Sales are becoming trickier by the day. The pace of business is accelerating, industries are becoming more competitive, and customer expectations are growing daily. Salespeople need to act faster and smarter to stay competitive and keep conversions coming in.
This has made using sales intelligence software that provide relevant and accurate data an absolute necessity. In fact, sales teams that use sales intelligence solutions report up to 35% more leads. But what exactly is sales intelligence? How does it work?
How Does Sales Intelligence Software Work?
The primary function of sales intelligence software is to aggregate vast amounts of customer profile data from a multitude of sources. It then has to collate, store, and organize that data to make it accessible to salespeople. The goal is to make collecting and using customer profile information easier and possible at scales that wouldn’t be feasible with manual methods.
Sales intelligence tools gather information from various sources, including apps, websites, and social media platforms. The information they collect includes news, demographics, and a variety of data points on potential leads, prospects, and accounts. It may also collect more behavior-rich data, such as past interactions, engagement metrics, etc.
Sales intelligence systems quickly access and use this data by bringing everything together in a single visual, user-friendly dashboard. As a single source of truth regarding client accounts, it helps everyone collaborate and stay on the same page, including individual salespeople, separate sales teams, or even across sales and marketing departments.
It also integrates with other business tools for a seamless workflow experience. For example, CRMs, sales tracking tools, email marketing systems, and other sales & marketing-related technologies.
The main benefits of sales intelligence tools are:
● Decreases the time needed to do research
● Allows for prospecting on a larger scale and generating more leads
● It makes it easier to conduct personalized sales and marketing campaigns
● Helps all stakeholders collaborate and orchestrate individual accounts or entire sales/marketing campaigns
Today, sales intelligence platforms are living up to their name. Far from simply collecting and storing data, they also utilize AI and machine learning for intelligent data processing and manipulation. This can help with automating the process of qualifying, prioritizing, and reaching out to leads, as well as personalizing interactions.
Data: The Essential Component in Sales Intelligence
Data is at the very core of what makes a sales intelligence platform. Not only by harvesting data but also by making it possible to extract the maximum value from every prospect or account. At the most basic level, a sales intelligence platform is a repository of all your prospects and leads. For each account, it will store information like:
● Company information or bio-data for individuals
● Demographic, firmographic, chronographic, or ethnographic data
● Contact information
● Industry or occupation
● If it’s a business account, a list of all individual contacts/decision-makers
● Social media profiles or other online accounts
On the surface, that may seem like a glorified, modern-day, digital Rolodex. However, sales intelligence tools today aim to give salespeople much richer insights into the behaviors, buying signals, intent, and engagement levels of potential clients. To do this, sales intelligence systems also gather the following information:
● What articles they’ve read or videos they’ve watched
● Recent or past social media interactions
● What websites they’ve visited
● What products or services they’ve purchased, signed up for, or trailed
● Other online interactions, like writing reviews, attending events/webinars, downloading reports, etc.
● Email-related information, like which emails were opened/ignored, email links clicked, replies, etc.
● Visitor analytics, such as pages visited, time on page, interactions, exit pages, etc.
Another powerful feature of sales intelligence tools is that they can pick up on buying signals to collect the most valuable data and inform your sales outreach attempts.
All of this data combines to provide salespeople with a complete customer profile. Salespeople can use this information plus any intelligence-based recommendations to:
● Customize the sales journey for each account
● Personalize outreach and social interactions
● Decide when and how to reach out for maximum effect
● Tailor product and service offerings
● Pick up and act on intent-rich buying signals
● Prioritize accounts based on intent
● Identify upsell or cross-selling opportunities
Different Types of Sales Intelligence Tools
Currently, there are two main branches of sales intelligence tools: lead-based and account-based tools. There is a lot of debate regarding whether account-based marketing or lead generation is the most effective approach. However, the truth is that the best option depends on the nature of your business, product or services, and clientele. Some companies may even benefit from using both approaches when conducting sales.
Here is a quick breakdown of each, the differences between them, and when you should use them:
Lead-based Sales Intelligence
Lead-based generation is the more conventional approach to sales. It relies primarily on generating as many leads as possible in the hopes of converting as many into buyers. One way of looking at it is casting a big net to catch and pull an entire school of fish.
Previously, lead-based marketing relied mostly on cold outreach, mainly via email campaigns. The focus is on generating leads and qualifying them before moving further down the customer journey.
Today most businesses use a combination of inbound and outbound marketing to maximize leads. However, lead-based generation still typically involves attracting and selling to individuals (B2C), whether they are acting independently on behalf of a company.
Account-based Sales Intelligence
Account-based marketing is a strategy that focuses more on converting high-ticket accounts that come with more long-term value. Because you pour so much more effort into each account, this approach is typically used by sales teams in the B2B space.
Each account may consist of multiple individuals involved in the buying decision-making process for the target business. The sales journey, therefore, relies on liaising with and nurturing multiple stakeholders to close a deal.
Account-based marketing is also less focused on quick wins and more on long-term value. The first time a new account makes a purchase is not the end but the start of the journey. Salespeople continue to manage the relationship and nurture the account for the opportunity to upsell, cross-sell, or keep the account alive through renewing subscriptions or making regular purchases.
Invest in Sales Intelligence
Sales intelligence is not the way of the future. It’s already here. The sales intelligence market was estimated at an enormous $5.60 billion in 2021 and is expected to keep growing at a CAGR of 11.6%. If you’re not investing in sales intelligence, you’re already falling further behind by the day.
Topic: Sales Intelligence Software