We might be beating a dead horse here. . . but if you haven’t heard, the B2B buying process has changed and cold calling and buying lists has gone the way of the fax machine. Buyers are now, more than ever, in control of the buying process. As salespeople, we are now relegated to the second part of the sales process, which starts about 65 - 90% of the way through the buying process when a salesperson or a company is contacted. This signals a scary time for anyone that is involved in selling, if your sales teams have not added lead intelligence to their tool kits.
The good news for media sellers and other salespeople that is there is also more information than ever before available about what your prospects are doing online that can be used within the sales process. Several years ago, Forrester published a blog that discussed how companies involved in the B2B sales process can modify their sales tactics and approaches based upon the behavior of prospects. This sounds intuitive, but in reality, modifying your sales tactics and approaches in real time is only possible with sophisticated lead nurturing and lead intelligence. Lead intelligence software includes sophisticated workflows that can trigger emails when someone is looking at your pricing or service page (or notify a salesperson in charge of that revenue stream) or even use lead scoring to trigger notifications to salespeople and emails to prospects when a prospect reaches a specific lead score.
Believe it or not, while I was writing this blog post I just received an alert that a prospect that I thought had gone dark after I sent him a proposal had just returned to our website and viewed the pricing page. I had almost given up on this deal and scratched it off my pipeline. Without this lead intelligence and knowing that the prospect was possibly still interested, I probably would have given up.
Do You Have a Smart or a Dumb Sales Team?
Do you receive notifications via email, text message, or pop-up notification when your sales teams’ leads come back to your website? (We specifically reference “your sales teams’ leads” because we feel strongly that these lead intelligence tools need to be institutionalized company wide and not just used by rogue or technically savvy salespeople looking to gain a technical advantage. The benefits of lead intelligence are exponential when used across an entire company rather than just by one or two salespeople.) Sales managers are now faced with the decision to either make their sales team a “smart” sales team and provide them with modern sales tools like lead intelligence and sales enablement tools, or choose to stick with what they have done in the past, possibly falling behind their competitors.
Why is Lead Intelligence So Important in the Sales Process?
As the balance of power within the sales process has moved from the salesperson to the prospect and more information (including pricing and knowledge of competitive goods and services) is available online than ever before, it’s important for your sales team to know as much as they can about prospects.
A list of things you COULD know about your prospects if you were using lead intelligence include:
seeing which pages of your website a prospect is looking at
knowing if your prospects are opening your emails, and when
if your prospects are on social media, and which channels
knowing when the best time to contact them is
delivering emails to your contacts when they are most likely to open
calculating lead scoring based on custom criteria
receiving notifications when a prospect comes back to your website
triggering automated workflow email that gets delivered to prospects when they visit your pricing page
This is information that’s available when you are using sales enablement tools or sophisticated inbound marketing software like HubSpot, Marketo, or InfusionSoft, and make your sales teams much smarter than they could ever be without this technology. It’s really not a hard decision when you think about everything your team has to gain from using lead intelligence tools vs what you miss out on by not using them.
If you are not convinced by now that lead intelligence should be part of the “modern” salesperson’s tool kit, we have one last question to ask. Are you comfortable not knowing what your prospects are doing on your website? Are you okay with your competitors’ sales teams having access to that type of lead intelligence and information?
If you don’t know where to get started, we recommend a few resources to help get you started: