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Sales reps can easily lose a successful sale if they don’t have the right tools or framework to work with.

Both market and sales intelligence fall under the umbrella of lead intelligence, which collectively gives comprehensive insights about prospects.

Finding the best prospects goes beyond surface-level details like company name and phone number. Sales professionals also need access to extensive intelligence such as buying signals, reporting structures, and tech stacks. 

When sales teams adapt lead intelligence to selling strategies, they  gain better perspectives of ideal target customers.

Today we’re covering how sales teams can benefit from both sales and market intelligence along the buyer’s journey.


What is Sales Intelligence?

Sales intelligence encompasses data types and tools that give insights on prospective customers, target audiences, and buyer behavior. It’s become such a valuable tool for understanding available markets, pulling prospects, and measuring campaign success.

If you aren’t already using sales intelligence tools for both your sales and marketing teams, you’re missing out on valuable lead generation opportunities..

Since sales intelligence tends to be a broad term, here are some examples of their different forms:

What is Market Intelligence?

Even if you find your right target audience, how do you know if they’ll choose your solution over your competitors? That’s where market intelligence comes in.

Also known as competitive intelligence, market intelligence refers to data that give insights into market trends. From a go-to-market standpoint, it offers users the ability to understand where their solution stands in the current ecosystem and how to adapt them in selling, marketing, or product strategies.

Additionally, sales teams can uncover new opportunities with uncharted leads, industries, and territories. During purchasing meetings, market intelligence helps sales reps show prospects new intel about the buyer’s  business, or competition that they might not know already.

How Can I Optimize Intelligence in the Sales Cycle?

In the B2B realm, sales cycles are much longer, and purchasing decisions involve multiple stakeholders. (This isn’t your average call center sale.) 

Sales reps’ messaging is so much stronger when they have prospect knowledge in their arsenal—they get to dig into the “why”s of purchasing your solution. It’s easier to buy into an offer when it’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Dive into our learning center to read more about prospecting – Sales Prospecting: Strategy Guide, Tools, & Tips

The following is where sales and market intelligence fits within the sales funnel stages:

Pre-Awareness or Available Market Stage – When tackling brand awareness, it’s essential to know who is in your available market. With market intelligence, you can find the right audience fit for your product or service. An enterprise contract with an automation platform is probably out of “Ma and Pa’s Pies”’s league.

Awareness & Discovery Stage – At this point, prospects in your target market are experiencing pain points and searching for a digital solution. 

With sales intelligence tools, your marketing team can identify who’s engaging with your brand, such as visiting your digital channels. This is typically when marketing teams determine if these visitors qualify as marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

Negotiation and Solution Comparison Stage – After marketing gives their stamp of approval for being a potential customer, they’re handed off to sales. The sales team then qualifies those leads as sales qualified leads (SQLs). 

If they’re a good fit, this is when lead intelligence really shines. 

Market intelligence helps you figure out how your solution stacks up to other solutions your prospect is considering. Sales intelligence then provides vital details on why and how the lead will buy your solution. 

Purchasing Stage – At this critical stage of the buying process, your prospect is inches away from saying yes to your product. Sales intelligence gives you that last boost to gather details for appealing to buyer groups.

Market intelligence can also help in this stage by providing qualitative data to prove how your solution fits their operation. 

Post-purchasing Stage – Congratulations! Your prospect has signed the contract, and they’re officially your customer. But the work isn’t completely done—you still have to worry about customer retention.

Continuously gathering sales intelligence on existing customers, along with market intelligence from competitors, helps you build valuable customer loyalty.

Features for Market Intelligence and Sales Intelligence Tools

The most important lead intelligence features to look out for include up-to-date and accurate data—firmographic and technographic. The following should also be included in your sales and market intelligence tools:

  • Integration with current data tools
  • Advanced analytics for in-depth reporting
  • Buyer behavior pattern analyzing
  • Automatic refreshing of data points
  • Data verification (to combat dirty data)

The Next Steps in Intelligence-Driven Sales Cycles

For a successful sale to happen, your reps need to know the finer details about prospective customers. That includes who’s interested in your product or service, who has the budget for a long-term contract, who makes the buying decisions, and how your offering will improve their daily operations. 

And after the initial sale, there are still upsells, renewals, and cross-sells to consider.

So take the time to go over your current intelligence tools—are you getting both sales and market insights? With diversified information, your sales reps will have all that they need for a faster deal close.

About the author

Rayana Barnes

Rayana Barnes is the Creative Content Specialist at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact database and sales intelligence solution for go-to-market teams.

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B2B marketing, growth, sales and more.


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