kind of distribution solutions would be relevant for these products?

What kind of industries would need these products? Is the manufacturer present on all the markets you can identify? Are there any niches where they could expand?

Does the manufacturer seem to focus on a few key products or actively looks to build a larger catalog?

Are there any innovative products that could indicate the manufacturer focuses on R&D and IP?

Could the manufacturer benefit from upgrading machinery and tools?

Are there any recent regulations and compliance standards that affect the products the manufacturer offers?

Company Size and Sales

Getting accurate data on a company size and sales numbers allows you to compare it to other manufacturers in the same industry. You can use this information to identify the growth stage a company is likely to be in and to focus on challenges unique to that stage.

Strong sales numbers might indicate that the manufacturer is ready to invest in products or services that would help them grow and keep up with demand. If sales numbers are lower than average for the size of the manufacturer, they will probably be looking for solutions that can cut costs and give them a competitive advantage.

Additional Information

You can use details about a manufacturer's import or distribution strategies to identify the companies that are likely to experience supply chain disruption at the moment. You can also use this information to get a general sense of what the company's goals are.

Knowing more about the internal structure of a company can give you an idea of how decisions are made, and details such as a company's creation date can tell you how fast it has been growing and evolving.

IndustrySelect delivers data-rich prospect profiles with up-to-date and accurate information, researched and compiled by a 80-person data research team. IndustrySelect profiles go beyond the basics to deliver everything you need to both identify your best prospects and accumulate valuable information about their business. Try out a free demo today!

Next, we'll be dicussing some key strategies for locating and researching executive decision-makers in the second part of this five-part series on researching industrial sales prospects. Read more: Researching Industrial Sales Leads (Part Two): Identifying & Researching Key Decision Makers

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