One of the best ways to get great historical information about an account that you are trying to break into is to use a little-known site called The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org). Many of my sales training customers have never heard of this site, but once they see it, they love it!
The internet archive has been quietly capturing historical snapshots of many popular sites since 1996. You can use the archive to find lots of interesting data about a company even if they have changed or even taken down their site. Here are some examples:
- Who were the officers of the company, who were their predecessors, who proceeded them.
- What did they say in old (and possibly no longer archived) news/press releases?
- What was their market focus, has it changed over time?
- Did they acquire any other companies or change their name?
- Have they had job openings for people who could buy you product or service?
I’ll bet you can think of lots of other interesting B2B sales info to gather as well, let’s take a look at an example of how you might use the archive:
To find out who was on the initial senior management team?
- Surf over to the archive site: http://www.archive.org
- Type in the URL of the company you would like to research, i’ll use: www.windriver.com
- Click on the earliest possible date shown, in my case June 26, 1998
- Click on corporate, then click on background, then senior management
- You should now be looking at a list of executives who were in place in 1998!
Now try the same exercise using March 29th, 2004
- Click on about us
- Then click on corporate bios
- You will that their are some changes in personnel
You can poke around your target site and get a look at old news items, shows attended, partners you get the idea.
One thing to note, the archive does not get data from every site. The best thing to do is pick a site and check it out.
Please let me know if you have questions or comments