Jason Watson, Sales Enablement, Partner Portals & Training – Channel Partners Organization


Researching your customer, business or industry is a common task every salesperson has to do. But are you using tools to make it faster and simpler so that you can get on with more important tasks?

The old way, which to some is still the new way, is to start your research with a keyword search on Google. The more social savvy among us will also search LinkedIn, Twitter, and forums, maybe even Facebook. Not only does it take time and effort to do this, you risk being taken down so many dead ends that you have to continuously bookmark and save things as you build up your research. What’s more, if you don’t find what you need on day one, you have to start again from scratch the next day. There has to be a simpler way, and we think there is.

Research Infographic

With the advent of social search and Google alerts it’s easy to simplify and automate this task.

Five free tools to help with research:

Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts). Receive an email digest of content for your specified topic(s). Results from news sites, blogs, video, discussions and books can be sent to you “as it happens,” “daily” or “weekly.” As you build your query, Google shows you the expected results in real time.

Addictomatic (www.addictomatic.com). Get results from up to 25 sources of social channels and customize the resources you want. Then bookmark the search and you’ll be able to go back and get an up-to-date snapshot.

Meltwater Icerocket (www.icerocket.com). Get results from blogs, Twitter and Facebook by language preference and post recency. Save the search as an RSS feed that you can use in apps such as Flipboard.

Topsy (www.topsy.com). Get results from Twitter, photos, videos, even influencers. Customize the results by the age of the post – so you could set it to a day, or 7 days, then bookmark the link to make it part of your daily or weekly routine – or even set up an email alert like Google Alerts.

Whos Talkin (www.whostalkin.com). Get results from blogs, news, networks, videos, images, forums and tags. Bookmark your search and review it daily – also has search results for LinkedIn public pages and updates.

Have you used any of these tools, or have you found other ways to research more productively? Let us know what you would add to the list in the comments below.

Our “four tips to faster sales productivity” infographic has more tips to simplify your sales processes and increase your selling time.

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Want to make customer research faster and easier? Here’s how.

5 tools that greatly reduce the time you spend researching your customers