The Internet is a great platform for anyone doing sales prospecting, research, or sourcing vendors.
The Internet is an indispensable tool for many marketing research tasks, for gathering information on your company’s competition, and for executing critical production steps in your marketing program.
If you are in the marketing planning process or creating a marketing plan you will need to do some exploratory research that may include conducting online marketing research to help you make better marketing decisions.
We typically call this type of research, secondary research. You may want to conduct marketing research that includes primary research in the form of focus groups, customer interviews, speaking with sales reps, calling potential customers to understand their pain points.
This is useful information who are the sales teams and the sales process. You want to turn marketing data into intelligence, and intelligence into action. By creating a connected customer experience, develop integrated marketing strategies that develop real business results, and propel growth.
Modern marketing managers, using the Internet for research doesn’t mean sitting around in your office surfing the Internet, or checking a few industry news sites each morning.
For example, if your role as a marketing manager, you will be called on to create a new target market email list of prospects for a new sales prospecting technique and program.
You’ll be asked to line up a new booth for an upcoming trade show your company is attending. Your CEO may I ask you to prepare a memo outlining the competitive outlook and opportunities for entry in a new and promising market, or your company’s VP of Sales will ask you to locate a key contract at a company considered to be a potential strategic partner.
Using the Internet for marketing research
You can turn to the Internet to search for and find new sales contacts and opportunities, to research important strategic information, and to establish contact with people who can help your company. The Internet is a research tool that can help you exploit new marketing opportunities and increase your company sales.
Just a decade ago, the power to skillfully locate business and sales contact information online belonging exclusively to large corporations.
Corporations that could afford expensive, specialized online databases and other costly information services to conduct strategic research, compile new sales contact, and quickly locate other information on new marketing projects.
The information in these expensive online databases was accessible to managers working at arm’s length with specially trained corporate librarians or search specialist after companies.
They have mastered arcane, specialized database query languages the patiently extracted needed information for managers, who always left the exchange feeling as if they still weren’t seeing the full picture of the information they really want it, or believed they might not have asked the right questions in the first place.
Today, the explosive growth of the Internet has now made most of the same kind of information once available to only a few, at a very high cost, freely available on the net to anyone who can find it.
But this information is only available to those who know where to look for it, and who knows a few simple searching techniques to help them find what they want, more efficiently, and in less time.
What you can find on the Internet–and how to find it
For Chief Marketing Officers (CMOís) using the Internet, the top search site, Google can help you find the information you need to perform a variety of important research tasks, including:
But before you can find what you’re searching for, you must first learn how to find it. Every marketing manager should take the same time to learn a few, basic keyword searching skills, to save time and increase the accuracy and quality of the information they collect when they search the Internet.
Google: The go-to site for any Internet research tasks
Most of your Internet-based research tasks will involve the use of the Google search engine, so most of the search techniques covered in this post describe the best ways to a keyword search on Google, the Internet’s best search website
Started in 1995 by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google is a search site (also known as a search engine) that indexes over three billion web links, and responds to over 300 million daily search request. Google is a search website like Yahoo, but its killer application is its website analysis and ranking system, called PageRank. PageRank uses proprietary software technology to retrieve and rank the most useful and relevant sites found in your search, by counting the number of other websites that link to each site found by your search, and ranking these sites by this characteristic.
Here’s an advanced tip for SEO. It is essential if you want to rank, so have a solid backlinking strategy?
Google was the first search site to recognize that an important measure of the quality of any websites content is the number of other websites linking to it, and who would post a link to this website on their own pages.
Page ranking is based on the sensible notion that the quality of a website–e.g., the measure of its relevance and content–can be determined by measuring how popular it is, and thoughts, how many other websites vote for this page by featuring links to it from their own web pages.
Google has become so popular the most people make it their first online stop anytime they need to find something–anything–on the Internet. And, you can find the information you’re looking for on the first page of results of your Google search.
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Wrap up on the Internet as a sales prospecting
The Internet can be an invaluable tool when it comes to sales prospecting in marketing research. You can learn a lot about your target market, potential prospects, and your competitors.
Start by setting up a few Google Alerts but don’t go crazy here. I always say start small and test. Once you are happy with the results then scale it. You’ll be surprised how much information there is that you may not have even known about.