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Sales Intelligence Software 2020: A Complete guide

What is Sales Intelligence

Sales reps today are expected to deliver an extremely personalized experience during every interaction potential customers have with the company. To personalize these interactions, reps need to know a lot of details about the customer, his company and the industry which can give him an advantage over his competition and increase odds of closing the deal. Sales intelligence is the process of collecting this information about the customer and market to make the customer experience more relevant and personal.

What is Sales Intelligence software

Sales intelligence software helps reps to find and understand details about prospects and customers. These tools collect data from all public sources and collate them into easily usable format making it readily available for reps. Reps can slice and dice the data to understand the market, accounts, buyer intent and changes in the organizations without spending too much time on it.

These tools give you information about

  • Firmographics - Firm-level data like revenue, number of employees, growth rate, etc
  • Demographics - People level data like name, age, gender, designation, etc
  • Technographics - Technology level data like technologies the company is using etc
  • Behavioral - User action level data like clicks, views, actions, etc
  • Intent - Buyer intent level data like searches, articles read, etc

Who uses Sales Intelligence software

Sales

Sales reps have to maximize time selling and reducing time hunting data and doing research. Intelligence tools can help them do in-depth prospect research, enrich CRM data, avoid junk leads, etc in less time. They use them to understand the organization charts, key decision-makers, latest projects, and intent signals so that they can pitch at the right time increasing chances of making a sale.

Marketing

Marketing teams use intelligence tools primarily for data enrichment of their leads and segmentation/targeting helping them improve their conversion rates. For example - Marketers can design smaller forms and with just email have all the other data auto-populated or the can show certain content to a portion of the traffic they want to target by knowing their IP address etc.

Recruiters

Intelligence tools are mainly designed for salespeople, but they can also be used by recruiters for identifying new employees and filtering them based on criteria they deem fit.

What are the benefits of using Sales Intelligence software?

Increased productivity

The biggest advantage of using sales intelligence tools is that they give back time to your sales reps. They cut down time spent on researching and prospecting the potential customer by giving all necessary information in a matter of a few clicks. More time for reps means more selling time, which leads to increased sales.

Improved customer experience

Today's buyers are very well researched before making a purchase. So the sales rep is also expected to do his homework when engaging a buyer throughout his buying journey especially during the initial stages when the rep is trying to get new leads. Knowing the details such as customer’s intent, authority, and designation, existing tech stack, etc can help the sales rep make a good first impression and personalize every communication. This improves the customer experience, improves the response rates, shortens the sales cycle and likelihood of conversion.

Increased (and predictable) Pipeline

Sales intelligence tools help reps generate contact lists of people similar to your existing customers. It helps reps to prioritize the right companies and accounts and give them appropriate time and opportune moment to reach out.

Better data quality

Intelligence tools can help improve the quality of customer data by enriching it with all the information reps don’t have. Just from the email address of the user, you can know his name, designation, company, tech stack, department, etc.

What business problems are solved by Sales Intelligence tools?

What business problems are solved by Sales Intelligence tools?

Prospecting

Today the sales reps spend a lot of time trying to refine the best customers to go after. Having key insights about the users before the first contact is made is a huge win for the sales rep. Reps can define the parameters such as industry, revenue, technology, etc. and shortlist the companies of interest to them. They can also set up alerts for the changes in these accounts or when anyone in these accounts does a particular action signaling buyer intent. Approaching the potential customers, when the intent and other relevant context is established, improves the chances of conversion much higher.

The above process can also be smoothed out by some of these tools. Reps can enter the list of best current customers and tools can do the heavy lifting to identify the ideal customer profiles, generate the target list of companies and accounts to go after, thus making generating new leads much easier.

Alerts help rep be on top of the changes in terms of technology, org charts, projects, etc.

Buying signal alerts helps reps be in front of the buyers at the right time with the right pitch. Reps can create a sense of urgency and right fit by knowing the intent and tech details about the account and that is a huge value add as it saves a lot of time for both the parties.

Relationships are key to closing deals and growing accounts. Hence knowing the decision-makers and influencers in the organization, helps sales reps formulate strategies to push new sales.

Reps can get the following type of data from sales intelligence tools

Firmographics
  • Company performance - revenue, growth trends,
  • Status - private, VC funded, Public
  • Size - Employee count, sales
  • Industry - health, consumer,
  • Location - US, Europe
  • People - designation, contact
Technographics
  • Usage - how much the product is being used within the company
  • Renewal - how many times is the subscription being renewed esp when not renewed
  • Spend - what expenses are being made on a particular product
  • Adoption - how well a product is being used across the organization
Behavioral
  • Searches - user searches help reveal intent
  • Articles - give insights into the type of content being consumed by users.
  • Intent - Buying propensity

These tools also help reps study their competitors with regards to their tech stacks,

ZoomInfo is a great data platform that allows me to find out the contact information (emails, phone numbers, and location) of prospects and customers for the accounts that I work with. It has highly accurate data and integrates into our CRM with extreme ease. I think that it should be a basic necessity for most sales organizations that focus on outbound to generate pipeline and close revenue

J Y

Jason Y

Account Executive

Data enrichment

Prospects are always on the move from one role to another, from one company to another, from one country to another, etc. It is hard for the individual sales rep to be on top of this. This is where sales intelligence tools come into play and keep track of the changes happening in the B2B universe and updating daily. Data enrichment is another big proposition of intelligence tools. Most of the time sales reps have just the email or contact number of the person. These tools help enrich the information on different dimensions and give a holistic picture to the rep for further action. Beyond enrichment, data cleaning helps reps to get rid of duplicate contacts, cleanse records, ensuring clean information for rep usage.

Top KPI’s for Sales Intelligence tools

  • Increase in response rates
  • New leads generated
  • Improved customer experience

How do these Sales Intelligence software differentiate themselves?

Breadth and Depth of data

This software primarily differentiates themselves based on the total number of data points they have about the users or accounts or industry. The more data points usually mean wider coverage of accounts, individuals, etc helping the reps reach out to a larger group.

Accuracy / Freshness of data

Having incorrect data, having redundant duplicate data, having stale data, etc are common complaints of users of intelligence software. To solve these issues, some tools even have human teams verifying the data to push the accuracy of the data collected by technology means.

That said, the amount of accurate information I receive for contacts is extraordinary. What surprised me was how accurate the results were. Companies with a myriad of contacts are listed as a result and, when you select one, you're given a list of all contacts within that company. This simplifies my efforts immeasurably.

D M

David M

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Other functionalities

Intelligence tools expand their offerings from just being a data provider. Some tools have built-in email outreach capabilities along with the B2B database. Or they have a direct integration with your sales engagement / CRM platform to reach out to these prospects at scale.

What are the top features of Sales Intelligence tools? How do they use AI?

List builder and filters

List builders along with deep filters help you narrow down the targets from a huge list of data to the most relevant ones.

Lead scoring

Since the tools have detailed information about the clients / prospects, the can easily score the leads based on ICP of rep defined parameters to prioritize the leads which helps reps go after the most important accounts first and maximize the odds of closing.

Data cleansing

This involves identifying data inaccuracies, correcting them, normalizing data, de-duping it and keeping the data fresh

Alerts

Probably one of the most useful features of the intelligence tools. It comes in handy when someone is beginning his buying journey and rep gets an alert so that you catch the user early on. Or if some user stopped using a tool and rep are alerted right then. You can define alerts for any action the buyer takes action, or important events happen or market trends change, etc so that sales reps are ready to leverage the new change.

AI

AI is applied by companies very differently. Different tools use AI to answer questions

  • Will a person be promoted soon?
  • Will the company expand and start a new project?
  • What does the DISC Personality of the users look like?

AI is also used in identifying ICP based on best customers and automating alerts based on past behavior.

How to choose Sales Intelligence Software?

Who should buy sales intelligence tools?

Sales intelligence tools are mainly used for B2B companies from small ones to enterprise. Some tools do specialize for verticals like Winmo specializes for media and marketing industry so the depth of contact and company data is higher for that vertical. If you need industry-specific data, you should look for a tool that specializes in that vertical. If not you should go after a tool that has more depth and accuracy.

Coverage and Accuracy of Data

These are the two biggest strengths and challenges for an intelligence tool. What is the breadth and depth of the database and what is the accuracy and freshness of their data? This can single-handedly tilt the buying decision in favor of the vendor. This is a big problem because ~30% of data goes stale every year. Hence the rate at which company updates its data becomes really critical.

Most data is collected by tech scrapping and needs to be human-verified. But humans can verify millions of data points. Hence what % of data is human-verified is a key metric to look at when evaluating these tools.

Account-level relationship structures are extremely critical to decide the GTM for that account. Hence having org charts and key decision-makers and influencers mapped is a huge plus.

Integrations

Intelligence tools have to integrate with your CRM to update and enrich the lead information. Also, they have to power email engagement campaigns for your prospects. Hence it becomes extremely critical to look for solutions that have good integrations with both CRM and engagement platforms.

If you are a small company, some tools have an engagement module built for your needs, so that you can avoid buying an intelligence and engagement tool separately. Apollo.io, Growbots, Autoklose, etc work perfectly well for intelligence and engagement needs of small to medium companies.

How do you want to use AI?

Some companies exclusively focus on using AI to identify growth companies i.e. mining early signals if a company is planning to expand into new businesses or new projects in the near future. Companies such as Gazelle.ai, Cognism do a good job of answering the growth question.

ROI concerns

Since users have highlighted ROI concerns with intelligence tools it makes sense for you to do an ROI discussion with vendor before buying an intelligence tool.

Sales Intelligence Software

Opphound Icon

Opphound

4.64
★★★★★
★★★★★

Opphound | A fast, intuitive sales pipeline management tool

Lead411 B2B Sales Icon

Lead411 B2B Sales

4.53
★★★★★
★★★★★

Lead411 | Become Instantly more Effective with our Trigger-Based Sales Intelligence Platform

Growbots Outbound Sales Automation Icon

Growbots Outbound Sales Automation

4.48
★★★★★
★★★★★

Growbots: An Outbound Sales Platform to Get New Customers Faster.

Prospectify Icon

Prospectify

4.44
★★★★★
★★★★★

Prospectify | B2B Sales Data Leader, We help sales teams close deals faster

Clearbit Enrichment Icon

Clearbit Enrichment

4.40
★★★★★
★★★★★

Clearbit Enrichment | Append fresh social and company data to email

Discoverorg Icon

Discoverorg

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

DiscoverOrg | Verified Company Insights & Contact Information

Lusha Icon

Lusha

4.38
★★★★★
★★★★★

Lusha | B2B contact information at your fingertips

Datahug Icon

Datahug

4.36
★★★★★
★★★★★

Datahug | Collaborative sales forecasting software and pipeline management solution

Oracle Datafox Icon

Oracle Datafox

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

DataFox | Account Data Management for Accounts

Pobuca Connect Icon

Pobuca Connect

4.30
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pobuca Connect Optimize the way your company stores & communicates with business contacts

InsideView Icon

InsideView

4.28
★★★★★
★★★★★

InsideView | Build a Go-to-Market Machine that Fires on All Cylinders

ZoomInfo Icon

ZoomInfo

4.28
★★★★★
★★★★★

ZoomInfo: B2B Contact Database | Company Information Database

Sellhack Icon

Sellhack

4.24
★★★★★
★★★★★

SellHack: Sales Prospecting & Lead Generation

Linkedin Sales Navigator Icon

Linkedin Sales Navigator

4.22
★★★★★
★★★★★

Sales Tool for Prospecting & Insights

Seamless.Ai Icon

Seamless.Ai

4.15
★★★★★
★★★★★

Seamless.AI: Acquire Your Total Addressable Market

synthio Icon

synthio

4.12
★★★★★
★★★★★

Synthio | Provides a high-quality single source of truth on B2B prospects and customers.

Owler Icon

Owler

4.06
★★★★★
★★★★★

Owler: Track the companies that matter to you.

Acuity3D Icon

Acuity3D

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Acuity3D | The smart decision platform for Sales

Agent3 SoSell Icon

Agent3 SoSell

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

SoSell - The intelligent social selling mobile app powered by customer Intent

D&b Hoovers Icon

D&b Hoovers

3.99
★★★★★
★★★★★

D&B Hoovers: Sales acceleration solution that provides a faster path from prospect to profitable relationship

Infor Customer Experience Suite Icon

Infor Customer Experience Suite

3.78
★★★★★
★★★★★

Boost engagement, drive profits, and enrich the customer experience

TrustSphere Linkswithin Icon

TrustSphere Linkswithin

3.75
★★★★★
★★★★★

LinksWithin | Capability to leverage organizational social graph

Mixrank Icon

Mixrank

3.64
★★★★★
★★★★★

MixRank - Data-driven sales and marketing

Infofree Icon

Infofree

3.38
★★★★★
★★★★★

Infofree.com

Groove Icon

Groove

4.63
★★★★★
★★★★★

Groove | Sales engagement software that drives efficiency at every stage of the sales process

amplemarket Icon

amplemarket

4.58
★★★★★
★★★★★

Amplemarket - Helps to sell more and smarter

XiQ Icon

XiQ

4.58
★★★★★
★★★★★

XiQ | ACCOUNT-BASED MARKETING

Nimble CRM Icon

Nimble CRM

4.44
★★★★★
★★★★★

Nimble CRM | CRM Software To Grow Your Business

Tellwise sales acceleration software Icon

Tellwise sales acceleration software

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

Tellwise | Accelerate your sales pipeline with valuable analytics and powerful integration between email, phone, and chat

Zoho SalesIQ Icon

Zoho SalesIQ

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

Zoho SalesIQ | Hassle-free live chat for customer support & business growth

Crunchbase Enterprise Icon

Crunchbase Enterprise

4.36
★★★★★
★★★★★

Crunchbase.com | Crunchbase Enterprise | Supercharge Your Pipeline‚

People.Ai Icon

People.Ai

4.36
★★★★★
★★★★★

People.ai | Transform Your Go-To-Market with Revenue Intelligence

Yesware Icon

Yesware

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Yesware - Empowering to create and develop valuable business relationships

Leadspace Customer Data Platform Icon

Leadspace Customer Data Platform

4.28
★★★★★
★★★★★

Leadspace Customer Data Platform | Drive true Customer Obsession with Leadspace CDP. All the data you need to understand your customers - accurate & in real-time

Cien Icon

Cien

4.24
★★★★★
★★★★★

Cien | AI Powered Sales Assistant For Highly Productive Sales Teams

Salesoptimize Icon

Salesoptimize

4.21
★★★★★
★★★★★

SalesOptimize | Data Science, Market Intelligence, Market Sizing & Competitor Monitoring.

Ringlead DMS Icon

Ringlead DMS

4.21
★★★★★
★★★★★

RingLead - The #1 Data Quality Platform for Sales and Marketing

Sales-i Icon

Sales-i

4.18
★★★★★
★★★★★

Sales-i | Sales analytics software for wholesale distribution for B2B Companies

Gryphon Sales Performance Management Platform Icon

Gryphon Sales Performance Management Platform

4.18
★★★★★
★★★★★

Gryphon Networks: Sales and Marketing Effectiveness | SaaS Company

EverString Icon

EverString

4.17
★★★★★
★★★★★

EverString - Marketing & Sales Intelligence Software

Leadiro B2B Data Icon

Leadiro B2B Data

4.15
★★★★★
★★★★★

Leadiro: B2B Database & Business Contact Data That Gets Results

PipeCandy Icon

PipeCandy

4.10
★★★★★
★★★★★

PipeCandy: eCommerce Market intelligence. eCommerce leads

DemandFarm KAM Suite Icon

DemandFarm KAM Suite

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

DemandFarm KAM Suite: Key Account Management Platform

LeadCrunch AI Icon

LeadCrunch AI

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

LeadCrunch: B2B Lookalike Audiences | Demand Generation with AI

Rocketreach Icon

Rocketreach

3.99
★★★★★
★★★★★

RocketReach - Find email, phone & social media links for anyone

OutboundWorks Icon

OutboundWorks

3.92
★★★★★
★★★★★

OutboundWorks - Automated sales development platform

Dow Jones Factiva Icon

Dow Jones Factiva

3.83
★★★★★
★★★★★

Factiva | Global News Database & Licensed Content - Dow Jones

Exchangeleads Icon

Exchangeleads

3.75
★★★★★
★★★★★

ExchangeLeads: High Quality Data to Drive Up Your B2B Sales & Marketing