Leaders of the business world understand that data is the fuel driving the growth and expansion of companies. A plethora of data is available easily and is not hard to find data like company name, employee size, phone number, email address, revenue size, etc. However, complex and long sales cycle needs more than just numbers and names. Sales and marketing intelligence data are very dynamic that is continuously and quickly updated. The sales and marketing intelligence data include context like company reporting structure, decision makers, budgets, financials, company initiatives, year-over-year growth, personal moves, predictive features, and techno graphics (tech stack), everything in almost real-time.

These are also data. But, sales intelligence gets even more intelligent by each day passing, in addition, to easily grow the database. And a lot of marketing, sales, and recruiting professionals don’t know the total amount of data that has changed over the past few years. Continue to read this blog and see how much data has evolved to fuel business functions and drive the revenue in following four core areas;

The Technographics Data

The technographics data should help define and easily identify new opportunities. Good data can solve a lot of business problems. But, in relation to depth and accuracy, sales intelligence goes beyond the basics to build a real competitive advantage. And one of the undervalued and most effective ways of prioritizing sales accounts is by leveraging the technographics data. The technographics data is the collection of software solutions that comprise a company’s total installed technologies. The technographics data includes like operating system, email platform, apps, database, and programming languages.

So, why is technographics data critical to marketing and sales leaders and in the sales cycle, why the sooner the better?

1. Identify Opportunity

Surprisingly, the answer is quite simple. Many companies lack opportunities to sell into an account unless a specific technology is present. Example, a sales representative cannot sell on-premise data center techs to anyone that only uses Amazon Web Services (AWS). You just cannot sell Microsoft Windows accessories into an organization that only uses Apple computers and laptops. Usually, technographics data or lack thereof create or break an opportunity.

2. Targeted Displacement Campaigns

With the help of competitive intelligence, marketers can create targeted displacement campaigns targeting decision makers:

  • Clearly, differentiate your offering from your competition
  • Challenge the value of the current competitor technology in place
  • Launch a targeted email drip campaign to keep your company on top of mind of your prospects
  • Invite decision-makers, key stakeholders, and influencers to an event

3. A Timely Talking Point

Integration with your prospects technographics as well as a competitor’s lack of integration is a great talking point that may just let you close the deal. The absence or presence of technographics is always a great opportunity for sale. And if your offering can be integrated with your prospect’s technographics, it’s not a matter of capability whether a prospect can use your solution: Well, they can and they sure do.

Knowing more about where your competitor solution is installed builds an automatic prospect. Modern sales intelligence providers add data about the technographics of target accounts. These companies have multiple integrations and procedure of collection that profile more than eight million technology pairing in the category of hardware/operating system/system environment/networking, virtualization, security, applications, etc. A true sales intelligence data always includes technographics data.

Intent Data: A must have Competitive Intelligence

Having a complete understanding about your competitors and prospects technographics is very important, but its intent data that enables you to timely outreach.

  • The intent data is almost real-time data about your prospect’s intent like several content downloads on a specific topic or a flurry of web searches.
  • The fit data is the core, basic requirement that is information about the right contact at the right account.
  • The opportunity data informs about favorable conditions like a new CMO or a funding event.

The hallmarks of sales intelligence are the intent and opportunity data that is not a part of standard, raw data offering. The interpretation of implied pain points is intent data and it offers a huge advantage against your competitors that is timing.

The Right Time for Competitive Intelligence

In sales, the core mantra is timing, timing, timing, and timing.

But, in real estate, the core mantra is location, location, location, and location.

And the marketers and sales representative know this very well. So, having access to the perfect prospect and perfect solution means nothing if you don’t have perfect timing as well. One cannot possibly know what exactly keeps an individual target prospect up during the night. But, If you know that your target prospect’s CMO or CFO has left the company recently, which he/she refused to renew a contract with their existing cloud storage partner and that the top web search at his/her company is for “information security”; well, you can now make an educated guess.

Meanwhile, whenever a competitive contract is about to expire, the intent data can inform you about it. The intent data usually contains a certain scale of artificial intelligence (AI) or/and machine learning that may contain an analysis of historical data or some other data to offer context and even more precise predictions. This type of data is like a diamond. The financial timeliness is always a key factor in successfully closing the deals. So, basically, the sales intelligence data is simply a plethora of data that integrates very well with other systems. It enables B2B marketing, sales, and recruiting professionals to make an informed and timely approach to resolve your buyer’s real problem.

Data Quality and Data Management

The horrors of bad data are limitless. And you may not know which phone numbers are wrong or which of the email addresses are more likely to bounce as people frequently change jobs among some other factors. So, let’s take a deep dive into the standard data quality and data management.

How to measure Data Quality

The DAMA UK outlines the following six parameters for data quality;

  • Accuracy: is the data correct?
  • Completeness: is the contact, account, or prospect record are as complete as possible?
  • Validity: Does the data confirm to a common syntax like “ave” vs “avenue”.
  • Uniqueness: Are there any duplicate records? Can the records be combined?
  • Consistency: Is the data presented in a way that is the same as similar records?
  • Timeliness: Is the data fresh? Has it been recently verified?

Although, ensuring the data quality is the responsibility of a data provider, but ultimately the end user is affected and everyone that is involved with this downstream, like the prospects. At the very least, marketers and sales representatives need to know how to reach them, and whom to call. The insight into the potential opportunities is even more valuable like purchase initiative, planned projects, and predictive insights about solutions or topics of interest that informs you who is ready to make a purchase and when.

What is Data Quality and Why it is Important?

One could easily think that a highly motivated sales team can easily execute manual data mining by searching for job titles, company information using LinkedIn or Google. This is a highly fearless undertaking; although, ultimately it is very time-consuming for those whose primary objective is closing business or booking demos.

1. Burned by High Churn

High churn or high employee turnover is a critical part of life the technology and service industry. And the objective of data quality and management is maintaining updated records, so that when the employees move around, quit or are fired, you can dial numbers and send emails with great confidence.

Meanwhile, not only you have to worry about the churn at your target accounts but you need to worry about the churn at your own company. When your sales or marketing teams are working with bad data regularly hitting dead ends, they cannot continue to be excited for long about what they are doing. They will eventually get frustrated by using this bad data and as a result, without helping them to understand their true potential in generating qualified leads or setting up meetings. It is a very cruel cycle that never moves beyond cleaning the bad data.

2. A Sloppy Database is a Waste of Time

How many valuable pieces of information, note, and contacts are in your marketing automation platform or in your CRM? One relies on these to look up contacts, pull contacts, track opportunities, etc. And if the intel available to you is not up to the standard, it will sabotage your results, processes and you are the one who’s paying for it. The most common reason for the failure of your sales and marketing campaigns is usually bad data.

This is a major problem for companies of different types and sizes. These are irrelevant messaging, high bounce rates, and time wasted in calling the wrong phone numbers or the contacts who are no longer employed with your target company. Irrespective of how great is your copy or elevator pitch is, it’s useless if you cannot reach anyone. Bad data is a very slippery slope for the following reasons;

  • Sales representative calls the wrong person or reaches a gatekeeper, where you will get turned away or start the tedious process of calling up the ladder.
  • ROI becomes skewed that is very bad for the decision makers of marketing, those who increasingly track ROI contributed by marketing as their primary KPI.
  • The content has misaligned messaging that is distributed among the wrong audience.

 3. Systematizing Database Hygiene

The data needs to be dynamic. It needs more than just to sit in a database collecting dust. It should easily flow in and out of marketing and sales systems, creating a feedback loop for data. And instead of hindering, it needs to drive your efforts.

Several intelligence platforms easily integrate with other technology in your technographics- your marketing automation tool, CRM, sales development, application tracking systems and more, to make the management of your data even more synergistic and efficient.

Find tools that can automatically sync, enrich, append, and de-dupe data, when new data is available and your database grows. Implementing automation on these functions ensures quality and clean baseline and at the same time save significant time.

4. Data Quality VS Data Quantity

Whom do you want to reach when you are trying to influence someone to consider your product or make a sale? A marketing coordinator or a CMO?  An account executive or a CRO?

Accurate and consistent data can easily be segmented into levels of details that enable you to build a specific personalized message for the prospects that can make buying decisions. And the intelligence data helps you to weed out through the names and then target the decision makers effectively,

making the sales cycle short. So, a large volume of names within a database doesn’t mean much if these contacts lack purchasing power. They are just contributing to making the haystack even larger and making the needles even harder to find.

Lead Generation   

The company growth and acquiring new businesses go hand-in-hand. Many companies have dedicated teams to find new business opportunities. Although, there are several types of lead generation like advertising, social media, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, list-buying, cold calling, attending trade shows, and hosting events among others. A marketing and sales intelligence tools are the best way to find new and quality leads quickly, as well as improving your other lead generation efforts. It comes in very handy when you are trying to maintain a pipeline of leads, all year long. Sales intelligence is important for a consistent pipeline of qualified leads.

Any company cannot rely on inbound leads alone, to grow and succeed. Sales representatives must get on the call, attend events, and find leads from the outbound approach as well. One of the effective ways to find a lot of leads quickly is from trade shows.

Creating an Ideal Customer Profile

The sales and marketing intelligence also molds a precise ideal customer profile (ICP). For many organizations, the ICP is anecdotal or based on the opinions of senior leaders. When you ask a sales leader who do they sell to, they will provide a few job titles and maybe a few industries. They may also have a company size in their mind. And when you ask this question to different sales leaders, they will provide you different answers as the idea of target buyer is not consistent and usually based on gut and feelings, but not data.  So, the sales intelligence enables you to find companies that closely match your ICP, in order to quantify the total addressable market for your offering. And then you can focus your sales and marketing efforts to get the most out of it.

Account-Based Marketing Needs a Good ICP

Any sales and marketing aligned account-based strategy need a good ICP. As a result, the very first step in an account-based strategy is to identify the target accounts to better understand whom you are trying to target, in terms of contacts and accounts. Then you can build a deliberate and thoughtful method for prospecting into your target contacts and accounts.ICP can generally refer to both, the ideal buyer as well as the ideal company.

A traditional ICP consists of the following;

  • Department
  • Function
  • Level
  • Size
  • Industry
  • Location

Sales intelligence layers in the following;

  • Technologies
  • Business model
  • Intent data
  • Ownership

Usually, the door to an account-based strategy opens when an organization reaches a certain maturity level. This is very important to understand properly as many SMEs and startups don’t know much about their target market or industry where their strength and niche are. And eventually, they decide they need to know much more about their target buyers and industry.

But, it is impossible to do without having meaningful data that can prioritize these efforts. One cannot just boil the entire ocean. Instead, one has to start somewhere, and an ICP act as the starting point.

When, Who, and from Where your Prospect Wants to Buy

When you have identified the “who”, and if you have good data, the rest will automatically fall in its place. Like, who is this buyer, and what do they need? What is the most effective messaging for this? What’s the best time to reach them?

Skip the guesswork and skip the tedious research:

You know whom to call

  • The decision makers and key stakeholders

You know what is on their radar

  • A problem that needs to be fixed

You know what to say

  • Address their pain points and any problems they may have

You know how to reach them

  • Their email address or Phone number

And if your prospects can benefit from a little bit more nurturing, your marketing team can send message or collateral that is precise and highly relevant to the challenges faced by your prospects.

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