For a long time, sales in the B2B space used to be a static and monotonous process. On one hand, we had salespeople randomly calling people from a list of prospects hoping to connect with the right decision-makers. On the other hand, we had events and conferences where deals were signed primarily through personal connections and networks. Neither method works well currently. Untargeted outreach wastes time and personal connections are hard to scale.
Yes, we still use the same tools – calls, emails, events, etc., but how they are used has evolved dramatically over the years. Instead of purchasing a bulk list of contacts and then deciding who to target, the modern salesperson spends time studying their ideal customers and curates highly targeted lists. In essence, that is intelligent selling.
What is Sales Intelligence?
To be fair, Sales Intelligence is a fairly new term that encapsulates a whole range of tools and techniques revenue teams use to find and win more customers. It is more about the process of selling than any specific tech stack.
Some of the key markers that differentiate Sales Intelligence from traditional processes of selling include:
- High call-to-connect ratio
- Low bounce rates
- High conversion rates
- Shorter sales cycles
- Stronger pipeline
Each of these markers is contributed by specific components of Sales Intelligence that ultimately culminate in a cohesive, targeted, and effective sales process. There are currently numerous B2B Sales Intelligence platforms in the market (like SalesIntel), all of which support these processes at varying levels.
How to Use Sales Intelligence?
If you haven’t used any Sales Intelligence tool in the past or want to make the most out of your existing tool then here is a quick primer to guide you along the way:
Prospecting is usually the toughest part of the sales process because it involves uncertainty and unproductive hours. There’s no guarantee an hour spent working will provide an hour of results.
You might spend hours researching an account, finding the right POC and their contact information only to later discover that they don’t use the specific piece of technology that your product is compatible with.
Even worse, if your contact list data is poor then you could spend hours and hours failing to connect with any ideal prospects. Sales reps are drained, and sales leaders struggle to predict revenue growth.
With Sales Intelligence, you get multiple powerful tools that help salespeople be more effective at prospecting by bringing all the relevant data points at their fingertips. What used to take hours can now be done in a couple of minutes.
Some of the key highlights include:
- Firmographic filters: These help salespeople filter and sort through accounts based on their size, location, revenue, industry, and more.
- Technographic filters: These can be used to find and filter accounts based on their tech stack.
- Org charts: They can be used to identify the right decision-makers within any account.
- Company insights & updates: Having the latest information on company activities helps to find targets and serves as a conversation starter after the outreach.
- Intent data: Buying signals can be collected from across the internet to find companies that are already searching for topics relevant to your product or service.
With precision-targeting, you find the right opportunities. Since Sales Intelligence enables smart prospecting, sales reps are always after best-fit accounts and talking to the right decision-makers, which results in higher revenue.
Even for inbound, Sales Intelligence allows marketing teams to create highly targeted lists that can then be used across all channels including but not limited to content, email, and social. For example, this company generated 10X more leads through their email marketing using SalesIntel prospecting data.
Also, for those using ABM, Sales Intelligence forms a crucial part of the ABM process. Sales Intelligence is instrumental at each of the ABM stages from identification and outreach to engagement and branding.
Not all leads are the same but they all come with an opportunity cost. Going after bad-fit leads isn’t just about lost time and productivity but also the risk of losing good-fit leads. As the volume of your leads grows, you must have a system in place that directs your sales reps towards qualified leads.
With Sales Intelligence, that system is baked into its core. Using intent data, or what is commonly known as buying signals, sales reps can readily identify the buying intent of any account and accordingly use lead scoring models for its qualification.
For outbound efforts, this is generally done at the prospecting stage to obtain a list of high-intent accounts. For inbound efforts, this can be done after the lead generation but before the outreach.
Effective and Productive Cold Calling
If one of your representatives has ever phoned a company and requested to speak with a manager, they have already erred. It looks poor and demonstrates that you haven’t bothered to conduct your due research if you don’t know at least your point of contact’s name and position within the organization.
Prior to picking up the phone, you should learn as much as you can about your target client’s business and any prospective needs. Going into calls unprepared is the biggest time-wasting tactic, both for you and the customer. Here’s where sales intelligence tools help you refine your cold calling to make it more effective and productive.
Data Enrichment & Maintenance
Finally, the most important factor that differentiates modern salespeople from their earlier counterparts is the quality and scale of data available to them. Without CRM data, even the best sales reps will perform little better than those telemarketing reps 30 years ago. And if that CRM data is incorrect, they will perform worse.
Maintaining data is also one of the primary use cases of Sales Intelligence – to constantly fix and enrich the CRM data so sales reps can do what they do best. On average, contact data in CRM decays at around 30% every year, so even maintaining original data accuracy is a constant race against time and requires the expertise of Sales Intelligence platforms.
Furthermore, they can also enrich the data with additional information and insights to help sales reps get a better understanding of their accounts and prospects. For example, if a sales rep got only a name and email address from an event, they can get all other pieces of information like phone number, company size, revenue, tech stack, and more using data enrichment.
Overall, Sales Intelligence is now the single most powerful tool in the arsenal of modern salespeople. Yes, you might still run your sales process without it, but you will always be competing with those leveraging it. And as you might expect, those with better tools win more often.