As per Gartner’s glossary, sales intelligence is the information that salespeople use to make informed decisions in the selling cycle. It includes the tools, techniques, and practices that facilitate data collection, tracking, and analysis. Sales intelligence provides data insights into customer prospects and leads.
As the definition is quite self-explanatory, sales intelligence has been an integral part of many industries for many years. However, in the Post-COVID world, almost all small and medium-sized businesses have to reach out to their target audience in a new way as their buying habits as well as reasons to buy have changed considerably.
Hence, it has become imperative for businesses to make sales intelligence an essential part of their business strategy for better sales and customer gratification. This means that businesses need to get the data insights in real-time, make strategic decisions based on those crucial insights, and solve customer queries or issues at incredible speed.
For businesses to achieve this fully, they need to have access to accurate data. However, As per the Forrester report, only 8% of sales and marketing professionals find that their data is 100% accurate. It means 92% of professionals face a huge challenge of inaccurate data and the consequent depletion of resources and time. In the same Forrester report, it is shown that companies that exploit sales intelligence tools and strategies report almost 35% more leads in their sales cycle.
There are many industries such as media, retail, healthcare, travel and tourism, military and defense, information technology (IT) and telecommunication, and banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) that are successfully exploiting various types of sales intelligence techniques and sales intelligence tools to increase their sales and productivity.
As per the latest report, the global sales intelligence market was valued at $2.78 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $7.35 billion by 2030. It means it may grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.6% from 2021 to 2030.
Clodura—an AI-powered lead generation platform offers a unique sales intelligence tool that simplifies the lives of the sales executives by providing them with actionable intelligence that empowers businesses to grab every low-hanging sales opportunity and turn it into a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
What is a Sales Intelligence tool?
A sales intelligence tool is essentially a software that monitors millions of data points to identify sales triggers that make sales executives act in the right direction.
Though sales intelligence has been around for several years, it is still considered a new, relatively younger, and undefined market. Hence, it is important to recognize the right type of sales intelligence tools. The simplest test of identifying an authentic sales intelligence tool is to check its ability to improve productivity and sales. If it is not doing it, it certainly is not the right type of tool.
According to Michael Berger, Director of Product Marketing at Marketo, a good sales intelligence tool should address the “three Ps:”
- Provide intelligence about true prospects
- Prioritize follow-up activities
- Present a prospect’s interests to the sales rep
Clodura’s sales intelligence solution does just this. Its specially designed calculator allows you to explore your Total Addressable Market (TAM). Its sales opportunity tracker continuously scans your TAM so that your sales executives can focus more on sealing the deal rather than researching accounts and leads.
With Clodura’s sales intelligence tool, you can:
- Get the most accurate data and sales insights as it offers 25 customizable buying signals on a real-time basis.
- Identify low-hanging sales opportunities and never miss out on any of them.
- Form meaningful and deeper connections with your potential customers.
- Get actionable intelligence opportunities and context to prepare a perfect sales pitch to the right buyer that invariably seals the deal.
Hence, the basic function of a sales intelligence tool is to keep you on top of the game and ahead of your competitors. You will know this when the insights, news, and other updates provided by it propel you to act proactively and walk that extra mile effortlessly.
Why is sales intelligence important?
Sales intelligence is essentially data that answers the why, what, when, where, and how of any kind of information. It is very important in today’s business world because it is not just about names, addresses, numbers, and email addresses. Sales intelligence is a razor-sharp weapon that empowers the sales team with contextual insights that eventually help them craft a phenomenal sales pitch to the targeted buyers who can never refuse to buy!
Contextual insights include purchase history, current contracts, business objectives, digital footprints, etc. This contextual information is what the need of the hour is for the businesses as they do not have the luxury to collect, analyze data and then act. Sales intelligence plays a crucial role in getting the sales team contextual data of the prospects along with real-time purchase signals. This makes sales executives connect with the right buyers, at the right time and for the right reasons, and of course, at the right place!
One of the challenges of sales intelligence is to continuously come up with the latest prospect data as the market is constantly in flux. It has to work round the clock to serve its purpose. Following are some of the reasons why sales intelligence is an important business and tech strategy:
Discover your market potential
Before sales intelligence came into the picture, sales executives had a hard time gathering data and pursuing potential customers as data was only about their names and contact details. They did not have any access to their buying history, preferences, or reasons. Sales intelligence just makes all of these accessible to sales executives effortlessly. It lets them explore the Total Addressable Market in a way that helps them discover potential buyers quickly and in real-time.
This saves their time and energy and allows them to focus on the precise sales pitch and closure of the deal. A sales intelligence tool like Clodura makes sure the sales team does not miss any sales opportunity, especially the low-hanging ones.
Shape an ideal customer profile
It is important to create an ideal customer profile (ICP) to prepare a smart sales pitch for the right buyer. It can include both the ideal buyer and the ideal company. However, many startups and small to medium-sized businesses have no idea where their customers are and what their preferences are. As a result, when they start selling their products or services, it often brings a lot of frustration and a sense of inadequacy or failure. It is at this point sales intelligence can hold their hands and take their sales efforts to an altogether different dimension that often leads to success.
Typical traditional ICP includes data about department, level, function, industry, size, location, etc. Typical sales intelligence ICP adds to this and also includes information on technologies, intent data, business model, ownership, etc. This layered data is nothing short of magic for sales executives as it empowers them to create an ideal customer profile to focus their sales efforts on.
Sales intelligence encourages decision-makers to make decisions based on niche data and not on their instincts or whims or the opinions of some “important” people. It helps them quantify their total addressable market so that sales efforts are targeted at the right audience.
Track buying signals
Sales intelligence tools make sure that you get the information as it happens. This makes a significant difference in sales executive’s efficiency to reach out to their target buyers at the right time. This real-time information is called buying signals. The data that these signals provide is usually classified as fit data, intent data, and opportunity data.
Fit data is all about giving sales executives technographic and firmographic information. This type of data helps them segment their customers and score the accounts of their prospects based on several individual or organizational attributes. Some of these attributes may include geography, industry, revenue, purchasing capacity, and the prevalent technology used in their operations.
Intent data helps businesses classify buyers as per their consumption patterns and interests. This classification is done through sales intelligence software that tracks each online activity and internal web properties.
Opportunity data gives information about conditions that may be favorable for your product. For example, the appointment of a new CEO may be beneficial for your organization as she/he is the person who is interested in the technology and the product you are selling. Other such information includes new funding, mergers, and acquisitions, procurement of a new place or shift in office space, etc.
It is quite evident that sales AI intelligence tools collect data much faster than any human can. The specific buying signals sent by these tools allow the sales representatives to focus on those prospects who are most likely to turn into their loyal customers the fastest.
Ensure data accuracy
Inaccurate data often results in poor or lack of communication and that ultimately leads to poor business performance. When your calls remain unanswered and your emails keep getting bounced, it is time to resort to top sales intelligence tools. It is said that the annual rate of data decay is 30%. Hence, even if your data is quite accurate, it is going to degenerate.
Sales intelligence tools can stop this decay as well as rectify human errors such as erroneous manual data entries, data purchases from inauthentic vendors, forms with wrong information, etc. Hence, when businesses want to target their niche audience, their customized customer profiles, segmentation and scoring would not work. Top sales intelligence tools save businesses from all this hassle and give them the comfort of accurate data which is undoubtedly the essential weapon in their arsenal.
Monitor your competitors
Top sales intelligence tools make sure that you have all the information about your competitors and how they are doing in the market. Clodura’s calculator is one such sales intelligence tool that not only gives you important news and updates about your rivals in your total addressable market but it also helps you identify your real rivals, who they are, what they are doing, and how. These intelligence triggers help you identify real-time sales opportunities and grab the deal before your competitors reach out to the right prospects.
Find the decision-makers
It is not enough to have names, numbers, and contact details. It is important to know who is going to decide to buy your product. B2B sales intelligence tools allow you to search for the key person to whom you should present your sales pitch. You can narrow down this search by applying filters like position, title, or hierarchical rank.
This kind of identification of the decision-makers makes the entire sales process quite smooth and less time-consuming. Salespeople do not have to go through the rounds of talks with people who have no say in the process and waste their precious time and energy. Instead, with the help of B2B sales intelligence tools they can directly approach the person who has got all the powers to decide to buy or not to buy, and that indeed matters the most when it comes to closing the deal.
Automate and augment tasks
Sales intelligence tools can quite efficiently replace manual data collection and analysis. The process of monitoring, collecting, and analyzing data can be augmented with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. This liberates sales executives from the tedious job of collecting and analyzing data manually. The faster, accurate, and real-time data obtained by automating and augmenting the basic tasks, they can now focus on the real deal—close the sale at the earliest.
Sales intelligence tools are incredibly powerful in their ability to predict future results. It becomes possible by leveraging AI and machine learning. Predictive forecast informs businesses about the deals that are likely to close soon, the next potential deal or the buyer, and new consumers who seem to be interested in your service or product.
Hence, sales intelligence tools not only help businesses target the right buyers by giving them real-time buying signals but also guide them to prepare a future strategy to seal as many deals as possible by giving them accurate predictive forecasts.
Why is real-time data important for sales intelligence?
The need for real-time data analysis has never been this urgent as it is in the Post-COVID world. Real-time data essentially means the processing of data the moment it enters the database within a fraction of seconds. The process includes analysis and insights that help businesses make real-time decisions. Equipped with AI, top sales intelligence tools process the raw data the moment it enters the system and gives the users insights within fraction of seconds.
Real-time data becomes crucial in sales intelligence because businesses have to deal with lots of data. It is difficult to target the right buyers in this noisy and crowded world of data. Sales intelligence tools eliminate this task of going through all the data. It helps businesses map user behavior and give them real-time buying signals that include user consumption, interests, location, age, etc.
This helps businesses make informed decisions and prepare a rational business strategy. Real-time data analysis in sales intelligence tools also makes businesses act rapidly and close the deal before their rivals can reach out to the prospects. Following are some of the major reasons why real-time data is important for sales intelligence:
Monitor real-time consumer behavior
The main purpose of tracking consumer behavior in real-time is to personalize buying experience. As per the latest research, 73% of consumers prefer a personalized buying experience. Buyers nowadays do not only want to buy a product, but they also want to experience the entire process of buying a product or service. And, they prefer that process to be warm and pleasant.
It is precisely because of this changed consumer behavior and expectations that the earlier data of age, location, and gender become irrelevant in the present time. It has become imperative for businesses to assist customers in real-time through chatbots or digital assistants. Equipped with AI and machine learning technologies, these sales intelligence tools examine the needs, wants, and pain points of the buyers and give the sales executives actionable insights. This makes businesses come up with customized products or services. When customers get what they want, it means greater ROI and customer satisfaction. In a nutshell, monitoring real-time customer behavior is an important aspect of top sales intelligence tools as it helps businesses humanize buyer experience and earn their respect and loyalty including greater ROI.
Better and faster product insights
Better and faster product insights give businesses a clear picture of a product’s real performance in the market. While social media and online forms do give feedback, they are often not enough to understand the subtleties involved in the performance of the product. When sales intelligence tools give real-time actionable insights within minutes or hours, it is much easier for businesses to make strategic decisions faster and with clarity.
As they say, prevention is better than cure, detecting issues in your product or service before it reaches the end users helps avoid any unpleasant buying experience. Real-time data becomes important in sales intelligence strategy as it helps reduce the frequency and the number of abandonments and system crashes.
Combine different sources of data
Real-time data is essentially a web architecture that collects data from various sources. While it does target your total addressable market, its expanse is much wider than human efforts to collect and combine data from different sources. This real-time data from different sources does give businesses an edge over their competitors as they can prepare a business strategy by taking into consideration many aspects of the market as well as product performance.
Increase performance speed
Real-time data does data collection and analysis within minutes, hours, or days. It also provides actionable insights in a format that is easy to decode for sales executives. It reduces the human efforts to collect, compartmentalize, analyze the data and decide. This results in increased performance speed as precious human resources are no longer engaged in tedious work and they can straightaway focus more on closing the deals. It also helps them think about other creative ways to prepare a sales pitch to the target consumers who are likely to buy the product or the service. Businesses that want to increase their performance speed cannot do away with the top sales intelligence tools that provide accurate real-time data.
Minimize risk of human error
Businesses have long suffered because of human errors in the collection, segregation, and analysis of crucial data. And, due to the nature of this task of data collection, human errors are inevitable. Sales intelligence tools work with the latest technologies of AI and machine learning. Hence, there is almost a zero chance of human error in giving you the real-time data. Error-free data analysis certainly results in better insights and sharper business strategies.
Accessibility of data from anywhere and everywhere
Salespeople are almost constantly on the move. Real-time data can be accessed from anywhere provided they have a dependable internet connection and necessary permissions to view the data analysis reports. This accessibility of data empowers those executives who are working remotely or are on the move. It does not obstruct the decision-making process as well as taking necessary action at that time.
It is quite evident how real-time data is important for sales intelligence which is quite different from business intelligence. Though they often overlap, they’re quite different from each other. Let’s understand both the differences and the similarities between business and sales intelligence.
What is business and sales intelligence?
Business intelligence is an umbrella term that includes data collection, data mining, data analysis, data management, and data visualization. Enterprises use various types of software and other tools as part of their business intelligence strategy to make informed decisions about various enterprise operations. Business intelligence tools typically present data via charts, graphs, dashboards, maps, and report summaries.
Sales intelligence, on the other hand, is all about providing a range of technology solutions to the sales executives who operate in the B2B market only. This is in sharp contrast to business intelligence as business intelligence offers solutions and tools to almost everyone in the enterprise, whereas sales intelligence restricts itself to B2B sales executives and marketers. There are several sources through which the sales department can access this data. These sources may include sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation (MAP), sales enablement, and customer service platforms among many others.
Essentially, data is at the heart of both business and sales intelligence. The only thing that differentiates the two is the type of data they deal with. Business intelligence answers what and how of the data while presenting major trends and patterns. It does not go deeper into the why of those events and patterns or their possible outcomes.
Sales intelligence presents the why of the events and the predictive forecast based upon that why. This predictive forecast often shows enterprise-wide practices of data preparation, visualization, and modeling. This type of data benefits the sales leaders, managers, and sales representatives the most.
Clodura’s sales intelligence tool is one such example that makes a great difference in the lives of the salespeople operating in the B2B space. It provides the sales team with verified contact data, actionable sales intelligence, and personalized sales sequences. This data empowers them to identify sales opportunities faster than their competitors, establish direct contact with decision-makers, set up a pipeline, and generate revenue at scale.
- The differences between business and sales intelligence
Following are the major differences between business and sales intelligence:
- Business intelligence data is meant for the entire organization, especially enterprise analysts. Sales intelligence data is primarily meant for sales executives and marketing teams.
- Business intelligence informs facts like news, research, and economics. Its tone is quite neutral and objective. Sales intelligence informs why a certain thing happened and what it would mean for the business. Its tone is analytical and predictive.
- Business intelligence tools and software help enterprises understand complex data so that they can identify new business opportunities. Sales intelligence tools and software bring to sales executives low-hanging sales opportunities with actionable insights that help them close the deals faster.
The similarities between business and sales intelligence
Following are major overlaps or similarities between business and sales intelligence:
- Both business and sales intelligence complement each other at the strategic level. For example, when business intelligence tools show the performance of the business, sales intelligence tools can analyze and predict the future course of action.
- At the tactical level too, both business intelligence and sales intelligence work in tandem. For example, when business intelligence tools give data about a new opportunity or new funding, Sales intelligence tools can come up with actionable insights that help sales executives act proactively, i.e. contact the decision-maker faster and present the sales pitch to the right audience.
When the salespeople are equipped with actionable insights as provided by sales intelligence tools, what could be the next course of action? Going to the prospect and presenting them with an incredible pitch, right? Wrong. There is a very crucial step between these two. And, this step is to keep in mind three important things.
What are the three most important pieces of sales intelligence a salesperson needs to know?
Sales intelligence tools are designed keeping in mind consumer behavior patterns. Gone are the days when a consumer was happy with buying any product. A consumer of the new world wants much more out of this purchase, the most important being a magical experience of buying a product. It is only with the accurate data and insights drawn from that data that it is possible to create this magic. For this to happen, sales executives need to know the following points by heart:
Know your customer:
Sales executives need to offer the buyer a personalized experience. It is one of the most important things that sales reps should keep in mind. Earlier it was enough to know the names and the titles of the buyers. But, sales intelligence has indeed changed the game. It is important to know your customer beyond their name and title. Knowing them thoroughly would include this:
Know your buyer’s role and goals
Know their stature or standing in the organization
Know their tenure in the respective enterprise
Know the projects they are working on
Know their style of doing business
Know what strategies and tools they may require to fulfill the role successfully
Know their past dealings with your company
Know their opinion about your company
Know their part in the decision-making process
Know their company and marketplace
Having noted all the personal information about your customer, it is time to move on to another segment. In this, you are required to do your homework about their company and the market space they are occupying. The key points of this information include:
- Know the mission, vision, and culture of their company
- Know exactly what they are doing
- Know exactly how their products or services are performing in the market
- Know exactly their pain points in catering to the demands of the market
- Know their competitors quite well
- Know what their competitors are up to
- Know their business’ place in the overall scheme of the market. Are they leading the market or trying to survive?
- Know how your product or service can establish a direct connection with their goals or ambitions.
- Know the partners of their business
- Know the happenings in the present global and national economy and how it is affecting their
Know the value-addition of your product/service
There is a vast jungle of products out there. The buyer whom you are eying is smarter than your imagination. They have access to almost any product or service that is available out there. In this scenario, what is it that you must focus on? The answer is value-addition. Yes, you need to exactly know how your product or service is going to add value to the prospect you are approaching. Following are some of the points to learn:
- Know the value-addition quotient of your product or service
- What other thing apart from the need for your product can you bring to the table?
- Any other extra resources that can resolve the buyer’s pain points?
- Any other features that can help streamline internal business processes?
- Prepare your sales pitch that educates or informs the buyer how you are different or better than the other sellers. This would help the key contact to recommend your product rather strongly to their
- Present a razor-sharp case for return on investment.
Let us wrap it up with a comparative example.
You are a sales rep and are supposed to sell a revenue attribution SaaS product to Ms. A and Mr. B. You have the data that both Ms. A and Mr. B have been indeed searching for your product and consuming content related to your product or service quite extensively and for many days now.
What are the things that you need to keep in mind while you approach both of them with your sales pitch? First of all, you need to compare the content both Ms. A and Mr. B are consuming. When you realize that Ms. A is just going through generic stuff about your product, you know that she is just at the first step of her prospective purchase.
However, Mr. B is reading more serious stuff that includes comparisons between your product and those of your competitors’. This should give you a clear idea about how to prepare a sales pitch for both of them. While the crux of the sales pitch that needs to be presented to both of them may be the same, the tone of it makes all the difference. Ms. A requires more nurturing while Mr. B requires clear information about your product and how it can add value to his business. When you approach Mr. B, your sales pitch should reflect that you not only know Mr. B by his name or title, but you also know:
- His role
- His ranking and stature in the organization
- His tenure with the organization
- His past associations with your organizations
- His past work experience
- His preferred technologies and philosophy with regards to technology and its uses
- His style of doing business
- His current projects and how much he has changed his opinions about business and technology
- His opinion or perception about your business and technology
- His expectations of return on investments
- His mission and vision with regards to the product you are selling him
- His expectations of value-addition from your product
When you pitch your product taking into consideration all of the points, it becomes a sales pitch that can hardly fail to sell.
On the other hand, when you approach Ms. A who is just exploring various aspects of the product, you may still take into consideration all these points. But, your primary effort would be that of nurturing rather than aggression. Direct aggression or selling may backfire as it is important that the buyer in a B2B space must develop a certain level of respect and trust in you, your product, and your business.
In the B2B space, sales intelligence and sales intelligence tools have not only become important for the businesses as they help close more deals, but they have also become equally important for the consumers to buy a product or a service that adds value to their overall business and alleviates their pain points. While there are myriads of sales intelligence companies that offer many types of sales intelligence tools and sales intelligence software, it is important that you are able to identify the one that is right for you. The litmus test that you should undertake is to investigate how they help you close more deals without much hassle. If they do not give you accurate data about the prospects, their interests, and insights into their behavior pattern to prepare for your follow-up activities, those tools may not be the right choice for you.
Clodura’s one-of-a-kind sales intelligence tool gives you real-time recommendations on your total addressable market. Clodura is not only ambitious to create a sales heaven on the planet for sales executives, but it is equally passionate and ambitious to let the magic happen through the incredible marriage of logic and technology! This ambition and passion have resulted in its unique sales intelligence tool that never lets any sales opportunity go out of the grip of any sales rep of any enterprise.
This tool studies, collects, monitors, analyzes data, and presents actionable insights that help salespeople close more deals and reduce the span of the selling cycle. One of the reasons why Clodura’s sales intelligence tool stands out in the crowd is because the basic premise of this AI-powered lead generation platform is to create a happy place for sales executives. Clodura’s robust sales intelligence solution helps sales executives pursue contextual selling over blind sales or marketing games. It offers:
- 155M+ B2B verified contact database to achieve your targets with ultra-precision
- Access to 55M+ direct dials to increase sales efficiency
- Actionable sales intelligence for smarter sales prospecting
- Smart email cadence to generate more quality interactions
Thus, equipped with strong sales intelligence tools and a basic understanding of sales, nothing can stop you from closing more deals faster and better. We hope you just do not remain on top of your game, but also move miles ahead of your competitors with the help of dependable sales intelligence tools and sales intelligence software.