What is Revenue Intelligence? Using AI to drive actionable insights

Posted September 30, 2021

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By Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices at Outreach

Most sales organizations today have a bevy of tools to help them collect, analyze, and report on key data. They know the importance of that data for managing their pipeline, providing excellent sales interactions, and closing the deal.

But siloed information and processes often hinder sales, marketing, and customer success teams across the organization. Disparate tools and data sprawl can make it nearly impossible to gain visibility into the health of sales pipeline and deals, and reps struggle to find accurate, holistic, and actionable sales data from their CRM.

Without a strong, data-driven practice for pulling together key sales insights (and the proper tools to support that practice), both businesses and customers alike face some major challenges. The quantity and quality of data your teams use can make or break your revenue teams’ success.

In fact, according to Gartner, “Data quality poses major challenges to improving commercial performance,” while Forrester identifies the top three challenges CRM professionals face as creating a single view of customer data, providing customer insights, and managing data quality.

Enter revenue intelligence, which aims to solve the challenge of sales as an art vs. a science. With the goal of providing total transparency into pipeline health, generating accurate reports, and identifying areas for performance improvement, today’s organizations simply shouldn’t ignore the power of revenue intelligence.

What is Revenue Intelligence?

Revenue intelligence is the practice of collecting and analyzing key sales data to glean crucial insights such as performance, trends, and opportunities—all of which help to drive revenue.

This can sound like an uphill battle, particularly for businesses that still rely on manual data collection or struggle to integrate their sales and marketing teams using separate tools and processes. That’s why revenue intelligence leans heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which enable modern software solutions to seamlessly capture and analyze data from billions of sales activities in one succinct place. 

In the same way that conversation intelligence combines sales enablement and advanced automation to increase rep efficiency, revenue intelligence uses sales data, AI, and ML to identify trends and gaps in revenue functions.

Successful sales organizations have already begun investing in revenue intelligence software, which automates the process of gathering and leveraging CRM data. This includes sales call data, site analytics, opportunity data, and buyer sentiment signals. In other words, revenue intelligence automates the collective wisdom and insights of sellers who use the platform.

By implementing a revenue intelligence practice backed by powerful technology, sales teams can gain total transparency into the health of their pipeline and provide accurate reporting of deals and quota to leadership. In turn, this helps drive accurate forecasting and empower leaders to identify new, reliable growth strategies. 

Revenue intelligence thus plays a critical role in revenue operations (RevOps). As RevOps managers strive to coordinate an organization’s revenue teams (i.e. marketing, sales, and customer success), revenue intelligence arms them with all the essential data. The right software enables them to:

  • View historical trends and point-in-time performance
  • Model scenarios and set goals
  • Automate data analysis so they can better focus on identifying and fixing problems

The resulting alignment of data leads to more accurate strategic planning, more efficient processes, and, ultimately, higher revenue.

What Challenges Does Revenue Intelligence Solve?

As the art of sales continues to change, so do the challenges that surround running successful revenue teams. The traditional practice of identifying a customer need, creating a product or service to meet that need, and selling to those customers is no longer enough. Today’s global sales landscape is much more competitive.

Organizations must keep up with technology innovations, the ever-changing expectations of customers, and each sales activity that affects the bottom line. But this can be a complex task, especially for teams who don’t have the right data in their corner.

Senior sales leaders, for example, have come to rely on the “art of forecasting” in lieu of a more scientific approach. They often incorrectly forecast because they lack the data required to accurately commit their number.

Instead, they’re forced to apply judgement in the form of an educated guess — based on past experience — because they don’t know what is actually happening within their deals or what actions they can take to improve outcomes. Sellers and first-line sales managers, meanwhile, must review each deal to determine whether or not it should be included in the forecast.

As we examine the current state and future of sales, it’s important to note that organizations that fail to leverage the power of data will likely be left behind. Competitive businesses know that the solutions to both day-to-day and overarching challenges can be found in the billions of data points garnered from each and every sales activity and interaction.

Revenue intelligence provides a distinct advantage. The focus on using that data to drive better insights ameliorates those sales pain points for more than just the reps. In fact, revenue intelligence software benefits a variety of key stakeholders:

  • Sales managers can more easily and accurately manage team and individual rep performance and develop rollup forecasts for leadership. They’re backed by the information, insights, and answers required to drive higher revenue attainment across every team member.
  • RevOps managers can view historical trends and point-in-time performance for enhanced scenario modeling and goal-setting. Robust solutions even automate data analysis so they can focus on identifying and fixing problems in process and alignment.
  • Revenue leaders can view bottom-up forecasts, identify the most important deals, and compare team performance against goals. They’re able to accurately forecast to drive business growth.

At the crux, revenue intelligence and revenue intelligence software increase efficiency, predictability, and growth through data, providing myriad benefits to organizations who invest in their implementation.

Leveraging Revenue Intelligence for Success

It’s no secret that organizations need the power of critical data in their back pocket to survive. But to truly thrive in today’s competitive marketplace requires strong practices and solutions that help businesses get the most of that data.

A lack of visibility into your pipeline health, inaccurate reporting, and missed opportunities for improvement can threaten your revenue teams’ ability to succeed. But revenue intelligence and revenue intelligence software have and will continue to pave the way for overcoming these obstacles, solidifying their place as a necessity in the sales world.

Sales Forecast Examples: How to Commit with Confidence

The traditional approach to pipeline management and sales forecasting is filled with gaps, particularly for teams who use disparate systems and processes to manage the revenue cycle. Without a consolidated view of pipeline health and buyer insights, revenue leaders must guess their forecast, so they are perpetually at risk of surprise outcomes. They have dozens of dashboards, but they’re not sure they can trust the data. Instead, they are forced to rely on the gut intuitions of their whole team to inform their forecasting models.

But with a single, unified platform for support, forecasting can shift from a critical gap to a seamless, highly-valuable component of your business. Outreach's forecasting delivers real-time pipeline data and buyer engagement signals to bring science to the art of forecasting, enabling revenue leaders to go from guessing the future to changing it with recommended actions.

More Forecasting Resources for Sales and RevOps Teams

Today’s shifting economy means revenue leaders have to do more with fewer resources. So how do you deliver on lofty revenue targets while also reducing costs? It starts with more efficient forecasting processes. Instead of spending anxious hours on manual forecasts, modern revenue leaders are embracing ways to save time and refocus their energy on growing revenue. For Outreach's top resources on forecasting efficiency, download the free content bundle: Your Road to Forecasting Efficiency.


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