How a sales executive can research their customer’s business to help solve their problems


Executives have access to more information than ever before. In fact, they may have access to so much data that they fail to make decisions purely because they have too much information to analyze. This is where sales executives who act as trusted advisors can shine. Fortunately, there are many tools and strategies available to help us aggregate the appropriate data to present to our customers and help them solve their problems. In this article, I’ll cover what information to look for and where to find it.

What should we focus on to assist our customers?

The best salespeople aren’t product experts, they’re solutions experts. And in order to be a solutions expert, you must truly understand the landscape of your customer’s market, as well as the problems they are facing. Some of the best ways to ensure you are knowledgeable about your customer’s needs are to:

  • Identify your customer’s industry and market trends.
  • Understand your customer’s pain points and challenges. (Problems)
  • Research your customer’s competition and market position.
  • You can learn about your customer’s goals and objectives. (Business Issues)
  • Understand your customer’s target audience and buyer personas.
  • Analyze your customer’s social media presence and engagement.
  • Look into your customer’s website and online content.
  • Review your customer’s financial reports and company news.
  • Check for any existing partnerships or collaborations.
  • Consider scheduling a discovery call with your customer to gather more insights.

Through research, sales executives can better understand their customer’s business and provide tailored solutions that address their needs and pain points.


Though it can be time consuming, doing appropriate research is necessary. Below, I’ve compiled a list of tools to help you in your research and call planning phases. This list is not exhaustive, but is a good place to start.

  1. Google Search: Use Google to search for information about the company and the industry they operate in. Please be sure to look for news articles, press releases, and other relevant information.
  2. LinkedIn: Check out the company’s LinkedIn page to learn about its products, services, and key personnel. Also, look for any recent updates or changes to the company’s profile.
  3. Crunchbase: This website provides company information, including their funding history, executive team, and recent news.
  4. Hoover’s: Hoover’s provides comprehensive company information, including financials, executives, and industry analysis.
  5. Owler: Owler is a crowdsourced business insights platform that provides information on company news, funding, and competitors.
  6. Google Trends: Use Google Trends to see how search interest in a particular industry or product has changed over time.
  7. Glassdoor: Check out the company’s Glassdoor page to see what current and former employees say about the company. This can give you insight into the company culture and management style.


Use the following strategy to make lasting connections with your customer and position yourself as a strategic partner and trusted advisor.

Identify your customer’s industry and market trends:
Look at market research (Gartner, Forrester, etc.) to gain a deep understanding of the industry your customer operates. Analyze market reports, industry publications, and relevant statistics to identify key trends, market dynamics, and emerging opportunities.

Understand your customer’s pain points and challenges:
Engage in direct conversations with your customers to understand their pain points (Business Issues), challenges (Problems), and areas where they seek improvement. Discovery conversations, interviews, or feedback sessions to gather valuable insights directly from your customer.

Research your customer’s competition and market position:
Perform a competitive analysis to identify your customer’s main competitors and assess their strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning. Evaluate their products, services, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer reviews to gain a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape.

Learn about your customer’s goals and objectives:
Think about value creation. Create a few questions to get your customers thinking about their metrics. Most importantly, listen to your customer to understand their short-term and long-term goals, as well as their overall objectives. (Business Objective. Discuss their vision, mission, and strategic initiatives to align your offerings with their aspirations.

Understand your customer’s target audience and buyer personas:
Research buyer personas to identify your customer’s target audience. Understand their demographics, interests, pain points, and purchase behavior. This will help tailor your products, services, and marketing efforts to resonate with their needs.

Analyze your customer’s social media presence and engagement:
Review your customer’s social media profiles, metrics, and content strategies. Gain insights into their online presence, brand, and customer interactions. This will help you understand their social media marketing efforts and identify opportunities for collaboration.

Look into your customer’s website and online content:
Review your customer’s website, blog, and online content to understand their branding, messaging, and value proposition. Evaluate the user experience, content quality, and call-to-action elements. This analysis will provide insights into their online presence and help identify areas for improvement.

Review your customer’s financial reports and company news:
Analyze your customer’s financial reports, such as annual statements, quarterly reports, and investor presentations. Stay updated with their company news, press releases, and industry publications to understand their financial performance, growth trajectory, and recent developments.

Check for any existing partnerships or collaborations:
Research your customer’s existing partnerships and collaborations with other companies. Identify their key strategic alliances, joint ventures, or supplier relationships. This will help you understand their network and potential areas for collaboration or partnership.

Consider scheduling a discovery call with your customer to gather more insights:
While I mention this in the earlier pain point comment, we may sometimes have little to no interaction. We must approach with the intent to listen and learn.

Be a consultant, a partner to your customer

Arrange a discovery call or meeting with your customer to have a more in-depth discussion and gather additional insights. Prepare a set of questions to learn about their specific needs, preferences, and pain points. This personal interaction will foster a deeper understanding of your customer’s requirements.

Bryan Gregory is a seasoned leader with a deep understanding of the ValueSelling methodology, mentoring and leadership. He has a track record of driving growth and innovation by focusing on the needs of his customers and building high-performing teams, and has leveraged and managed to the ValueSelling Framework® for more than ten years across several large organizations.