5 Minutes

What is Sales Intelligence and Why is it Useful?

An introductory to sales intelligence and how it can benefit your business.

What is Sales Intelligence?

Sales intelligence is the process of leveraging tools and software to transform company data into actionable insights and reach the right target audience.

Sales intelligence tools allow sales & marketing reps to reach high spend accounts and difficult to access leads. Using this data, they can also discover, analyze and present data without requiring a technical data science background.

Why is Sales Intelligence Important?

The benefit of sales intelligence is that it allows sales teams to get a deeper understanding of their customers, allowing them to craft more effective targeting and engagement strategies. It also allows businesses to finetune their sales process:

1. Boost Sales Team Performance

By providing data to sales teams, managers can conduct a sales team analysis to find top performers, look for quality traits and create training programs. Managers can also look at:

  • Sales velocity across team members
  • Close rates across sales reps
  • Performance of sales reps across different product lines and customer types

2. Improve Sales Strategy

Sales reps can use the data to craft their sales strategy. There are various promo materials and ways of presenting a product/service to a customer. 

  • What are the most effective ways to conduct an onboarding call? 
  • What materials should be included in the welcome newsletter email? 
  • What content should sales reps be presenting to customers?

Different customers will prefer different content and the data will help guide your sales teams to finding what works best for each buyer persona.

3. Optimize Sales Pipeline Stages

Sales data analysis can reveal inefficiencies and bottlenecks within the sales pipeline. Conducting a sales pipeline analysis involves:

  • Analyzing the conversion rates per stage
  • Analyzing the number of deals coming in and out of the pipeline
  • Pipeline velocity
  • Sales rep performance during the different pipeline stages.

For more information, check out our guide on how to conduct a sales pipeline analysis.

Sales Intelligence CRM

Most sales intelligence tools integrate directly with CRM tools like Salesforce, Zoho and Hubspot. But what’s the difference between these two?

Sales Intelligence vs. CRM Software

CRM (customer relationship management) software is like spreadsheets on steroids. Imagine it like an Excel or Google Sheets, but with extra functionality designed specifically for certain roles (e.g. sales, marketing, customer support).

CRM software allows companies to log and administrate activities with their customers (similar to how you would input data into a spreadsheet). Depending on the tool, it’ll have other functionality on top of that such as: restricted views, email notifications, sales forecasting, and account management.

Sales intelligence on the other hand is about extracting insights, trends and patterns from this data for sales teams to make data-driven decisions. With a sales intelligence tool, anyone on the team can extract insights from a dataset without a data background. 

These tools also come with dashboarding, data visualization and presentation features.

CRM Example

Example CRM tools are Salesforce, Zoho and Hubspot. Salesforce is by far the largest CRM tool used by almost every Fortune 500 company. 

In Salesforce, you get to log details about your leads, opportunities and customers: name, contact details, position at company and spending etc.

Sometimes, customers may also have questions or need help. You can keep track of all of these in Salesforce, set up email notifications and limit who can view these cases to the customer service team.

Sales Intelligence Example

There are different types of sales intelligence tools. Some are designed to be a database of leads where salesreps can reach out to through cold calling or cold emailing. Some are designed to help analyze and visualize this data. Some are designed to assist your outreach process.

Example sales intelligence tools are Polymer Search, Hubspot and Apollo.

Polymer Search integrates directly with Salesforce data, making it a seamless transition from collecting the data to analyzing the data. 

By analyzing this data, anyone on the team can extract insights from any dataset, to determine what actions will drive the most profit for the company.

For instance, sales reps can check what customer profiles are most likely to convert, and focus their time on them instead of wasting valuable effort on leads that won’t convert.

An example of a sales intelligence dashboard created with Polymer Search.

sales intelligence dashboard

Anyone on the team can easily access the data analysis features by going to the "visualize" or "insights" tab.

Meanwhile, the left sidebar makes it extremely easy to filter through the data.

In summary: 

  • CRM software is about logging activities with their customers.
  • Sales intelligence tools allow anyone from the company to analyze this data to extract valuable insights from it without the help of a data analyst.

How to Analyze Sales Intelligence Data

Step One: Define Your Goals

What metrics should you be tracking? What’s a good goal to aim for? Which metrics are you trying to maximize vs. minimize? Knowing these will make it easier to analyze the data.

For instance, if we know we're trying to improve email bounce rates, we can start analyzing other variables to find out what influences it. That's where having a good sales intelligence tool can come handy:

Step Two: Choose a Sales Intelligence Tool

A good tool should be easy to use, and present the information in an easy to understand manner so all members of a sales team can easily use it without the technical expertise of a sales intelligence analyst.

Polymer is a tool that allows your average Joe to extract valuable insights from their data. It connects to your favorite data sources and transforms a spreadsheet into a filterable, interactive web application. Polymer is much more beginner friendly than even Excel or Google Sheets.

Step Three: Perform Data Analysis Techniques

Data analysis techniques such as pivot tables, graphs/charts, and Polymer’s “Auto-Insights” feature allow you to analyze sales performance, team performance, conversion rates and sales velocity. Knowing when to use the appropriate data analysis technique and visualizations is crucial.

Bar charts can allow you to see the relationship between 2 variables. Scatter plots allow you to find correlations. Time series are used for finding trends over time and making predictions.

Step Four: Visualize and Present the Data

Lastly, we want to visualize and present our findings to the team. This can be done through interactive graphs/charts, creating saved “views” and interactive dashboards.

With Polymer Search, you can save countless hours of time by having the tool generate the dashboard and interacftive visualizations for you. It can be done in a matter of seconds. You, and several collaborators can also work on it at the same time.

To get started, you simply upload or connect your dataset, and the tool will transform it into an interactive web application with options to filter, visualize and present data.

Overall

Having what is called a “self-service” intelligence tool allows all members of a company to easily filter, sort, analyze, visualize and present data without expertise from a sales intelligence analyst.

Posted on
July 7, 2022
under Blog
July 7, 2022
Written by

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