Google Alerts – eyes in the back of your head

Originally published August 24, 2008 on my original blog, Sales Training 2.0.

Google Alerts is a fantastic, and free, resource to help you keep extra eyes on your prospects, clients, competitors … and even on how your own firm is being written about on the web.

I was initially hesitant to start using this tool because I am already overloaded with far too many blogs and email newsletters from assorted prospects and competitors however I gave this a 10 day test period and came away a believer.

If you are like me and already overloaded by data here are a few reasons why you might want to use Google Alerts (though as with most things, use this in moderation!):

Salespeople

  • Having a hard time finding a valid business reason that is compelling enough for a prospect to take your call or respond to your email?  Having a tough time finding information on business drivers because the prospect is not a public company?
  • … Set up an alert for the company and use a keyword that you think would help, for example “XYZ Inc.” “sales”.  You might also set up an alert with the VP Sales’ name

Executives

  • Wish you knew what your competitors were up to even though you don’t have a formal competitive intelligence intiative?  Wondering if any of your alliance partners are starting to shack up with one of your competitors?
  • … Set up an alert for the company names by themselves
  • Wondering if anyone in the industry is being bought or sold?
  • … Set up an alert for “sales training” “acquisition” … this caught a variety of press releases confirming  rumors I had heard of Miller Heiman’s recent sale as well as one for Corporate Visions’ recent acquisition that wasn’t on my radar screen

Using the tool is simple.  Just go to Google Alerts and enter each Alert you want along with two pieces of information – what type of Alert do you want (I use Comprehensive), and how often do you want it (I get some Once a day and some Once a week).

That’s it!  Try them out for 10 days and play around with a few keywords.  Delete the Alerts that aren’t worth the 10 seconds of reading time.

Let me know if you find another good use for the Alerts.