Sales Best Practices

Increase Your Outbound Sales Part 2: Prospect Intelligently

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Audrey Weber

Associate Content Editor

Missing something? Read Increase Your Outbound Sales Part 1: Build A Hunter Culture.

In outbound sales, it takes brain more than brawn to engage prospects and close deals. The spray-and-pray strategy may get some replies, but it is a waste of valuable time and resources. You can, in theory, build pipeline by spamming every email on an event list or every executive on LinkedIn, but 99% of those leads won’t convert to customers. As we learned recently, aggressive sales emails may get more total replies, but a targeted, helpful, consultative approach will get more positive replies.

Time spent on gathering intel and money spent on time-saving software have guaranteed ROI. The most effective outbound sales strategies leverage sales intelligence and sales engagement technology to target specific accounts and personas, and to hyper-personalize messaging to the individual needs of the prospects.

What is sales intelligence?

Sales intelligence helps you cut through the noise to prospect more efficiently and effectively. Generally speaking, sales intelligence is all the available information you can use to connect with prospects in a meaningful, actionable way. It helps you build a deeper understanding of your target customers’ goals, needs, and pain points, enabling you to do more with less and sell with greater success.

With outbound sales intel, you can turn cold prospects into warm opportunities by discovering how your product or service solves their specific problems and also how it fits into their current systems. It is the key to every stage in your sales process and it opens up doors for expansive growth.

Applications for outbound sales

Just like your outbound sales process, you structure sales intelligence as a funnel, from more general to more specific:

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Sales intelligence is broken down into 4 categories: industry, company, prospect, and contact intelligence.

  • At the top: Industry Intelligence. Research and get to know the ins and outs of the industry you’re selling into. You also may want to assign outbound sales reps by industry.
  • Then, for each target company in the industry do Company Intelligence recon to asses fit, needs, news, history, and competitors. You’re already doing this if you do Account-Based Marketing.
  • Next up: Prospect Intelligence. Define clear customer personas based on job titles. Then for each individual prospect, stalk them (only online, please) to understand who they are and what matters to them.
  • Finally, find their work email and/or phone number and personalize your messaging in your outreach - this is Contact Intelligence.

Here are some quick tips for adding sales intelligence to your sales process:

  1. Do your research. If this sounds like too much work (ain’t nobody got time for all that Googling), considering hiring a team of researchers as SmartRecruiters did.
  2. Leverage your prospects’ social presence and current news about their companies and competitors to engage them.
  3. Configure sales software to automatically gather and generate data related to social feeds, corporate news, and relevant personal/professional updates for your each of your target accounts and prospects.

Learn the do's and don'ts of sales intelligence

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Using technology to turn intelligence into results

You need technology to use all that lovely sales intelligence data at scale. Even the simplest outbound sales automation software frees up sales reps from tedious tasks and lets them focus value-generating conversations. The more powerful Sales Engagement Platforms accelerate the sales process by empowering sellers with analytical, personalization, and prioritization tools that enhance and scale the impact of their sales communications and activities across all channels.

Using Outreach, the data analytics and visualization company Neo4j built a successful sales program from scratch on a shoestring budget and achieved above-industry performance. They created a program from zero sales to full execution, delivering an 18% cold contact reply rate, a reduction in email creation time from 10 minutes to zero, and a fivefold increase in transitioning cold leads to opportunities.

Sales intelligence data is like gas for your Sales Engagement Platform Maserati. Combined, they help you make connections and personalize your messaging, zooming you past your outbound sales goals.

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