Every time you source or decide to start working a lead, you should create a Google alert for the company. That way, any time a piece of content or webpage is indexed in Google under that company name, you'll receive a notification.
These notifications will help you discover more and better reasons to reach out to your leads other than the generic "just following up" or "just checking in." Yuck. These types of messages aren't great because you have nothing valuable to say to the prospect.
Don't be self-serving -- set up Google alerts for your leads so you can reach out when it's a good time for them, not you. And when I say create an alert for every lead, I mean it. You should see what the Google alerts folder looks like in my Gmail -- it's huge.
How to Create a Google Alert
First, go to Google Alerts (https://www.google.com/alerts) and search for your lead.
Once you type in your term, Google will show you some search results of recent articles and/or webpages indexed with those keyword sets or that company's name.
Then simply enter your email address, and click "Create Alert." That's it!
Lastly, set up a folder in your email inbox labeled "Google Alerts" and direct all of the alerts to be sent there. This will create a single repository for your alerts so they don't clutter up your inbox.
Setting up an alert probably takes three seconds, tops. So I'd encourage you to do this every single time you start to work a lead. Make it part of your process.
When you have time to go through these alerts, you will find interesting nuggets of information about the leads and opportunities you are following. These so-called "trigger events" will shape the way you reach out to your leads moving forward.
Make sure to add this information to your notes (in your CRM software, notetaking app, or good old paper notebook) on the lead or opportunity. With all your newfound knowledge in one central place, it'll be easier to act on it in a smarter, more timely way.
You might not think you have the time to comb through piles of alerts, but it's worth the effort thanks to the insights you will gain. If you take this one step every time you decide to work a lead, you will have real reasons to reach out to the company, rather than "just checking in." And by becoming more knowledgeable of what's going on in their world, you'll show yourself to be interested and valuable.
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Womenpreneurs, and is reprinted here with permission.