Prospect Practice: 7 Steps to Scout Out Ideal Target Companies

Back in the days when I was in sales, bc – before computers, we relied on a red bound directory to tell us who to call on. While you can get much richer and deeper information faster on the Internet, making a list of target companies focuses your efforts. And, having a set of filters lets you sift out the best matches from the millions of options out there. A site called lists over 67 million companies. Whether you need one ideal match, a few perfect fits or many good connections, this post will help you scout out idea target companies.

Inspiration credit goes to a career planning experience for professionals project I’m working on. The team asked me to put together a simple guide for how to target companies. In the workshop, my co-presenters will talk about how to match your values with the company’s values.

Question for you: How much do you think you can tell about a company’s value set from their social media interactions?

7 Ways to Scout out and Target Ideal Companies

1. Browse industries

2. Narrow preferred locations by city, state, region or country

3. Focus on optimal environment: size, culture, people, advancement and consider the aspects of each type of business organization:

• Business to business or business to consumer
• Headquarters or branch office
Small Business
• Business to business or business to consumer
• Headquarters or branch office
• Education
• Cause-related
• Association
• Federal, State, Local
• Headquarters or branch

4. Select target companies that may match
Make a short list and include any prospects that sound interesting.

5. Research:, LinkedIn companies and social networking profiles

6. Make connections with people from your networks, visit or join associations where they will be, comment on company blogs and interact on social networks

7. Make a presentation, get interviewed and retained, contracted or hired!

How to Research a Company Resources

Business Intelligence
CEO Express
Corporate Information
Yahoo! Finance

Conversation Collections
Search the company name + forum or “sucks” if you want to find out what people are talking about. There are dozens of social media monitoring sites out there. Here, we’ll focus on forums and groups.
Google Groups
Yahoo! Groups
LinkedIn Groups

Industry Research
Yahoo Industry News
Marketwire Newsroom Search
PR Web Industry News
PR Newswire Industry News
Webwire News by Industry
Business Technology Management Best Practices Research

To learn more about researching companies, check out this tutorial.

One resource, not listed below, is the company’s newsroom. How current is it? What are they announcing? Who’s quoted – customers or executives? Another is their presence on social networks. Are they there? Where? What’s going on? Do people talk to them, about them? Does the company respond?

What tools do you use to target companies for you or your business?

Image credit: Barbara Rozgonyi copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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