(Part one of a two-part series)

In the recently published Forrester Landscape report, we define B2B sales intelligence as:

Solutions that offer data, insights, and data management services to optimize sales efficiency and effectiveness. Companies use sales intelligence vendors to augment and enhance sales data about markets, accounts, prospects, buying groups, and contacts. Insights delivered by these solutions help salespeople detect, identify, and respond to buyer activity, resulting in increased win rates for acquisition, retention, cross-sell, and upsell.

This is a radical evolution from just a few years ago, when sales “intelligence” was often a simple list of contact information purchased from a third-party provider, sometimes with questionable accuracy or relevance. Sales intelligence is now a mature market that helps sales organizations:

  • Enrich and update sales data. B2B sales organizations rely on accurate, current, and complete data about prospects, customers, and contacts as a foundation for prospecting and informing customer interactions. Sales intelligence vendors can reduce the errors and time associated with manual data entry and automate maintenance of account-related data (e.g., account hierarchy, business units, subsidiaries), while supporting compliance with relevant privacy regulations and policies.
  • Increase account and contact insights. Identifying and focusing on high-potential accounts and associated opportunities is a critical component of sales efficiency. Sales intelligence vendors can supply AI-derived insights and alerts based on events (e.g., mergers, acquisitions, announcements) or activities (e.g., website visits, event attendance, self-guided interactions) that indicate potential buying motions or opportunities to engage with decision-makers.
  • Capture and activate buying group intelligence. Sales reps must identify, understand, and address the needs of all members of a buying group to consistently acquire, retain, and grow customers. Sales intelligence vendors can capture and present all interactions across the B2B Revenue Waterfall™ for the entire buying group, uncover relationships and connections that can be leveraged, and surfaces alerts that prompt sales action.

Buyers of B2B sales intelligence providers should look beyond data quantity or market coverage. Instead, start by carefully defining your primary use cases. Use cases may include enriching contact and account data, enhancing sales data management and hygiene, surfacing behavioral and intent signals, improving prospecting efforts, and supporting privacy compliance. Once you have your use cases defined, you can evaluate both existing and potential providers to determine which ones best meet your needs.