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Best practice

Pre-call planning: A Digital Checklist

Best practice is to research your customers

Alisa Cromer

Selling digital products and services means that researching the client is easier than ever. Here's a basic list of information to look-up and print out before each appointment.

√ Web site
• Look for products and services promoted, there are often new ones that may not be obvious. Note how the site captures leads by phone or email.

• Note images and graphics that may be used for creative. 

√ Facebook
• Search to see if the  company  has a Facebook page.
• Note how active it is, what kinds of posts there are and number of fans. Posts and tabs often indicate where the company is in their own digital marketing progress.

√ Twitter and Pinterest
• If the company is Tweeting, that's a good sign that they are web savvy and have offers to promote.  Check Pinterest as well if the customer is in a retail or product-oriented category.

√ Google the company name and typical search terms
• It's important to know if the company "owns" its name in the search results. If not, there may be an opportunity to create a splash page that has a better result, or upsell to a basic digital services package. If the customer does not appear on the page one of search, this is another indication that findability serices such as claiming and cleansing listings, and correct placement on Google maps is needed. For customers in highly competitive categories such as attorneys or plumbing, SEM may be the only way to appear on the page. So start your research with searches.

• If the company is not on the Google map, letting them know how to get there will help build your credibility as an expert.

√ Google key search terms
• This tells you not only how well the company is doing in search, but also who their competitors are on the internet. These are companies you may wind up talking about as you design marketing initiatives.

√ Check their online reputation. There are a variety of tools to help, including those that show comments across the web, especially on Yelp, and allow you to research competitors. If your company sells digital services, you should have  tools, such as Vendasta for a basic outline of digital presence or even Buzzboard, wihch provides an additional toolset, and much more expensive.

√ Check the customer's LinkedIn profile. Last but not least, your customers will feel completely flattered that you really do know who they are, and bothered to find out. So if you want to be at the top of the sales team, look them up on LinkedIn prior to the meeting, and connect with them afterword.

Note: Whichever tools you are using to acquire the data, either save the pages on a tablet, or print them out and put them in a folder to take with you on the sales call. Nothing is more impressive than an account executive who is knowledgeable and has done their homework.

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.

sales, digital sales, pre-call planning, vendasta, google, adwords, reputation management, facebook