Understanding Sales Intelligence: A Guide

Aashish Gururaj for Outplay

By 

Aashish Gururaj for Outplay

Published 

June 28, 2022

Understanding Sales Intelligence: A Guide

In today’s sales world, you need to optimize strategies, processes, and techniques to boost your sales efficiency. Customers expect personalization at practically every phase of the sales cycle. If you want to provide customized solutions, you need accurate data. 

This is where sales intelligence comes into play. In this article, we are going to take a look at:

  • What is sales intelligence?
  • Its importance and benefits
  • The role of data in sales intelligence
  • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  • Sales intelligence tools
  • How sales intelligence works

If you are looking for a quick, comprehensive guide to sales intelligence, you’re in the right place.

What Is Sales Intelligence?

Sales intelligence is a collection of prospect insights and other relevant data that helps sales teams understand their prospects better. This allows sales teams to better understand workflows and the revenue cycle. Sales teams generally use various sales software to collect prospect data. 

Why Is Sales Intelligence Important?

Today, personalization is everything. You need personalization if you want to identify your ideal leads, pitch your services, nurture them, and ultimately boost your conversions.

Sales intelligence offers you the following: 

  • Specific needs and pain points of your buyers
  • Buyer intent of your customers and prospects
  • Customer loyalty after having converted them
  • Buyer persona characteristics

Sales intelligence: 

  1. Shortens the sales cycle

With sales intelligence data, salespeople do not have to waste time on people who aren't looking to buy their products. Instead, they can use it to find out when they have an intent to do so. In other words, there’s less time between the initial contact and closing. 

  1. Betters Customization

Salespeople can leverage sales intelligence data to find out when a prospect has an intent to buy or hear from them, making it easier for them to craft a message that is personalized to each prospect. 

  1. Enhances Productivity

Sales intelligence gives salespeople quicker, cleaner, accessible, and accurate data, making it easier for them to increase their sales and overall productivity. Ultimately, if you want better leads and a higher conversion rate, you will need as much accurate and relevant data as you can get. 

The Role Of Data In Sales Intelligence

As you know by now, data is crucial for sales intelligence. Here are four types of data you can use to increase your conversions: 

  1. Customer Funnel Data

A customer funnel is essentially the journey of a lead to a customer. A customer funnel shows you the exact sequence of events from the first point of contact till the actual sale. So, studying the customer funnel is vital because you will be able to find out:

  • Where you may have lost leads
  • The prospect’s overall experience
  • What caused the prospects to buy your products and become customers
  • Everything that went right and wrong from beginning to end

Here’s what you can do to build a robust customer funnel:

  • Use a sales intelligence tool to analyze your target audience’s behavior. 
  • Create a landing page to get leads
  • Send your leads valuable content through campaigns on multiple platforms (you can use Outplay’s Multichannel outreach tool for this)
  • Nurture each prospect up to a point where you are ready to sell
  • Try to upsell them to another product
  1. Website Analytics

Your website is where all your prospects will end up looking up resources or possibly pick up a product. This makes website analytics vitally important because everything that a prospect does on your site, every page that your prospect visits will tell you about their buyer intent. To get a grip on your prospect’s intent, here are a few questions you ought to answer:

  • Which are your website’s most visited pages?
  • How long were your prospects on these pages?
  • Which page(s) did they generally visit after the landing page?

You can use any website analytics tool to determine this information and identify your prospects’ pain points. Webinars, seminars, live streams, and other cool engaging online events have always served as excellent ways to fetch you high-quality leads. If you’ve held online events or plan on conducting them, be sure to collect data like:

  • Pain points, specific needs
  • Profession, industry, niche, title
  • Contact and personal details
  • Audience demographic data
  1. Buying Signals

As the name suggests, buying signals are signals that your prospects are ready to buy. A lack of understanding of buying signals is one of the primary reasons salespeople lose out on lucrative deals and closes. Here are a few buying signals you ought to look out for: 

  • Visits to a product page on your website
  • Filling up your forms with their personal details
  • Responding to a CTA like signing up for a demo or trial
  • High social media engagement

Benefits Of Sales Intelligence

In a nutshell, you need relevant, comprehensive data to know more about your prospects and gauge their buying intentions. You can use a sales intelligence tool to identify the prospect’s name, email address, job title, and other personal details. Intent data will help you gauge your prospect’s buying intentions.

Here are some benefits of sales intelligence: 

1. Find Your Target Audience Easily

How much time would you save if you were to find the customers you want without spending much time? Well, sales intelligence does that for you. You can use various data like company name, location, etc., to identify the potential customers that are likely to buy your products. 

2. Find Decision Makers Quickly

Finding and contacting decision-makers is absolutely crucial when it comes to sales. You need to identify the best person to contact. This means you need someone who is accessible and has the authority to make decisions. Getting the right decision maker means you can pitch your product to the right person, and not someone who doesn’t need it or is not in a position to take a call. Sales intelligence allows you to customize your outreach and send intelligent emails to these decision-makers to prompt a response. 

3. Improve Lead Generation & Qualification

Sales intelligence allows you to generate quality leads that match your ICP. We shall discuss your ICP in the next section. Most websites have a lead form that retrieves visitors’ names and email addresses. However, this data isn’t enough. You need to have more data like financial information, location, industry or niche, and so forth. Sales intelligence helps you qualify your leads and send them to the sales department faster, thereby giving you better sales in less time. 

4. Keep An Eye Out For Your Competitors

Besides helping you optimize your lead generation, qualification, finding your target audience, etc., sales intelligence also helps you monitor your competitors and stay ahead of the curve. 

5. Get In Touch With Your Customers At The Right Time

As you know, not reaching out to prospects or reaching out to them at the wrong time will cause you to lose out on sure-shot sales. However, with sales intelligence on your side, you will be able to recognize the correct time to contact them through buyer signals, news, trigger events, and so forth. 

Who Is Your Ideal Customer Profile?

In the previous section, we mentioned the term ICP. If you’re trying to boost your sales, wouldn’t it be useful to know your ideal customer? We thought so too. You can use sales intelligence to identify your ICP.

Your perfect customer or ICP is someone who is likely to purchase your product, benefit from it, and stick with you for the long-term. 

Before we get to defining your ICP, we need to understand why we need to have one in the first place:

  • For marketing: If you have your ICP in place, you will be able to run more specific, more productive campaigns, and create content that resonates with the people you are looking to target.

  • For Sales: Having your ICP ready will help you generate the right leads and reach out to them at the right time. This way, you can position yourself as the best possible option for your prospects, while avoiding people who aren’t looking to buy from you. In other words, increased productivity, and less time wasted. 

Knowing your ICP will help you focus all your efforts to boost your sales. Sales intelligence can help you develop your ICP (more on this later). 

Here’s how you define your ICP: 

1. Who Are Your Biggest Customers?

Look at your customer data to find out which companies are already your customers. Ideally, you want to look at the companies that spend the most, use your product the most, and benefit the most from it. 

Once you shortlist your biggest users, interview them to find out why they like your product. Here are a few things for you to find out:

  • How they found you
  • What value you were able to provide them or how you were able to solve their problems
  • How and when they were able to make the decision to purchase your product

2. Analyze The Data And Create An ICP Template

Analyze the data to identify the most common patterns and build your ICP template. You can use the following criteria to craft your ICP template: 

  • Pain points
  • Business goals
  • Company Size
  • Budget
  • Industry or niche
  • Titles of decision-makers
  • Buying process
  • Location

Of course, there’s no fixed template to identify your ICP. You need to continually make changes and refine your template to get the best results. 

Using Sales Intelligence To Develop Your ICP

Remember how we mentioned sales intelligence can help you develop your ICP? Once you know your ICP, you can use sales intelligence to reach more of your ideal customers at the right time. Here are the five different types of data you can use:

Intent Data: This data tells you which leads and accounts are actively searching for the products or solutions you have to offer. 

Chronographic Data: This is primarily company data that marketers consider to be sales triggers. Essentially it refers to a change or event in the company that could affect sales, for example, new hires, funding, product launch, etc.

Demographic Data: Demographic data refers to details like income, location, industry, etc. This data gives you a real picture of your ICP, telling you who your prospects really are. 

Firmographic Data: This data refers to types of information that you can use to categorize your prospects like geographic location, industry, revenue etc. 

Technographic Data: Technographic data tells you which technologies your prospective customers are using. If you find that they are using your competitors’ products, it’s clear that your products can help address their pain points. 

How Do Sales Intelligence Tools Work?

In a nutshell, sales intelligence tools collect, sort, analyze, and evaluate large amounts of data that you can find online publicly. 

Sales intelligence tools continually crawl millions of public sites and aggregate relevant information from a variety of sources. Some sales intelligence tools provide sales teams with in-depth, accurate insights from their previous interactions with their prospects, thereby saving them lots of time that would have otherwise gone in research and analysis. These tools gather this data and match it to the profiles in their database and allow sales teams to search and evaluate this data. 

Sales intelligence tools are often confused with CRM tools. 

to The primary difference between them is that CRM tools allow you to conduct and document your interactions with prospects while sales intelligence tools allow sales teams to use and evaluate prospect data.

Sales Intelligence tools primarily focus on the following: 

  • Aggregating vital information that you can use to reach out to clients via LinkedIn, email, calls, etc.

  • Creating prospect lists in order of priority to help reach out to the most promising prospects first
  • Continually collecting new lead information to keep your CRM up-to-date

How Does Sales Intelligence Affect The B2B Sales Process?

Sales intelligence facilitates the B2B sales process in the following ways:

Creating your ICP

We’ve already discussed ICPs, but you should know that every business needs an ICP. After all, you are not looking to target everyone. You are looking for the ideal buyer and tailor your marketing and sales efforts to them. Sales intelligence allows you to make lists of target companies and buyers that match your ICP.

The five types of data mentioned above (intent, chronographic, firmographic, demographic, and technographic data) will help you zero in on the right prospects. 

Lead Scoring

Now that you have your ideal leads responding and engaging with your content, you can use sales intelligence to gauge which of these leads are most interested. You can use sales intelligence tools to gauge your audience’s responses to your emails and other forms of outreach. 

Qualification & Outreach

At this stage, you will have to contact your prospects and qualify them. Sales intelligence tools not only give you the right data of the prospects you want to reach, but also monitor many data points, thereby helping you reach out to the prospect when they are most receptive. 

Features Of Sales Intelligence Tools 

Contrary to what you might believe, there are different sales intelligence tools for different purposes. Here are a few features that sales intelligence tools have: 

Sales Engagement

Ultimately, you want to increase your sales. Sales engagement enhances the communication between the sales and marketing teams. As a result, sales teams become more focused, save more time, and personalize their communication with their prospects. As you know, personalization and customization are paramount to closing deals.

Prospects become customers if they feel understood and looked after from point of contact until the end of the buying process. 

Sales engagement describes the relationship between the salesperson and the prospect in question, which is represented by the conversations they have. Sales engagement tools personalize and automate the customer journey for each prospect, thus optimizing communication with them (including social media content, emails, calls etc.)

Outplay does that for you. Click here to sign up for a demo.   

Lead Qualification

If you want quality leads without having to spend too much time, you will have to qualify your leads. Sales intelligence software allows you to qualify your leads. These tools tell you which leads to target and which others to avoid. Some tools allow you to prioritize your leads and list them accordingly based on templates and rules. 

Lead Generation

There are many sales intelligence tools that help you in prospecting and lead generation. You can define certain criteria and the software will show you exactly who your leads are. These tools will give you lists of your potential customers along with vital details like public contact information, address, company details, and so on. You can engage these leads straight away. Besides this, some of these tools offer email alerts every time there is a change in your target audience or target customers. 

Data Enrichment

Sometimes, CRMs have incomplete data. Having incomplete customer records with missing information like phone numbers, email addresses, and other contact information can make it difficult for salespeople to reach out to potential customers. Sales intelligence tools are known to enrich the data within your CRM by completing missing fields. It also helps you with your lead nurturing and lead scoring. 

Conclusion

Sales intelligence isn’t here to replace anything or anyone. It is here to supplement. However, it is a necessity if you want to boost your conversions. Accurate, relevant, and in-depth data will help you get the right leads at the right time to boost your conversions. There are tons of sales intelligence tools to choose from, depending on what features you are looking for. Take a look at Outplay’s sales intelligence platform right here, and if you are looking for more resources on everything sales-related, check out our blog.

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