Research & Preparing For Meetings

When preparing for an important sales meeting, salespeople will generally do a bunch of research; they'll read news articles, read the company's 10-k, check out the LinkedIn profiles of the people in the meeting, etc. Often, they'll spend money on Hoovers or other databases to gain any edge they can. Of course there's nothing wrong with this, but one thing to consider: how often has the thing that you currently care about most at work (the thing that is going to get you a big bonus) been available in a 10-k or a press release.

Sure, directionally we know that you want to grow revenue or cuts costs or prioritize a new product launch. But I can't learn the important specifics of that in the media or in a 10-k. Further, business has become so much more iterative over the years that, in my experience, by the time the media picked up on an initiative I was working on, we were already onto the next thing.

With that in mind, I would propose that when you do research, you prioritize having conversations with people on the inside. Before a meeting, find someone you can talk to that will help you prepare. It could be a junior person, it could be a personal assistant, it could be anyone that can help you get information.

These people should be happy to talk to you. You're not having these conversations to get inside info you shouldn't have access to, you're having these conversations to make the upcoming meeting more productive.

So when preparing for a meeting, yes, do your research. But more importantly, have conversations with people on the inside that know what people on the inside care about.