Unleashing the Power of Sales Intelligence With Sales Teams in 2023
Just a couple of decades ago, sales activities at SaaS companies were the biggest contributing factor to growth. They then began relying on marketing strategies and brand differentiation for customer acquisition. In recent years, a product-led go-to-market (GTM) strategy centering the product as the vehicle for growth and retention has taken the industry by storm.
A Sales VP is expected to manage all aspects of a sales operation. It includes gathering customer data to create a profile of the leads the company should be targeting. Lead generation apart, the VP of Sales is involved in building a system of deriving data from prospective clients in real-time and across multiple channels and platforms.
II. What is Sales Intelligence?
A. Defining Sales Intelligence and Its Components
Sales intelligence is the information sales teams use to make informed decisions in the selling cycle. It encompasses the tools, techniques, and practices that facilitate data collection, tracking, and analysis. Sales intelligence yields vital insights into leads and prospects.
B. Why Sales Intelligence Matters in the SaaS Industry
Sales intelligence is a data-driven approach to increase sales. It makes it easy to identify people most likely to buy your product, and tells your salespeople when prospects are ready to buy.
III. Key Elements of Sales Intelligence
A. Market and Industry Insights
Sales leaders follow industry trends and market news to track developments, predictions, and evolving customer behaviors. For example, if customers’ needs remain the same but their spending power reduces due to a weakening economy, then sales leaders review its potential impact on sales performance and how the sales strategy should change in response to the prevailing conditions.
B. Prospect and Customer Data
A customer relationship management (CRM) software is the essential platform that stores customer and prospect data, tracks customer interactions, and shares this information with sales and marketing teams.
C. Competitor Analysis
For a PLG sales approach, how your product compares to competitors’, on pricing and features, tells you whether your target audience is likely to consider you or whether you need to make product/pricing changes, or offer a free trial, or other enticements. Competitor analysis also involves studying competitors’ reviews, content strategies, and financial results.
D. Third-party enrichment (Technographics and firmographics)
Third-party enrichment simplifies gathering firmographic and technographic data to build detailed customer profiles and personas. Data from third parties allow you to gain deeper insights into potential customers, which helps you more easily personalize your calls, emails, and LinkedIn messaging for better outcomes.
IV. The Benefits of Sales Intelligence for Sales
A. Enhanced Prospect Targeting and Lead Generation
Sales intelligence gathers data about prospects and prospect decision-makers in near real-time, providing context for your GTM, lead generation, and ideal customer profile. Sales intelligence tools also cue you into buying signals so that you can reach out to prospects in the moments that matter.
B. Improved Sales Effectiveness and Conversion Rates
By helping build detailed and accurate customer profiles, sales intelligence guides sales strategy, product development, and decisions on shaping aspects of the customer experience, such as adding a self-serve portal or offering onboarding assistance.
C. Streamlined Sales Processes and Pipeline Building
Combining CRM, sales intelligence, and intent/trigger data helps increase pipeline velocity. By engaging with accounts when they show interest, you can improve your win rate and close deals faster. By collecting, consolidating, and analyzing data from various sources, sales intelligence tools help sales leaders gain a full picture of workflows and the revenue cycle.
D. Competitive Advantage and Market Positioning
Sales intelligence tools save sales reps time in unlocking the data needed to identify with and connect with customers through personalized interactions. They help sales professionals uncover valuable insights into their process to identify what’s working, and what isn’t, and experiment with new initiatives.
V. Leveraging Sales Intelligence Tools and Strategies
A. CRM Integration and Data Enrichment
A sales intelligence tool integrates with your existing tech stack (e.g. CRM), providing all the information your sales team needs in one place. A third-party data enrichment tool appends additional customer information and keeps your CRM data up to date.
B. Data Analytics and Visualization
Sales analytics and reporting software provide real-time, fact-based insights into the entire sales process. They help sales managers track and understand sales performance, identify trends, and patterns, and take steps to improve sales results.
C. Sales Enablement Platforms
Sales intelligence provides the data that sales and marketing teams can use to understand the customer better. The sales playbooks thus created are held within a sales enablement platform. The content sales reps need to share with prospects or use for prospecting is always at hand.
D. Behavioral AI
Knowing which accounts to target is half the battle won in PLG sales. Behavioral AI unlocks the data to target effectively and race rather than crawl towards hyper-growth. An example of behavioral AI is Toplyne, which combines first-party data with third-party enrichment data to help companies like Canva and Vercel build sales-pipeline.
E. Sales Intelligence Training and Skill Development
Sales teams receive training on sales intelligence tools to leverage 360-views of the customer and scores of intent signals to gain insights into who needs their product the most. When going through reviews of sales intelligence tools, check what customers say about the amount of training required to use the tools efficiently.
VI. The Future of Sales Intelligence
A. Emerging Trends and Technologies
Sales technologies are embracing new technologies to uncover more information about customers. For example, sales intelligence tools using machine learning algorithms constantly analyze customer information to find patterns and offer advanced search filters.
B. Predictions for the Evolution of Sales Intelligence in the SaaS Industry
SaaS sales is becoming data-driven and predictive. Future SaaS sales intelligence tools can be expected to be more refined and make sales forecasts to a higher degree of accuracy. As regulations around data privacy become increasingly stringent, the tools will be designed to keep up with evolving privacy protocols.
A. Recap of Sales Intelligence and its Significance
Sales intelligence provides teams with up-to-date information about prospects and addressable market. It enables you to identify and target your best prospects and is a critical piece of your GTM strategy.
B. Actionable Steps to Embrace Sales Intelligence
When choosing a sales intelligence tool, consider the following:
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- What features (data enrichment, lead generation, trigger data) will help you the most?
- How many hours will sales reps need to train on the tool?
- How complete is your data?
- Is your data compliant?
- How much does it cost?
- When can you start seeing ROI?