Sales Intelligence Blog

The Four Levels of Sales Intelligence and How to Apply Them

Sales intelligence is, both in terms of market size and ideological adoption, growing year on year. For example, data shows that the market will grow by 10.5% CAGR up to 2027. However, how can you be sure that you are applying sales intel effectively? As it transpires, Jeb Blount discusses different types of intelligence in sales - four, in fact, that vary in style.

Concept of human intelligence with human brain on blue background

Various sources suggest that the four central stages of sales intel are innate, acquired, technological and emotional. But, how can we effectively apply each of these intelligence paragons in our sales and marketing strategies? Let’s explore how each may affect your own sales roadmaps moving forward.

Innate Intelligence

According to Blount, innate intelligence is, ultimately, the intelligence one is born with. This is primarily measured by IQ or intelligence quotient. There is a strong argument that people can become more intelligent through life experience and study. However, innate intelligence in sales utilizes your built-in ability to discern and solve problems.

When applied to sales, Innate intelligence can be a blessing and a curse. It can be a blessing to know how to manage and use data for long-term strategies. It can also be highly beneficial to harness innate intelligence to look at patterns and correlations. Crucially, technology will only ever do so much for you, and not all apps for hardware are designated as entry-level.

Therefore, some innate intelligence is instrumental in sales. It can tie in with a thirst for growth, knowledge, and success. These are key drivers in all walks of sales and marketing. However, those with innate intelligence alone may struggle to build critical relationships.

Innate intelligence alone can breed superiority complexes when not kept in check. Effective sales intelligence is just as much about critical insight as emotional connectivity. We need to understand and appreciate our customers, not purely see them as numbers. That’s why the three following intelligence paragons help keep innate smarts in check.

Acquired Intelligence

Acquired intelligence is, as it reads, knowledge and skills you build and develop over time. No salespeople are born with all of the answers. It’s crucial to keep learning long into a career in sales for one key reason - the world is constantly evolving.

The sales techniques of a decade past may have worked with minimal innate intelligence and charisma. However, the modern customer is savvier and more discerning than ever before. This means that they are more difficult to predict and to make assumptions around. Cajoling customers with worn sales patter will not breed long-term results in the modern era.

Acquired intelligence begins with a willingness to develop and improve. Sales professionals may learn more about commerce analytics, for example, as online shopping continues to explode. Others may choose to learn more about how to canvass customers effectively. Some may even go as far as learning how to develop practical, persuasive copywriting skills.

Acquired intelligence also arrives through experience. Experience breeds confidence - in sales. This allows us to make faster, more reliable decisions. We can use data from analytics tools and software to back up our instincts. We can also tie our innate intelligence in here to better understand the data we are presented with.

Breaking into sales without acquired intelligence or a willingness to learn leads professionals to dead ends. When it comes to wider sales intelligence, acquired knowledge helps us to make snap decisions that drive positive results.

Technological Intelligence

Of course, when referring to sales intel programs and apps, technological intelligence is a must. You do not necessarily have to be innately intelligent to ‘work well with machines’. However, combining technological intelligence with the facets explored in this guide is crucial for long-term sales success.

Sales success is increasingly tethered to how we manage and manipulate data. Data is growing exponentially, and our dependency on technology, likewise. To better use sales intel to our advantage, we must be willing to adapt to new technologies and new ways of thinking.

Those considered highly successful in sales, thanks to technological intelligence, will be willing to adapt and pivot. Technological intelligence can be challenging to acquire. High intelligence at this quarter arrives through a willingness to embrace new systems and setups.

For many, technological intelligence in sales can arrive through sheer necessity. Adopting specific systems and processes and working with them daily to pull data will eventually become second nature. However, as technology is constantly evolving (via machine learning), the learning process has no logical end.

Those sales professionals with high technological intelligence show willingness to use tech too, and beyond its limitations. They will learn to use technology to solve challenges and problems of varying sizes and importance. Ultimately, salespeople must be willing to learn to keep ahead of the machines.

Is it a case of does technology work for you - or do you work for technology?

Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional intelligence is the final paragon to sales intel, and it’s extremely important. Without EQ, as it is known, the data and processing skills we possess will fall flat. Without an understanding of human context, or emotional drivers, we have flat, lifeless data. It is, some argue, what sets humans apart from artificial intelligence.

We can fine-tune our sales funnels and intelligence plans by understanding and appreciating human emotions and contexts. Without some form of EQ, an e-commerce sales specialist may not understand abandoned basket behavior. Without some appreciation for the customer, closing sales would become highly complex.

EQ allows us to connect with our customers and understand their driving motivators. This helps us to direct our advertising better and to hone our sales copy, too.


Sales intelligence is more than simply crunching numbers and consuming data. We need to understand and apply this information in many different ways - which is why it’s always essential to learn. An excellent place to start - for example - may be to source upcoming funding data via Fundz.



Topic: Sales Intelligence Concepts