Digital technologies haven't just made businesses smarter and more competitive, they've also made customers and buyers more informed. Especially when it comes to B2B sales, buyers these days conduct thorough research regarding the market, as well as the numerous products/services available to them. What this essentially means is that companies need to be more intelligent in their sales processes if they wish to turn prospects into clients. How can they do that? By keeping track of every bit of information about their company, their market and their competitors, which helps give them an advantage over said competitors, while also increasing their chances of closing the deal. This is exactly what sales intelligence is meant for. In this article, we'll discuss what sales intelligence is, and how it can help you close more deals. Let's begin.
What is sales intelligence?
Sales intelligence can be defined as the process of gathering information on prospective clients/customers through multiple sources and channels. You can think of it as an offshoot of market and competitive intelligence that focuses on an organization's prospects. Sales intelligence gathers insights that help the sales teams understand the context and behavior of a prospect/buyer. According to Forbes, buyers report having higher expectations from sellers. They expect sales reps to understand buyer preferences and focus on helping buyers achieve their goals rather than making a quick sale. Thus, a deeper insight into a buyer's corporate history, financial performance and preferences is necessary for sales teams to determine their intent. Sales intelligence helps to bridge the gap between your sales team and your prospects, as well as sales and marketing, enhancing the sales conversation and helping to move negotiations with potential clients forward. When executed effectively, sales intelligence can be the greatest tool ever to grace your sales team's arsenal.
Why is sales intelligence important?
Sales intelligence is important because it helps sales professionals find, monitor, and understand information that provides them insights into their prospects and existing customers. These insights help salespeople stay up to date about changes in their target accounts. As more and more organizations begin to use sales intelligence to understand their target accounts and the pain points of the decision-makers at those organizations, it is soon becoming a must-have for sales success. However, organizations aren’t adopting sales intelligence simply as a trend, but due to its proven effectiveness and the benefits it offers.
What are the benefits of sales intelligence?
Sales intelligence exists for the sole purpose of keeping salespeople informed, and help them perform their job better. Here are some of the several benefits it offers to salespeople.
1. Increased productivity
When you continuously monitor your prospects through sales intelligence, it becomes easier to understand their intent, and identify those prospects who are actively engaged in a buying decision based on the content on their website, news and other sources. This approach saves time and effort, which would have been wasted chasing low-interest leads.
2. Better Conversations
Most of the time, conversations with prospects are less about the product or service and more about their goals, pain points, hesitations, preferences, etc. But unless your salespeople know about these, conversations are going to turn out drab. Sales intelligence helps you identify prospects’ interests and craft the right talking points, steering the conversation in a direction where you get positive responses.
3. Shorter Sales Cycle
Salespeople often chase the wrong prospects due to a lack of sales intelligence, which makes the sales cycle unnecessarily long. Targeting one decision-maker in your target account is much better than targeting 10 employees who ‘might’ be able to influence the decision-maker. This requires insights to understand intent, and to create personalized content for the decision-maker by leveraging said insights. This reduces average lead to close time.
4. Better Sales Strategy
Informed planning leads to better sales strategies. Sales intelligence can help the sales leadership understand their prospects and their buying behavior better, allowing them to build sales strategies that better engage prospects and improve lead conversion.
How to find the right sales intelligence data?
Sales intelligence data is much more than a list of names, phone numbers and email addresses. As mentioned before, you need to understand who your ideal buyers are before you approach them. There are three things that must be determined before you target a buyer, and you'll need specific data in order to do that. Let's have a look at what those three things are:
- 1. Suitability:
- First, you must collect data on whether a prospect is a right fit for your product/services. You'll need information such as the company rofile, contact profile and financial profile to determine their suitability.
- 2. Intent:
- Intent simply means if your prospect is interested in a product or service such as yours. To determine intent, you'll need data on their marketing activity and social media activity, as well as any other sales triggers in the news that link the prospect to the need for a solution.
- 3. Opportunity:
- Third, you monitor your accounts for opportunities such as leadership changes, new sources of funding, and/or acquisitions, which can act as signals to pursue them aggressively.
Now let us understand the different ways you can look for sales triggers or buying signals, and then gather target accounts based on their suitability, intent and opportunity.
1. By reading articles in industry journals and other publications such as case studies, e-books, solution pages etc. that might point to organizations that could benefit from your product/service
2. By following and monitoring companies on social media (this includes prospects and their competitors)
3. By monitoring your competitors and their key accounts, identifying prospects that might be dissatisfied with your competitors’ offerings, and getting them onboard
4. By monitoring the news related to your prospects or news in which they are mentioned
5. By attending webinars and conferences related to your prospect’s industry
6. By identifying key events that could result in increased interest in your product or service
7. By reading analyst reports for guidance on market movement
Doing all of this manually requires a good amount of time, effort and resources to be spent on gathering sales intelligence. Most organizations these days simply use a sales intelligence platform or software to automate all of this, and thus save time and effort.
How can a sales intelligence software help your organization?
A sales intelligence software can help organizations in a number of ways, including:
1. Identifying target accounts
You can use insights provided by sales intelligence software to identify individuals that match your ideal customer profile (ICP).
2. Setting up sales trigger alerts
Sales intelligence software provides real-time data on your prospects by monitoring them, and notifying you about any key events using automated alerts.
3. Enriching your existing customer data
You can use insights from sales intelligence software to enrich your existing customer data.
4. Personalizing your sales strategy
The more information you have on a prospect, the better and more personalized experiences you can provide them in the way you sell to them. Personalizing your sales approach yields higher-quality leads and more conversions.
5. Conducting market research and gaining insights
When you know how many potential leads are out there, you can forecast and allocate resources more accurately. Comprehensive intelligence platforms like Contify, which offer market and competitive intelligence too, as well as sales intelligence, can help your organization target more high-quality accounts in addition to helping you keep a watch over your competitors.
How Contify can help with sales intelligence?
At this point in the article, two things are perfectly clear:
- that triggering engaging conversations with your key accounts is essential to upsell/cross-sell, and finally drive revenue, and
- that a sales intelligence platform is a much better option than doing it manually. Contify is not only a state-of-the-art market and competitive intelligence platform, but a powerful sales intelligence tool. Here's how it can help you target key accounts to attain sales success through cross-selling/upselling and boost revenue.
1. Empowers your account executives
Building trust with your prospects/clients is an important part of account management. Contify provides insights on industry trends, prospects’ current business needs and new initiatives, and their competitors’ announcements, which could be related to prospects. These insights are sourced from over 2,00,000 relevant business sources that allow you to drive conversations, and hence, conversions.
2. Helps create powerful messaging and content
Contify helps target key decision-makers in your target organization by helping create personalized messaging and content designed to resonate with them and build relationships. Sales intelligence gathered using the Contify platform will let you embed thought-provoking insights and data into your content.
3. Facilitates sales operations
Contify not only allows you to get intelligence for your list of target accounts via smart filters, it also allows you to create a new list of accounts to be targeted based on sales triggers such as evidence of interest, current vendor dissatisfaction, financial changes, changes in competitive tactics, growth, etc.
Sales intelligence not only provides you with ammunition to use in your hunt for your ideal accounts, but it is also essential in this day and age where prospects are well-informed about the state of the market and expect personalized and relevant interactions with the sales function of the organization pursuing them. Thus, it is important for organizations to determine how they'll gather sales intelligence data and how they'll apply its insights to grow their client-base and increase conversions. Sales intelligence tools are the most preferred option to gather intelligence on key accounts nowadays, as they save a lot of time and manual effort, and can integrate with CRMs and sales enablement platforms to make things easier for salespeople and drive meaningful actions. Automating and maximizing sales intelligence using such platforms will help you to build a centralized platform full of clean, actionable insights and get you better leads and clients.