Sales Intelligence: Your Guide To Closing More Deals With Data

The buyer’s journey is changing faster than ever. Prospects expect customization at every stage of the sales cycle but, as every salesperson knows, customization is impossible without accurate and relevant data. That’s where sales intelligence comes in. 

Sales intelligence technology can help sales teams automate research and customize outreach to book more meetings with qualified prospects, making it possible to close more deals — even in today’s tumultuous economic climate. 

In this article, you’ll find answers to all of your questions about sales intelligence, including:


What is sales intelligence?

Sales intelligence is the collection of prospect data and insights from a variety of sources (often aided by sales software), that enables sales teams to better understand their prospects and track critical buying signals.


Where does sales intelligence data come from?

Sales intelligence data is compiled from many different sources (often by sales intelligence platforms, software or services), but not all software works to log data in the same way. Here are just a few of the many ways automated sales intelligence software collects data:

  • Crawling websites and social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook/Meta) for publicly available information
  • Analyzing site usage data and analytics
  • Using browser cookies to track web activity

Here are a few categories and specific examples of B2B sales intelligence data collected through these processes: 


What are sales intelligence tools and how do they work?

Sales intelligence platforms or tools are software that compiles data from a variety of sources to automate prospect research.

Many sales reps spend a majority of their time researching leads to try and determine if they fit their ideal customer profile. Then, they have to determine if these leads are ready and able to make a purchase, and are worth putting time and energy into building a relationship with to try and convert them into customers.

Thankfully, sales intelligence companies and sales intelligence tools now exist to automate research, which is often the most painful and time-consuming part of the sales process. Automated sales intelligence tools provide salespeople with actionable insights, enabling them to spend less time researching and qualifying leads, and more time closing deals.


Search less. Close more.

Automate account discovery and qualification with Crunchbase.


Account-based vs. lead-based sales intelligence tools

If you’ve successfully pleaded your case with management and received approval on your request to bring on a sales intelligence solution, there are a few key differentiators to consider in your analysis. When you’re looking for a sales intelligence solution, one of the most important things you should consider is if the tool provides account-level or lead-level information.

It’s harder to connect with prospects and sell now than ever before, especially with so many companies tightening their belts in the current economic climate. On top of that, today’s buyers are seemingly impossible to please – they expect outreach to be timely, relevant, personalized, and impact-driven from the get-go. If your solution only has information about leads (individuals) rather than accounts (companies), your chances of breaking through in a competitive market are slim.

In the next section, we’ll explain the difference between lead-based tools and account-based tools and why account-based selling is more important than ever.


Lead-based tools

Sales intelligence tools that focus on lead information will give you lists of individual contacts. But, if you’re only supplied with limited information and context (like a name and job title), how do you know if a lead is at a company with buying power? 

Short answer: you don’t.

Without company-level information from the get-go, you have to backtrack to discover if the company each lead is at has buying power in the first place. You’re left to do more work researching and qualifying a massive list of leads. Then you’ve got to do even more research on each lead to determine how to personalize your outreach.


Account-based tools

Account-based selling is all about quality over quantity. Instead of sending thousands of spammy emails and wasting your time on cold calls, an account-based approach will help you send targeted, customized emails (that your prospects might actually read). Building a more complete and informed account-based approach can help improve each buyer’s experience and ultimately help you close more deals. Account-based tools also provide more long-term security, as they don’t rely solely on sensitive personal contact data that could be restricted (or removed altogether) by information privacy laws like GDPR, etc.


Search less. Close more.

Crunchbase automatically surfaces new accounts that match your ICP.


With an account-based strategy, your first step is to identify companies that match your ICP and are more likely to be responsive to your outreach. Then, you go on to find contacts at those companies and engage them. 

The best part is, if you start at the account level you’re already armed with loads of company information you can use to customize your outreach. You have access to relevant buying signals and information about how your solution can help leads solve their current pain points based on their size, funding stage, recent leadership hires, etc. Though you’ve started at the “top” with company-level information, this strategy actually enables a more human, personalized approach to prospecting.


Who should use sales intelligence?

According to research by Forrester, companies that implemented a B2B sales intelligence solution reported having 35% more leads in their pipeline and 45% higher-quality leads. That means sales intelligence data can be extremely effective and make a real difference for any sales team.

That said, those who get the most out of sales intelligence tend to be sales development representatives (SDRs), business development representatives (BDRs), and account executives (AEs). These sales team members generally manage everything from conducting initial research to find leads, qualifying those leads as prospects, and customizing outreach to book meetings and demos – all aspects of the process that automation through a sales intelligence portal can help with immensely.

In the next section, we’ll walk you through exactly how sales intelligence can help you at every step of the sales process.


How can sales intelligence help you close more deals? 

The days of opening a million tabs to find information about one prospect are over. Sales intelligence collects and consolidates prospect data in a single platform, helping salespeople easily find better-fitting prospects and customize their outreach to close more deals without exorbitant costs.

Here’s how Crunchbase’s sales intelligence software can help you through every step of the sales prospecting process:


1. Generate B2B sales leads without lifting a finger

Crunchbase Pro’s recommended companies feature automates account discovery. All you need to do is make sure your territory is up to date, and Crunchbase’s machine-learning-powered recommendation engine will automatically comb through Crunchbase’s database to deliver new opportunities that match your ICP.

Crunchbase platform recommended companies sales intelligence GIF

2. Easily find new accounts that match your ICP

Within Crunchbase you can easily search for accounts that match your ICP characteristics. Narrow down your search results by filtering year search based on HQ location, funding status, company size, recent leadership changes, and more.

Screenshot of Crunchbase platform search feature

3. Quickly qualify new accounts

Scan facts about companies you discovered in search and companies recommended to you (location, company size, revenue, and industry) to quickly qualify new accounts. No more wasting time chasing contacts without insights into the company’s health or resources.

Crunchbase platform recommended companies feature GIF

4. Save new accounts that match your ICP directly to your CRM

When you find new accounts that meet your ICP in Crunchbase, push them directly from Crunchbase to Salesforce. You can also see which accounts are already in Salesforce and avoid record duplication. When you find and save a new account from Crunchbase to Salesforce, we’ll also save the basic company information you’ll need to personalize your outreach. Crunchbase will reduce your tech stack so you can seamlessly find and engage with prospects in one place.

Crunchbase platform CRM connected feature screenshot

5. Track key company buying signals with automatic alerts

In addition to recommending companies that match your ICP, Crunchbase’s sales intelligence data can help you know exactly when you should reach out to your prospects with automatic alerts about key buying signals like new leadership hires or funding. These signals are great signs that a prospect could be in a position to buy. All you need to do is save the accounts you find in Crunchbase to a custom list and select the alerts you’d like to receive.

Crunchbase platform screenshot with automatic alerts selection

Already have a prospect list, but wish you could keep track of key buying signals in real-time? Here’s how you can easily import an existing list of prospects to Crunchbase and set up automatic alerts to stay in the loop.


6. Find and engage with decision-makers

Once you’ve discovered your target companies with an account-based approach, you can navigate to the ‘People’ tab on Crunchbase company profiles to view a list of contacts at each company. Then, use Crunchbase’s engagement suite to:

  • Send intelligent emails: Leverage intelligent email templates tailored specifically to your contacts.
  • Customize your outreach: Insert dynamic variables and snippets powered by Crunchbase data to customize your message to your contact.
  • Push contacts as leads: Push contacts as leads from Crunchbase to Salesforce in one click.

Close more deals with Crunchbase

Crunchbase’s sales intelligence software surfaces information about the millions of companies in Crunchbase to help you target the right prospects, at the right time, with the right content. 

Want to learn how Crunchbase helps sales teams close more deals? Check out these resources:

Crunchbase sales intelligence solution ad
  • Originally published November 15, 2021, updated March 15, 2023