Before the massive information overload that we have from the web today, if you wanted Sales Intelligence (SI), you had to find it any way possible: friends and family, friends of friends, calling the prospect multiple times and looking for influencers, the newspaper, the golf course, television, radio, newspaper, and your kids, anything and anyone you could use to find information about a prospect. I have heard of cases where sales representatives would stake out a church that a prospect attended for SI.
(SI) refers to technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of information to help salespeople keep up to date with clients, prospect data and drive business. In addition to providing metrics for win-loss and sales confidence, SI can present contextually relevant customer and product information.
There is a difference between SI and Sales Data. Sales Data is the prospect’s general information name, title, email, address, phone number. Sales Data is the basic information that you can find in a phone book, or on the prospect’s website.
Examples of Sales Intelligence are:
- What initiatives do you want to accomplish next year, two years, or five years?
- Give me an overview of how you do "X" today?
- What do you like about what you are doing today?
- If you could ideally change anything with "X", what would that be?
- How else might you be looking to solve these issues?
There are multiple ways today to gather SI: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, online trade magazines (CIO.com/CRN.com), lead list vendors and b2b lead generation companies like Vendere Partners are just a few.
Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, but there is no substitute for picking up the phone and ‘getting your hands dirty’. Eventually you have to ask the hard questions; you have to confirm or deny that the information that you found is accurate and the only way to do that is either pick up the phone and talk to someone or physically be in front of the prospect to ask the hard questions.
The role of SI in b2b prospecting is critical; by having clear, accurate, and concise SI, you will avoid wasting time, develop a stronger pipeline, shorter sales cycle and a better chance of closing opportunities to meet your quota.