Salespeople miss out on a huge opportunity when they do not utilize market intelligence. Marketing teams gather a lot of information and social data about the leads they generate, much of which is made available to the sales department to make their jobs a little easier. But it seems utterly pointless collecting this data if nobody actually, well, uses it. And then all that lead intelligence falls to the wayside because no one has explained how it can be applied to the sales process.
When a company can successfully create Sales and Marketing alignment, both teams can work together to improve the process for customer acquisition (lead generation, lead nurturing, lead qualification and sales closing).
So let’s take a look at some of the intelligence Marketing gathers on leads, and explain exactly how it can be used in the sales process.
5 ways salespeople can use market intelligence
1) Know when leads come in and act immediately
Following-up with leads instantly has become an important factor for sales success. The Harvard Business Review discovered that companies that contact prospects within one hour or less are seven times more likely to have a valuable conversation with a decision maker than their less eager counterparts. Intelligence about when and how long leads spend on your site helps sales reps be the “eager” ones in the industry.
First, enabling site return notifications for leads is a simple but vital step toward a quick sales follow-up. But you should also take a look at how long ago a lead was on your site, and on what pages, in order to prioritize your pipeline. For example, if a lead is visiting a product page, you’d want to follow-up with them IMMEDIATELY because they might be ready to talk about a solution! But if they’re browsing through your blog, waiting a half-hour for a lead to scan through your website and read your content is just fine.
2) Take advantage of the information on prospects’ social media profiles
After you identify your prospects on LinkedIn, for example, spend some time familiarizing yourself with them before you get in contact with them. Gathering some insight about a potential buyer can go a long way toward getting the person to respond, taking the time to listen to your pitch, and ultimately buy your product.
Use this information to get a fuller picture in your head of who your prospects are. What are they posting or tweeting about? What is their job history on LinkedIn? What are their skills and areas of expertise?
Read the prospect’s full profile to find out all you can about their interests, likes, dislikes, etc. For example, people may include links to their own websites, blogs, or company websites. Make sure to follow those links, especially to blogs or personal websites, and see what you can find out. In the prospect’s profile, look over the Interests section and the Additional Information section. And don’t forget the Contact Settings section — here’s where you can find out under what circumstances this person wants to be contacted.
What are your prospect’s recommendations for other people? You can discover a lot by seeing what qualities a person likes to compliment about other people. In this way, you also gain insight into the people they trusts, so check those people who received a recommendation to see whether you have a connection to any of them. If so, ask that person first for an introduction to your prospect.
3) Gain insights with landing page form data
The marketing team gathers all that information from leads for a purpose – it gives them insight into potential customers that lets them segment, target communications, and route leads to the appropriate salesperson. Sounds pretty useful for a salesperson too, right?
The goal with landing pages is to collect information to inform sales and marketing strategies. There is a whole range of information it might make sense to collect, which will help marketers personalize their content, inform Sales for future lead nurturing campaigns, and frame future sales conversations.
Imagine taking a look at data of this nature before speaking with a prospect:
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Company name
- No. of employees
- If their company primarily sells to other businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)
- Website URL
- Job role
This information gathered by marketing is incredibly useful in informing future sales conversations.
4) Monitor social media mentions
Social media monitoring is often regarded as a marketing function, but sales teams miss out on big opportunities when they aren’t consistently tracking social media mentions.
Regardless of the size of your business, chances are people are talking about you and your brand via social networks and blogs, so it makes a lot of sense to find out what they’re saying about your brand.
Track mentions for your brand name, product names, competitors, industry influencers, and industry terms. This is a scalable way to locate sales opportunities that Sales and Marketing might otherwise miss if the person mentioning your tracked term either hasn’t been entered into your leads database yet, or hasn’t been rotated to a salesperson yet.
A good place to find how people know and speak of your brand is to look at the keywords and phrases they use to find your website. You can find these metrics in the analytics package you’re using with your website. If you’re not using an analytics package like Google Analytics, Webtrends or Clicky, then brainstorm keywords and phrases that you may have heard clients/customers use in discussions you have had with them. There are a myriad of free brand-monitoring tools to choose from, such as SocialMention, TweetDeck, and Google Email Alert System.
5) Find out which content works
People buy from people they like and trust, so it is important that every sales professional establish themselves as a trusted resource when engaging with prospects. One way of accomplishing this is referring prospects to valuable, educational content that helps solve the business problems that come up during discussions. But content is only effective during the sales process if it truly resonates with prospects. If sales people share just any old content to do with their brand, it’s like firing a gun loaded with blanks. If a sales rep shares content that the prospects doesn’t find relevant or helpful, that sales person will be instantly forgotten about, not even on the buyers radar.
But how do you know you’re passing along the best content? Use the analytics Marketing uses to decide that!
Sort content based on page views and inbound links — two great indicators that others find that content helpful and authoritative. Then begin bookmarking that high-performing evergreen content that addresses the questions you commonly hear during discussions with your prospects. That way, you have all of the resources you need to establish authority with prospects, and you can send them out at the drop of a hat — in real time, even! How great will that make you look?
So there are 5 ways market intelligence and social selling tools can bring valuable intelligence to sales people. Without sharing and utilizing information gathered from marketing, sales people miss out on incredibly useful data that will help them track and understand their prospects better, and ultimately leads to a better sales performance.