3 Financial Measures to Increase Your Sales Prospecting IQ

By Marika Vilen, Global Head of Partnerships, Thomson Reuters’ Financial and Risk Division


Finding new customers is one of the most difficult tasks for a sales person. Potential accounts are often hard to reach — after all, they have dozens of business trying to pitch them. Getting in front of the right person at the right time can often seem as much a matter of good timing as of your best efforts to do so..

To stand apart from the crowd, you have to bring something new and fresh to the table. This requires that you have a deep understanding of any company you’re trying to do business with and the industry it’s in. Showing up uninformed or ill-prepared to a meeting you’ve worked hard to set up not only won’t advance your cause — it may substantially set it back.

The goal is to know as much or even more about a prospect’s business as its own employees do.

Data makes all the difference here — but it must be intelligent data. You need information that goes beyond just the news and delivers deeper insights, shedding light on the inner workings of the company and telling you not just where it is, but where it’s going.

Understanding three key financial measures will boost your IQ and help set you apart from competitors.

The first set of measures includes those related to growth areas, products, and other drivers. This is basically a business description that delves deeper than most people might expect.

For example, the description of Gilead would tell you that it’s “a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, and commercializes innovative medicines. The company’s primary area of focus include human immunodeficiency virus, liver diseases such as chronic hepatitis, oncology and inflammation, and serious cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.”

That’s quite a mouthful, but in a few short lines it tells you what Gilead really does, not just what it is — a pharmaceutical company. With that insight comes a large number of angles to pursue and the ability to make a more personalized pitch to your prospect.

The second financial measure consists of analyst forecasts for earnings, revenue, and other metrics. It’s important to know what analysts think — they study companies deeply and spend a lot of time doing so. Their estimates are a solid basis upon which to form an opinion about where a company stands in the industry. Is it thriving? Are investors clamoring to buy shares or are they losing confidence? Are insiders selling?

Finally, reading conference call briefings will shed light on what top executives at the company think about topics such as potential acquisitions and mergers, hiring trends, performance, growth, and various other challenges. Is a product cycle about to change? Has the R&D team come up with a breakthrough idea? Are staff being hired? Laid off? Call briefings can deliver insight you may not get from reading news stories. Coupled with the other data, this can be a game changer.

With this data you can dive deep into what makes a company ticket and grasp how it’s situated in the market. When armed with this kind of intelligence as you reach out to prospects, there’s a good chance you’ll wow them with your pitch — and close your deal.

About the Author

Marika Vilen is Global Head of Partnerships and a member of the senior leadership team at Thomson Reuters’ Financial & Risk division. She manages the global partnership community and develops strategies for increasing its potential and reach. A dynamic executive known for her commercial skills and organizational acumen, Marika helps drive growth and collaboration with 1,200 partners in 86 countries.

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