Sales Intelligence is the talk of the town in sales at the moment. But as a sales representative or a sales manager, just knowing the term won’t get you very far. The question is rather: Where can you use Sales Intelligence? And how can Sales Intelligence support you and your sales team?
It is important to have your goal in mind – using software aimlessly has never helped anyone. Still, there are also some sales reps who use Sales Intelligence but don't know what their goal is and what they want to achieve with it.
This article will help you understand the most important things about Sales Intelligence and how to use it to accomplish your sales goals. Let's get started!
What is Sales Intelligence?
Sales Intelligence usually refers to a range of technologies that help sales and marketing find, collect, analyze and evaluate data on potential customers. Even more: Sales Intelligence supports you in your lead generation and additionally provides you with the latest information about your potential customers. To do so, Sales Intelligence uses information that is already published on the internet – on websites, social media etc. Such technologies are often used in the B2B sector, where they can save a lot of research time.
Sales Intelligence is something like the energy drink for effective selling – it gives you everything you need to successfully win over your market, your target audience and your desired customer – especially in B2B! Sales Intelligence doesn’t just scratch the surface! Such tools don’t simply provide you with contact data and nothing else. You often see concrete financial figures, company history, employee contact data and much more.
Sales Intelligence refers to both software and tools
With Sales Intelligence you can define and narrow down your target customers, giving the software the possibility to offer more concrete results. For this purpose, it can be very useful if you create an ideal customer profile that you query with such tools.
Often Sales Intelligence can also be integrated into CRM systems, which can make your work even easier. Furthermore, data maintenance is often a part of Sales Intelligence, meaning that data enrichment and lead qualification are also included in many tools. Sales Intelligence can also extract and supplement additional data from social media or current news. Sometimes, the automatic generation of lead lists, website tracking and automatic alerts for your mailbox is included as well. Some software also supports your sales engagement and sales enablement, which in turn significantly improves your overall sales performance.
Find out about other features of Sales Intelligence tools in this section "What Features do Sales Intelligence Tools have?"
How does Sales Intelligence Work?
In summary, Sales Intelligence gives you a huge advantage through high-quality and customized data. But how exactly does a software or a tool do that? Often, these systems work with artificial intelligence (AI). When AI meets Sales, there is growth. If you use it wisely, you can take your sales performance to the next level.
Mostly, Sales Intelligence utilizes crawler technology that scans the Internet for publicly available information. This information then flows back into the software or tools.
Sales Intelligence is all about data - lots of data! Depending on the focus, Sales Intelligence tools take over the collecting, sorting, analysis, evaluation and enrichment of huge amounts of data from the Internet. Everything your target customer has ever made public can be found by Sales Intelligence software. Afterwards, you can see for yourself if a target customer might have a need for your product. Most of the time, you can recognize this by the so-called selling signals that Sales Intelligence shows you.
This could be a website visitor downloading your white paper, a visit to a trade show, a comment on LinkedIn or the participation in one of your webinars. With the help of such signals, you can see quite well how deep the level of interest for your potential customer is. You can find out about all of the features of Sales Intelligence in the chapter "What features do Sales Intelligence tools have?”
This means that Sales Intelligence Software gets its data from a handful of sources such as:
- Website/Social Media profiles of your target customer
- Publications/reports/evaluations about the target customer on other pages
- Visitor tracking/cookies: How does someone move on your website?
- and much more.
This being said, Sales Intelligence supports you by collecting a lot of data from various sources. Afterwards, you can see the results in the tool you purchased in a very neat and tidied-up manner.
What Features do Sales Intelligence Tools have?
Sales Intelligence software is not always identical. There are many different tools with different features, depending on the focus or goal of the respective tool and its users.
There are Sales Intelligence Tools for:
1. Lead Generation/Lead Lists
Sales Intelligence tools can support you in lead prospecting and lead generation. Based on your predefined criteria, Sales Intelligence shows you exactly the companies and people who are likely to become your future customers.
You receive lead lists which include your target customers as well as many important pieces of information such as address, company details, publicly available contact data of employees and current news.
In just a few clicks sales managers and reps can have hot leads delivered to them instantaneously! With this additional information provided by Sales Intelligence software, you and your sales team can get straight to the point: namely talking to potential customers.
Often, you can also find companies that are similar to your existing customers. These so-called lookalikes show you instantly which companies you can target with your product or service that exactly match your search profile. With similar companies, you can also be 100% sure that there is a demand for your product or service.
You want more features? There you go: Alerts are another feature of many Sales Intelligence tools. This feature is especially useful and time-saving, as you will always be informed about the latest developments of your target audience and target customers via e-mail. This keeps you up-to-date about new selling opportunities, changed data or a new entry – directly by email. It doesn’t get easier than this.
2. Lead Qualification and Lead Tracking
In addition, Sales Intelligence helps your sales department find out which leads should be targeted and which ones are rather unsuitable. For example, some tools automatically prioritize lead lists based on pre-defined rules.
Often, Sales Intelligence software also provides you with information that you or your team needs to manually create lead lists. In this respect, you get help with lead qualification and prioritization. Afterwards, it’s easier for sales and marketing to estimate how many resources should be invested in lead activation.
In addition, you can also use Sales Intelligence for sales forecasting. This means you can track your team's performance efficiently and understand better which processes and strategies can be improved. This helps you to sustainably improve your sales performance and processes as well as forecast upcoming deals.
3. Data Enrichment & Data Maintenance
Of course, you can also use Sales Intelligence software to enrich and complete customer records within your CRM. Most tools will add missing email addresses or phone numbers. Some also add company or industry details, organization charts, technographic information and much more!
Sales Intelligence provides you with a solid foundation for qualifying and prioritizing leads. In addition, it gives you context for sales calls and often a suitable starting point for a conversation!
Furthermore, it supports your lead scoring, the way in which you evaluate leads, or lead nurturing, i.e. the continuous development of relationships with your leads. In the end, you only work with error-free, high-quality data, waste no time and invest in the relationship with these (potential) customers.
4. Sales Enablement / Sales Engagement
Sales Enablement aims to increase the predictability of sales. Therefore, its main goal is to foster better communication for sales teams concerning content, appropriate tools and up-to-date information.
This should lead to sales teams being able to work in a more targeted, time-saving manner, which in the end should lead to – you guessed it – more deals! Since customers are more likely to accept an offer if they feel understood and cared for throughout the entire buying process, a customer journey with more interaction and valuable information is key.
Sales engagement in turn refers to the relationship between a salesperson and his/her customer. This can often be measured by the time spent in conversations and the frequency of exchanges (emails, phone calls etc.). Sales Engagement aims to improve sales and marketing processes in order to optimize the contact with the customer. A personalized and automated customer journey that boosts emails, calls, social media posts and meetings saves time and keeps customers loyal.
It also allows you to track the success of specific messages and tactics while reducing the workload for sales reps.
Sometimes there is also overlap between Sales Intelligence software and CRM, tools for tracking sales emails and tools for sales analysis. Many Sales Intelligence tools are designed to feed new lead records into CRM systems and keep them up to date. Some CRM platforms even provide sales information such as company history or branching information.
How do You Start with Sales Intelligence?
Since we have already talked about the features of Sales Intelligence software and tools, you will surely have thought about how to use it in your own personal use case.
Depending on which industry you are working in or which service you offer, Sales Intelligence can help you on a very individual level. In order to start, you could take these steps:
1. Choose a Sales Intelligence Provider
Here it is worth comparing which provider you like most, both in terms of product features and service (check out comparison platforms such as Capterra!).
2. Test Different Tools from Different Providers
Usually, you can arrange demos with Sales Intelligence providers or watch webinars/videos about the products. Some also offer test accounts, so you can try out for yourself if a tool suits you.
3. Purchase a Sales Intelligence Tool from Their Product Portfolio
Different vendors offer different tools and a variety of products. Most of them are billed as subscriptions.
4. Use the Onboarding Your Sales Intelligence Provider Offers You
In the onboarding process for the new software, you will be shown exactly how to use Sales Intelligence and how to best integrate it into your processes. The provider should also show you which possible integrations with other tools are available.
5. Use the Purchased Product and Analyze its Benefits
Here you should measure whether you have saved time, made more appointments or closed deals.
The use of Sales Intelligence is as individual as the company itself. For example, if you offer coachings in your region, you will filter using different search criteria than a furnishing company looking for buyers for their office chairs all over Germany.
How do You Choose the Right Sales Intelligence Software for You?
Which Sales Intelligence software is best for you depends on your goals. Do you want to keep your data fresh or give it a cleansing? Do you want to generate leads? Or are you interested in market monitoring?
Sales Intelligence must fit your individual business!
As mentioned above, there are different tools with different features. So, choose the tool that best fits your needs. Often, this depends on your industry and the users of your product or service. Maybe you can also exchange information with customers, partners, ask your network for help (for example on LinkedIn!) or find out which tools your competitors are using.
Can Sales Intelligence be Combined with Your CRM?
Ideally, you can combine the Sales Intelligence software of your choice with a CRM. With such an integration, it is important that the interface runs without friction. In many cases, Sales Intelligence comes as a a plugin that displays the software directly within the interface of your in-house CRM system.
Some well-known CRM systems on a national, but also international level are:
- Microsoft Dynamics
- SAP Sales Cloud
- Sugar Sell
and much more.
If you are already using a CRM, it can be useful to ask if an integration with this tool is possible when you purchase a Sales Intelligence tool. Doing so will save you a lot of work and your team will thank you for it afterwards.
If the sales intelligence tool of your choice does not have an interface to your CRM system, you can also create such an interface with other tools – like Zapier for example.
What Benefits do You get from Sales Intelligence?
Sales Intelligence offers you many new ways to discover new sales opportunities. As already mentioned, you will find a lot of useful information that you can use directly. But what exactly does Sales Intelligence do to help you? Here are 7 good reasons for you to use Sales Intelligence:
1. Discover Your Market Potential with Sales Intelligence
Many companies do not even know how many potential customers there are in their target market. Some only touch the tip of the iceberg while only talking to a few people in their target audience. With Sales Intelligence you get an extensive and detailed market overview, so you won’t miss upcoming opportunities!
2. Find Your Target Audience with Sales Intelligence
No time-consuming research – with the help of Sales Intelligence you will find exactly the target customers you were looking for! Combining static data such as company name, industry and address with dynamic data such as current news, awards and contracts makes selecting your target customer easier than ever!
3. Save Research Time
You got in touch with someone at a trade fair. Great! But how does “and now you have to research all further information about this contact by hand” sound? Yeah, right? With Sales Intelligence you can just skip that step. You get all the data you need with one or two clicks and won’t lose time with doing research.
4. Monitor Your Competitors
Often you can identify and monitor your competitors with sales intelligence tools. You probably already know many names in your industry, but who says that you know them all? With Sales Intelligence you can find every competitor and automatically monitor the entire range of them.
5. Find Decision-Makers
With Sales Intelligence tools, you can see at a glance who the best contact person is for you. You can often filter and search by hierarchical levels or position titles. This way, you can address him or her directly and don't get stuck with someone who doesn't need your product and/or doesn't have the appropriate decision-making authority.
6. Recognize the Best Time to Address Someone
When is the best time to get in touch with potential customers? Sales Intelligence provides you with signals and news to identify current issues that a company or employees might have. Through evaluated trigger events, you can recognize acute needs and respond to them directly.
7. Improve Lead Enrichment & Lead Qualification
Often your lead form only asks for a name and an email address of a potential customer. With the help of Sales Intelligence, important data and information such as industry, financial figures etc. is automatically added. This makes your research easier and speeds up the qualification of your leads before they end up in the sales department.
What Sales Intelligence Tools are there?
Not all Sales Intelligence tools are the same. Different tools have different focuses. At this point we would like to introduce you to our top 10 tools that help you to speed up your sales and lead generation. It's best to let the companies speak for themselves. Let's get started!
Revenue Operations Platform
Clari provides you with a lot of information for successful sales forecasting. With the help of data from emails, CRM, call records and much more, Clari tells you all you need to know about your future deals!
The Largest B2B Database for Current Sales Opportunities
Dealfront supports your marketing and pre-sales in selecting the right target audience and generating leads. The result? A target audience selection with all relevant company data and contacts. The combination of address data and characteristics with current trigger events guarantees success! [Made in Europe]
Optimize the Collaboration between Sales and Marketing
Showpad provides a platform for sales enablement that combines the strengths of your sales and marketing teams. Mixing CRM, content management and marketing automation, Showpad enables your sales force to sell better through customized content, while your marketing team gains insight into the day-to-day running of your business.
Close More Deals Faster and Save Time
With Autoklose you have access to an extensive B2B company database, but also take care of your mailings, reports, time and customer data management. The software provides you with several easy-to-use templates as well.
Data-First Sales Platform
Apollo is more dedicated to prospecting and lead generation. For this purpose, it provides you with a variety of information on decision-makers and companies. It also makes it easier for you to enrich your data using automatic alerts when customer data changes.
Revenue Intelligence Technology for Sales Teams
According to Gong, they provide you with "Deal Intelligence" and "People Intelligence". The former means data on how your deals were made, so you can clearly see your success patterns. The second analyzes the performance of your sales team and identifies room for improvement that you can concretely address.
B2B Data, Business Leads & Company Contacts
ZoomInfo collects its data through systematic surveys and research. This tool creates organization charts and information on new projects of a target customer. It is especially useful for B2B sales in the IT sector!
Sales Acceleration Platform / B2B Contact Database
Adapt's product portfolio provides you with cross-industry B2B contact and company data, which guarantees you more deals. Here you get millions of business contacts for qualified customers and an accelerated pipeline construction.
Sales Engagement Platform, Sales Automation
Outreach supports you with Sales Engagement software and watches your back with its functional application. Fully focus on your meetings and deals! The main aspect here is clearly on personalizing customer communication.
B2B Database & Business Contact Data Provider
UpLead provides you with a platform for lead enrichment and generation. Boost your prospecting and find suitable target customers. With little effort, you will get the right contact person, enrich your data and close more deals.
Conclusion: Sales Intelligence is the Future of Sales
So now you know exactly what Sales Intelligence is, what exactly these software/tools do and how you can use them to boost your sales.
One thing is for sure: You can't get around Sales Intelligence anymore – especially if you want the best for your sales! You want more leads? More high-quality data? Less research time and simply more deals? Now you know what to do! Get in touch with different providers and find the tool that fits your needs.
We wish you good luck with your start into digital sales!