If you knew that a company across town just acquired another firm, you would know exactly how to pitch your IT services, right? You would know that the biggest challenge an acquiring company will face is merging the new company into their corporate culture and infrastructure. Your ideas and proposal would stress smooth integration of their IT and cover key points like seamless communications across multiple offices, data access from each office, and security.
Gathering Business Intelligence
To gather business intelligence like this about your prospects, you could visit Google and do searches on your prospects each day. But that would take so much time! Instead, if Google emailed you every time something was reported about your prospect, that would give you the intel you need to decide whether you should reach out to them about their news. Google Alerts do this for free.
Here is how to set up Google Alerts to gather intelligence on your prospects:
- Visit http://www.google.com/alerts
- Type in a prospect's name (person and/or company) into the “Search query” field
- Select your notification frequency and other settings
- Enter your email into the “Deliver to” field
If you are creating alerts for quite a few prospects, you will probably want to set up a filtering rule in your email box to route all incoming alerts to a folder so you can scan them when you have time.
You can set up alerts for company names, people and even industry trends. See Google's tips on setting up your search queries.
How to Use What You Find
People generally like to get acknowledged for being in the news. Set up an alert on the name of an IT manager you are targeting at a prospect's company. If that manager is scheduled to speak at an upcoming event, your Google Alert would get triggered if the agenda containing the name is posted to a page that Google indexes. This allows you to be proactive and send a quick email to your prospect like this:
“Hi Terry, just saw that you are speaking at the Chamber of Commerce meeting next month. Looking forward to hearing your talk.”
“Hey Sandy, nice coverage about your company in today's Gazette! All the best with your talk.”
When you use a news event from a Google Alerts report to reach out to a prospect, don't sell them. Just acknowledge the news. This approach will help keep you top of mind as a company that isn't all “sell, sell, sell” like others. They'll remember you for remembering them!