The Actionable Guide to Account-Based Sales Intelligence & Activation

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Sales Intelligence

Sales intelligence is a term that is used for a wide variety of software offerings. This can leave a person wondering what the sales intelligence definition really is. The sales intelligence itself comes in the form of data that can help a business make more sales or speed up the sales cycle. When well-understood, it can provide insight into the business cycles of your company and those of your clients.

Since raw data is hard to understand, sales intelligence software is used to make sense of it. This software can spot trends, keep track of how long sales cycles are taking, tabulate the number of prospective customers who are within the sales funnel, and more. It then presents the information in easy-to-read charts, graphs, and related formats. With the right software, you’ll find that it is easy to keep up with all of the information you need.

There are many software offerings in this category, so even though our definition answers the question of “what is sales intelligence software,” you may have to demo several of the choices before you pick one. Each industry, and each company, is a bit different from all others. Therefore, each one has sales intelligence needs that are at least slightly different, as well.

While many software offerings provide a good mix of capabilities, there are times when you might one that is more specific. For example, if you need to help your marketing and sales departments work together, you might look specifically for ad sales intelligence software. Alternatively, if you need to put more of a focus on lead generation, you’ll find that lead intelligence software is more helpful.

Sales intelligence software is also broken down according to your overarching business model. In this case, you’ll want to choose between B2B sales intelligence tools and B2C. Fortunately, this is easy. All you need to consider here is whether you usually deal with other businesses or with end consumers. Now that you have a basic understanding of the sales intelligence meaning, you can better understand the answers to questions that go beyond “what is sales intelligence.” We will now highlight some well-regarded sales intelligence tools.


DiscoverOrg is one of the most popular sales intelligence platforms. It claims to have the best sales intelligence software, and many people agree with that assessment. The company has recently expanded thanks to its purchase of ZoomInfo, another platform in the sales intelligence market.

The stated goal of DiscoverOrg is to provide a “360-degree view” of your ideal customer and empower you to hit your goals. It focuses on B2B businesses, and has been in the sales intelligence market for 10 years. DiscoverOrg boasts that its software can save you hours of time every day and help you hit “elusive” numbers. The company itself has achieved a position on several “top” lists, including Inc. Magazine’s Best Place to Work 2019 and G2’s Top 100 Software Companies 2019.

This software lets you define your market according to several pre-set categories, such as C-suite, finance, IT, sales, marketing, and more. Then, this can be refined further by selecting specific criteria, such as someone’s seniority level, job function, and other specifics. Finally, it will score and rank your prospects to let you know which ones are the most likely to buy.

It also keeps track of more basic data, such as contact information for your prospects (including verified email addresses), organization structure maps, and similar things. This makes it easier for you to make contact with those who you have identified as good prospects.

As with most software of this type, DiscoverOrg’s sales intelligence CRM comes with a free trial period. This gives you a chance to actually use it before making a commitment. Such trials are essential for determining whether or not a specific company’s sales intelligence software will work well with your company and its existing procedures.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Most sales intelligence tools focus on the traditional ways of selling, such as direct contact through email and phone calls. LinkedIn Sales Navigator, on the other hand, is a powerful tool for leveraging the LinkedIn social media platform itself. Its search feature lets you go through thousands of LinkedIn profiles, target the ones most likely to accept your offer, and integrates with your CRM platform so that you can easily keep track of everything that’s going on.

This tool also lets you keep track of your prospects’ changing information. Job changes, including within and out of a prospect’s original company, are noted in the platform. This makes it so you don’t waste time trying to market to someone who is no longer in a position to buy. It also gives you extra opportunities for contact, for example, to congratulate a prospect on a promotion. When promotions leave someone in a position to buy, this personal touch can increase your chances.

Despite its ability to automatically keep track of plenty of sales intelligence data, there will be times when you want to add more information directly. Then, use its note feature to enter information. These notes can be imported into most CRMs, too, so you can have all of the data in front of you when you’re on the CRM interface. LinkedIn Sales Navigator also supports tags, so you can better categorize prospect data and other info.

The usefulness of LinkedIn Sales Navigator will depend greatly on whether or not your company uses the LinkedIn platform as a lead prospecting tool. If it does, or intends to start doing so, this is one of the best sales intelligence tools you’ll find for the purpose. However, if your company isn’t going to become active on LinkedIn, it should look for other sales intelligence tools.

Sales Tools

DiscoverOrg and LinkedIn Sales Navigator are just two of the several sales tools out there that are meant to ease the application of business intelligence. Others include ZoomInfo, Gartner sales intelligence, InsideView, TrustRadius sales intelligence, and sales intelligence software G2. There are many others, as well.

All of these are different from each other, sometimes in meaningful ways. The first thing to look at is which kind of sales techniques they support. Not all of them are all-arounders. Instead, those like LinkedIn Sales Navigator only work with one platform or sales technique. Therefore, you need to make sure that the tool you’re looking at will meet your needs.

Once you’re sure you’re in the right ballpark, it’s time to compare features to make sure your must-haves are there. Most of these operational intelligence tools try to provide what they think every company should have. However, their opinion of what falls into this category may be different from yours. It’s important to read each one’s feature list to be sure its capabilities are in line with what you want it to do.

Finally, try to check out exactly what it’s like to work with the software you’re thinking of getting. Many companies offer a free trial period specifically so you can do this. This makes it possible to be sure that you and your team won’t find the software cumbersome or clumsy to work with. It’s important to get one that doesn’t cause hassles. This way, your sales team can work smoothly and efficiently instead of stopping to fight with the software. It can be worth investing a bit extra, if necessary, to get a solution that is easy to work with.

In some cases, software producers make it easy to do quick comparisons. You may find a page with a G2 sales intelligence comparison, or one comparing ZoomInfo to TrustRadius. Then, you can weed some contenders out before you start a trial.

It’s important to note that a free trial doesn’t give you long-term access to free sales enablement tools. Instead, these free sales intelligence tools stop working after a relatively short period. Then, you have to pay to keep them active.

Importance of Sales Intelligence

Once you try a good sales intelligence tool, you’ll see how powerful it is at increasing your ability to efficiently make more sales. Then, you won’t want to be without it. Many have already discovered this, which is why this type of software is now one of the categories on most software review sites. This, however, is only one of the drivers of the popularity of both the software and the desire to master it.

Many companies have found sales intelligence so essential that they have added specific roles at their companies for the people who know how to use it. This position is often called “sales intelligence specialist,” though other names may also be used.

The sales intelligence job description varies, but typically involves using one or more types of sales intelligence software to provide essential data to the company or its sales department. In some cases, the specialist may also work with marketing in order to coordinate campaigns and help cut down on wasted ad spend or sales team time. At other times, the specialist may be more involved with the IT side of things, and work to integrate a sales intelligence tool with a CRM. Then, the person will look at a sales intelligence CRM example to see if a standalone product will be a better solution than integrating the tool with an existing CRM system.

This emerging company role isn’t limited to the USA. There are also ads for people to specialize in sales intelligence UK and other countries. Therefore, someone who knows the importance of sales intelligence, and masters how to provide it, can find jobs in a wide variety of other places. This makes it a great opportunity not only for people who intend to remain in the US, but for those who want to travel and see the world, as well.