How Data and Intelligence Are Going to Change the Sales Industry Forever

It’s no secret that data is running the world. For most businesses, data is critical to growth and expansion, and today they have access to a robust amount of data. More companies are relying on data to help them identify challenges, make timely decisions and impact their bottom lines. From storing employees’ contact information to keeping track of inventory, data can be used in just about every aspect of a business. 

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For sales teams, access to customer information is essential to do their job. Data needs to be readily available to use for prospecting, sales calls and to see how sales reps are measuring against their goals. In fact, implementing a data-driven sales approach can make a business 6 percent more profitable than their competitors. With data, the days of spending eight hours cold calling are over. Access to customer information stored in CRMs, and other tools, can help identify the right contacts to sell to in an organization, which leads to intelligent and strategically made calls. 

Let’s take an in-depth look into how data and sales intelligence can affect every aspect of the sales process and the impact it will have on the sales industry in the future. 


Align on team goals and strategy

CRMs, like Salesforce and HubSpot, not only house customer information but allows sales leaders to gain insight into their companies’ sales performance. Through data and analytics, sales leaders can effectively track and monitor sales reps’ activities while keeping an eye on how they are measuring against their KPIs

From day-to-day goals to big objectives, it is a sales leader’s job to make sure goals are communicated to the team and executed. As sales leaders gather this information, it can help teams become more aligned. It helps determine realistic goals and provides data to help the team reach those goals, as well as what each sales rep needs to do individually to help reach them. 

In addition, information such as the company’s top customers and closed opportunities can be used when presenting to the board or executive team. Having access to this data allows businesses to assess how they are doing as a company and make the necessary adjustments to become successful.


Identify the right customers

Before technology, sales was primarily based on outside field salespeople making face-to-face sales meetings with prospective and current customers. In turn, they were supported by inside sales representatives focusing on helping them complete their daily tasks. 

Today, this traditional sales structure is undergoing a drastic change. Over the past few years, many legacy organizations have switched from an outside field sales model to an inside sales model, where sales reps work independently and are responsible for closing deals via phone, email and social media. The same can be said for startups, field sales is a thing of the past and they are strictly following an inside sales model. 

The sales structure isn’t the only thing that has changed over the years; how sales reps find and prospect customers has changed as well. Identifying the right customer is an essential step when selling a product or service. Perhaps the organization has developed personas for exactly who sales reps should be reaching out to, but without data and analytics to back it up those personas may be way off the mark. 

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CRMs store a tremendous amount of information about customers. As a sales intelligence tool, it provides sales teams with better insights into who their campaigns are reaching and helps identify who within an organization they should be targeting. For example, say you work as a sales rep for an applicant tracking system and are strictly selling to HR managers, but you are having trouble closing deals. You look through Salesforce and find that most of your colleagues have been targeting VPs of HR and have had success closing deals. This sales intelligence data can help you discover that you have been reaching out to the wrong contact, allowing you to quickly pivot your strategy. 

Identifying the right customers can save sales teams time, money and energy which in turn can help the company be more profitable. 


Automate and analyze tasks

It’s no shock to learn that the best sales reps are those who are focused, organized and have a set goal each day they strive to hit. The day of a highly effective sales rep may vary depending on their tasks for the day, but you can bet that it is often busy.

A sales rep’s main focus is to serve customers by selling and meeting customer needs. While data entry and taking the time to compare sales against colleagues is important, it generally takes a lot more time to complete, causing the focus to shift from selling. Utilizing tools such as  sales alerts, funding alerts and CRMs, can automate tasks and save sales teams time. 

With all of this in place, sales teams are now able to track their progress and analyze their conversion rates. Sales leaders can then analyze their teams’ performance and progress and make changes to perfect it. 

Data and sales intelligence can help leaders pinpoint industries that are doing well and replicate that sales cycle for others. It also helps sales leaders identify sales reps that may be struggling. For sales reps, data provides information to help them do their jobs better, more efficiently and more strategically. Building a data-driven business means they no longer have to rely on their intuition to guide them through the sales process. Teams can have access to an endless amount of information and knowledge, which is necessary for a company that expects sales success. 

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About Jared Houghton:

Jared Houghton is a 3-time founder, proud father and devout fly fisherman. His latest company,, graduated from Y Combinator in 2014 and now partners with some of the world’s largest brands. He is passionate about culture, sales and customer experience.

About Ambition: 

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs every sales department, data source and performance metric on one easy system. Ambition clarifies and publicizes real-time performance analytics for your entire sales organization. Using a drag-and-drop interface, non-technical sales leaders can build custom scorecards, contests, reports and alerts. Ambition is the stand-alone enterprise leader on G2, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review, AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization), and USA Today as a proven solution for managing millennial sales teams.

  • Originally published December 11, 2020, updated December 24, 2021