Know your customer well. It's the golden rule. We have all heard about it. We all know it and yet so many will still take a chance picking up the phone and dialing a random with a number from a list or their CRM hoping to charm their prospect and coax them into buying. It's not just phone based, emails and direct mails are often send with a hit or miss strategy without really doing some background research on where they are headed.
Even if they are not interested in buying what you have to offer right away, prospects always respect the fact that you know something about them or their companies. If you've done some homework on them the chances are they will at least have a first impression good enough to hear you through or read what you have to say. That homework or brief background need not be a detailed dossier or deep intelligence. Sometimes a simple 50-word description on the company is all that is needed to separate someone who knows 'something' and someone who knows 'nothing' about your company and first impressions is made quickly.
Most marketing lists and CRM databases will have a link to the account/company website and this is usually enough to quickly go through before connecting with a prospect. However i'll admit even I would prefer having some kind of excerpt or company description which tells me about the company, products and background on the same screen or list to avoid that additional effort of having to open and research a site myself. Good data is not just about volumes. Just like selling and marketing has evolved and become smarter, more information driven, CRM data and lists have evolved into more than just a set of names, phone numbers and addresses.
Data enrichment and data append solutions can help add valuable data points to ensure you're better informed and updated on prospects a quick glance. While for the complex sale, investing in more comprehensive pre sales research is worth the extra effort, for most, it's important to identify what additional data can help you make a difference and invest in enriching your database. After all, those first impressions are important.