How to Make Sales Intelligence Work for Your Business

July 2, 2021

This article is part of the Crunchbase Community Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and a Crunchbase user. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on the Crunchbase blog.

Please note that the author is not employed by Crunchbase and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of Crunchbase, Inc. 


The customer journey is far from linear. For anyone not in sales, the process may seem straightforward enough — you make a few calls, pitch your products, close the deal, and repeat.  

But the reality is different, especially for industries that have longer sales cycles.

The buyer’s journey is always changing and using the same approach for every lead doesn’t work anymore. Sales reps need every bit of information to nurture and move leads through the sales funnel. To be effective, this information has to be extensive and delivered in real-time. This is where sales intelligence comes in.

In this article, we’ll look at how integrating sales intelligence into your sales process can have a positive impact on your bottom line: 

 

Why you should integrate sales intelligence in your sales process

If you already have a sales process in place and prospects just aren’t converting like they used to — it might be time to change things up. Here’s why you should integrate sales intelligence into your sales process.

Customers have higher expectations

Customer expectations are at an all-time high. Failing to meet those expectations can cause your customers to switch to other alternatives. 32% of all customers said they would stop doing business with a brand after one bad experience. 

Sales intelligence provides valuable data about your prospects even after they convert. These insights allow you to provide better experiences and increase customer retention rates.

Customer journeys are more complex

Prior to the internet, customer journeys were fairly straightforward. A consumer might see a TV ad and drive down to the store to make a purchase. A B2B buyer might go to a trade show and then schedule demos.

But things are different now. 

Consumers have a variety of touchpoints they can use to interact with a brand — websites, social media channels, email, digital ads, etc,. In fact, 67% of consumers now use multiple channels to make a single purchase.

Understanding how prospects interact and take action with these touchpoints can play an important role in the purchasing process. They help your sales rep determine the type of content that piqued their interest in the first place.

Customers expect real-time interactions

Expectations are changing, consumers and B2B buyers across all industries are connected more than ever. 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect brands to respond in real-time. 

A key component of sales intelligence is collecting data in real-time. This allows you to respond instantly to your customers when the opportunity arises.

Now, let’s look at how sales intelligence boosts your bottom line.

 

How sales intelligence helps you close more deals

Understanding your customer’s needs by collecting relevant data is a good place to start to engage and convert more prospects. Here’s a look at how sales intelligence generates more revenue for your business.

Sales intelligence helps your sales team prioritize leads

Consider two prospects — one has visited your website and read a few articles. While another has subscribed to your newsletter and signed up for a demo.

In this case, it makes sense to focus on the second prospect. The fact that they’ve signed up for a demo indicates they’re close to converting. Identifying and targeting these prospects will help you close more deals

One of the more valuable metrics that sales intelligence tools provide is intent data — buying signals that indicate when prospects are likely to convert. Examples include visiting certain pages and performing certain actions like signing up for a demo.

Skillcrush provides a great example of implementing a sales intelligence tool on its homepage. Visitors who fill in the form and join the classes have expressed a clear interest in the company. The sales team from Skillcrush can then prioritize these leads.

Sales intelligence helps your sales team deliver more targeted messages

It can be frustrating for prospects when a salesperson doesn’t understand their needs. If a conversation lacks engagement, it is less likely to result in a conversion.

Buyers today expect personalized conversations at every touchpoint. Up to 72% of business buyers expect vendors to personalize engagement to their needs. 

Without the right data about your prospects, your sales team will struggle to connect with them no matter how skilled they might be. Sales intelligence provides the right kind of context that sales reps need to focus their messaging.

Sales intelligence improves your content marketing efforts

Sales intelligence isn’t strictly for your sales team. The insights it provides can also benefit your marketing teams.

For example, content marketers can use data gathered from sales intelligence to analyze the content that resonates most with prospects. Then, they can focus their efforts on creating content that increases conversions. 

Sales intelligence reduces your sales cycles 

The sales cycle today is longer and more complex. Buyers have more options than ever, which means they spend more time weighing each one.

Sales intelligence can help teams identify prospects that are more likely to convert. This insight can shorten the sales cycles and reduce lead to close times. Combine this process with sales order automation and your sales team will be able to focus more time on closing sales. 

Now, let’s look at how you can integrate sales intelligence into your process.

 

Making sales intelligence work for your business

With a strategic approach to deliver measurable results, sales intelligence can give your sales team the insight they need to move leads through the sales funnel and close more sales. 

1. Create an ideal customer profile

Before using sales intelligence for sales prospecting, create an ideal customer profile (ICP) — a detailed description of the customers who buy your products or services. This will help your sales team target prospects who match that profile.

Your ICP should include the following details:

  • Their industry
  • Their annual revenue
  • Their budget
  • Their geographic location
  • Their competitors
  • How many employees they have
  • What their buying process is like
  • The tools or services they use
  • Their customer base size 

Work with other departments within your company to compile a list of your best customers and note any common attributes they share to create your ICP. 

2. Use a sales intelligence tool

Sales intelligence tools like Crunchbase help you reach prospects that match your ICP. You can find company information like geographic location, tech stacks, and more.

You can also use the software to track any key buying signals. For example, you can set alerts when a company raises money or is mentioned in the news. Your sales team can use this information to personalize their outreach accordingly. 

Crunchbase platform sync to Salesforce graphic

3. Collect data from different sources

We’ve already covered using a sales intelligence tool. Other ways to collect data about your customers include:

  • Using your web analytics data
  • Conducting surveys with your customers
  • Monitoring social media channels
  • Reviewing email service reports 

You can also collect customer data using forms on your website. Here’s an example of a web form that StuDocu uses for a free registration of its service.

Here’s another example of how Herbal Dynamics Beauty, a plant-based skincare product company, uses a simple popup to request customer emails.

If a visitor enters their email and uses a discount code, your sales team can send more personalized offers in the future. Play around with different ways to collect data about your customers.

4. Organize your data into one platform

To ensure that everyone on the sales team is working from the same data, integrate your sales intelligence data into a single sales engagement platform or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Having everything in one place saves time from having to switch between different applications.

You might also want to consider investing in a productivity tool to work collaboratively when handling remote and distributed sales teams.

 

Conclusion

Sales intelligence gives you actionable insights that your sales team can leverage to drive more sales. If you’re not integrating sales intelligence into your process — you’re losing a competitive advantage to those who are.

If you lead a sales team, you need the right data to grow your business. Gain access to all Crunchbase has to offer with Crunchbase Enterprise.  

Crunchbase enterprise download now


Joanne Camarce is a digital marketing expert specializing in SEO, e-commerce, and social media. She loves meeting new people and embraces unique challenges. When she’s not wearing her marketing hat, you’ll find Joanne fine-tuning her music and art skills.