Sales Data vs. Sales Intelligence – You decide.

How many times when you were growing up did you hear the old adage;  “The more you know the farther you will go”?  Or how about the saying  that “Knowledge is Power”?

Given that we are in the information age, these sayings are never more accurate than they are today,  especially in the sales game.  For without knowledge a sales person is powerless; or at the very least inefficient.

Sales people today are asked, and more often than not, expected to do more work than ever before. Gone are the days of sales secretaries and qualified leads. Today, sales people are expected to find, target, qualify and sell to clients that are more informed than ever before. Big or small, most organizations attempt to provide Sales Data on the ideal client to their sales people. But is it enough with today’s sophisticated  buyers?

Sales Data generally refers to the quantifiable facts and figures about prospects. This data usually includes such nuggets of information as company size (employees & revenues) and contact details (name, address, phone number, etc.). It might also include any purchase history made from yours or your competitors company. This information is usually assembled from a variety of sources including any available internal data and from external data that was, most likely, purchased from different sources. It is then compiled and assembled into some sort of sales tool or contact management program and presented to the sales organization as the be all, end all solution for the sales and sales management process.  In reality, this compilation of data amounts to nothing more than a series of lists. Hence the sales term, “List Management”. It’s the equivalent of a glorified phonebook and it is very inefficient and highly ineffective for most sales organizations today.

Sales Intelligence, on the other hand, goes beyond the basic contact and financial data about a prospective client to provide timely, relevant, and accurate business insights. Sales Intelligence works as a filter of all that data,  providing sales reps exactly what they need to know to sell to today’s sophisticated buyers. Sales Intelligence provides the who, what, when, where and why about the organization. It provides the business, and more importantly, the social intelligence required to successfully interact with the individuals and their organizations.  Bottom line, Sales Intelligence allows you to leverage information to gain a better overall understanding of the client. In most cases, it allows for a “real time” view of the organization.

As a sales person, would you rather spend time sorting through a huge database of mundane data or use sales intelligence that shows you exactly what you need to know to secure more business?

Knowledge is power right?

Feel free to share your thoughts and insight on the topic in the comments section.

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Categories: Sales, Technology

3 replies

  1. Great post Bruce. There is too much confusion, with too many people thinking basic data scaped from the web is insight and, more importantly intelligence.

    Sales data is important, getting basic contact information, company information, financial, competitive information is important to sales people–but it is not intelligence.

    To me, sales intelligence has an analytic component to it–even more refined an analytic component tied to specific things important to the sales person. Things like propensity to buy, being able to identify the right customer, right time, right information, right offer is critical. The fact that my “Amazon” experience is different than yours, because we have differing buying/browsing histories (yeah I know mine always pops up with trashy novels).

    Data and intelligence are important, but different. Intelligence is where the real leverage is.

    Thanks for a great post! Regards, Dave

  2. Great piece, Bruce. Agreed, there is a huge difference between Sales Data and Sales Intelligence, and your post is spot on. We also wrote about this in our sales intelligence series. Let us know what you think:
    http://www.lattice-engines.com/blog/sales-intelligence-how-reps-find-insight-in-customer-data-part-4/

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  1. Increase Sales Productivity with Sales Intelligence « Continuous Innovation . . . Continuous Improvement

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