What exactly is sales intelligence? It’s tricky to pin down the exact definition. The term “sales intelligence” is most often referred to when talking about CRM’s. Sales intelligence can also mean any tool used for gathering information on prospects. Sales intelligence combines market intelligence and competitive intelligence.
Market intelligence means understanding where your product fits in. You’ll know what the demand is for your product and who the target customers are. Competitive intelligence is data about your competitor’s market share. It gives you insights into similar companies in your space.
Primary Intelligence says, “if the information can be used to help salespeople sell more, we think it can properly be classified as sales intelligence.”
Salespeople know that finding and remembering personalized information about every prospect is time-consuming. Most salespeople have undoubtedly spent time googling prospects and updating CRM entries. Intelligence tools can automate and streamline data points without manual work.
There are free and easy ways to find data and build lists. These lists usually contain company names, phone numbers, and revenue. However, SaaS solutions involve multiple stakeholders and longer sales cycles. With this type of sale, basic data just won’t do. That’s where sales intelligence steps in.
Unlike the static prospect lists of the past, B2B intelligence is dynamic. It can continually update and reflect changes within organizations. It uncovers personnel moves, decision-makers, budgets, percentage of yearly growth, and company initiatives. Imagine how tailored a salesperson’s pitch could get with this information on hand.
Sales intelligence can supercharge your sales approach. Let’s look at the following areas of customer knowledge.
Sales intelligence tools are vital to implementing sales strategies for your team. You can use the data gathered from intelligence software alongside your lists. This will improve the quality of sales leads.
Today, your target customers expect you to know their business. This is why sales managers always stress “pre-call” preparation before meeting with prospects.
1. Data quality
It all starts with data quality. Many CRM companies charge by the record. This means number of notes, contacts, and other pieces of stored information. Many companies don’t realize that a minimum of 30% of their data goes bad each year. This means that the information you use to generate lists and track opportunities isn’t accurate. Yet you’re still paying for it. The fallout? Inaccurate forecasting, high bounce rates, misdirected messaging, and wasted time calling wrong numbers.
Your tech tools and marketing messages are useless if they’re not reaching the right person. An intelligence tool will gather fresh, updated data. This new data will then be infused into your technology platforms. Look for features such as syncing, de-duping, and refreshing your existing data.
2. Ideal customer profile or “avatar”
One of the first things sales rep learn in training is who the ideal customer is. The ideal customer profile (ICP) is usually made up of:
This target customer profile is usually a guess made by heads of companies. It’s who the product ideally targets. Over time, reps will discover opportunities that can either prove or disprove the ideal customer profile. As the company matures and grows, the ICP can become vague, which is where sales intelligence comes in.
Usually, the growth of your company will prompt you to create an account-based strategy. To have laser-focused sales efforts, you need to know more about your buyers and market. This will allow you to discover your niche and what your strengths are. Sales intelligence adds to the ICP by collecting:
- Technologies used.
- Intent data (a buyer’s behavioral information based on online activity and research).
- Business model.
With sales intelligence information, you’ll know who to call on and what solution they’re searching for. You’ll know how to reach them, and what to say. This makes for more sales productivity
3. Prospecting/Lead generation
For sales activities, technology and automation shouldn’t replace everything. It should simplify your efforts. Marketing campaigns, trade shows, and list-buying should still be in your arsenal. Sales intelligence is a critical addition to keeping the funnel filled with leads.
Here’s an example of a double-sided approach to lead gen automation:
Automation as an add on:
Let’s say your company held an event or had a booth at an industry-specific trade show. The booth attendants’ responsibility is networking and collecting prospects’ information. What’s left by the end of the event is usually a pile of business cards that get handed off to marketing.
Marketing will then enter the business cards into a database and hope that they’re viable leads. But how often is the person you spoke to at a tradeshow the exact decision-maker you were looking for? That’s where sales intelligence comes in.
DiscoverOrg gathers information from business cards and generates an entire org chart. From there, you can pinpoint the correct decision-maker. Mentioning that you met their colleague at a tradeshow makes for warmer outreach.
Automatic lead gen:
Lead gen can now be entirely automated. Broken down, prospecting consists of research, list building, cold outreach, and follow up. There are platforms out there like Apollo that automate this entire process for each rep.
The sales process isn’t over after conversion. For SaaS companies, upsell, cross-sell, and renewal is critical for revenue generation. For software, a continued sales process is vital. This is why there’s a burgeoning demand for customer success roles in tech companies.
You’ve probably heard the adage “it costs more to acquire new customers than to keep the old ones.” With artificial intelligence (AI) you can recognize opportunities for upselling with existing customers.
Take customer engagement software Artesian. This software enables relationship managers to get the latest updates on their customers. The data points include expansions, buy-outs, and other newsworthy events. You’ll also get insights like key personnel moves, spending initiatives, and financial performance.
Knowing usage numbers and contract end dates simply isn’t enough information. You want to uncover all the possible opportunities within an account. Sales intelligence helps build a complete picture of your customers. This picture enables you to provide the highest level of sales and service.
When it comes to your sales team, intelligence is a necessary investment. The information allows your company to provide the selling experience that buyers expect. For most companies, there aren’t adequate tools to provide salespeople with this knowledge.
It takes time and effort to gather information on prospects. This information is what makes reps feel confident when going into selling conversations. By examining your sales process, you can pinpoint must-have information for powerful conversations. From there, you can invest in the intelligence tools and software that sets your sales team up for success.