Sales Intelligence: Best Strategies & Tools to use in 2024

Achieving success in sales today is all about having the correct data. 

One study showed that bad data can end up wasting 27.3% of a sales reps time and end up costing the business $20,000 annually. 

That’s where sales intelligence comes in. 

With sales intelligence (SI), you can personalize communication as soon as possible to show potential customers you can fulfill their needs. It also lets you uncover growth opportunities, expedite deal closures, and cater to buyer expectations.

So, let’s see how you can streamline your sales processes with the help of sales intelligence!

sales intelligence

What is Sales Intelligence?

Sales intelligence refers to the usage and application of data, analytics, metrics, and insights to enhance sales processes and strategies. For example, it may include information about markets, prospects, and existing customers. 

The ultimate goal is to turn raw data into actionable insights so that sales reps can close more deals.

Sales intelligence can -

  • predict customer behavior
  • identify emerging market trends
  • suggest the best next action for sales reps

With technological advancements not showing any signs of slowing down, more sophisticated sales tools becoming available, artificial intelligence becoming more prominent, and CRM systems such as Salesforce CRM Analytics and other software becoming more prevalent, the ability to store and analyze massive amounts of data is becoming easier and easier.

Sales Intelligence allows you to sift through this data wherever it is. Data Bridge Market Research predicts the global sales intelligence market to reach $7,190.40 million by 2030, up from $2,831.22 million in 2022.

sales intelligence solution

The most valuable information to your sales conversations may be from phone calls. There are Sales Intelligence tools like Gong that can help you gather that information. Or perhaps the most valuable data comes from your sales team’s interactions with customers in the field - sales tools like Badger Maps can help you gather information from directly from your customers in the field.

Looking for a smarter way to sell? Check out this guide that provides you with 6 ways to improve your sales performance with Badger Maps!

Sales Intelligence Isn’t Business Intelligence

Despite their differences, it’s simple to mix up business and sales knowledge. Let’s make it clear. Business intelligence (BI) provides a broader view of the company data, such as overall market trends.

On the other hand, sales intelligence focuses on smaller business decisions, such as which sales prospect in the pipeline is most likely to sign a contract next month.  

It relies on sales intelligence tools. These tools can recognize buying signals and recommend customized communication strategies for individual leads. Unlike generic BI tools, they can offer advanced depth and detail.

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Artificial Intelligence in Sales Intelligence: What Role Does it Play?

Do you want to have a precision that only data-driven sales can offer you? Artificial intelligence is now having a massive say in sales processes. It adds value by automating and enhancing manual operations that salespeople previously did by hand such as -

  • sifting through mountains of data
  • picking out patterns and insights
  • suggesting products that potential customers might be interested in
  • creating more personalized pitches that hit the mark
  • predicting buying behavior
  • identifying potential churn risks

Using artificial intelligence tools in sales can allow you to analyze email responses from your prospects, measuring the open rate and their sentiments. With this knowledge, you can better target your follow-up and improve the likelihood of closing a deal.

AI can also recognize patterns such as a rising interest in a specific feature of a product. Equipped with this information, you can modify your approach by emphasizing this characteristic more in your sales pitches.

There’s nothing worse than a lousy sales pitch. Listen to this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with sales trainer Tim Wackel who teaches you how to craft a compelling sales presentation!

Key Components of Sales Intelligence

sales intelligence tools

Let’s stop and ponder: Where may your business collect information? The sources are vast, ranging from social media to customer feedback. Here is a detailed list of potential data goldmines:

  • CRM systems (customer interactions, sales progress, and history);
  • Social media and online presence (what prospects do on social networks, forums, and your website);
  • Market research (surveys, industry reports, and market analysis);
  • Sales analytics tools like Google Analytics (website traffic and customer online behavior analysis);
  • Direct customer feedback (interactions, feedback forms, customer support engagements).

To make sense of these insights, you need to find the best sales intelligence software that will suit your business needs. You may choose one of the following types of solutions:

  • Comprehensive platforms (e.g., Salesforce, HubSpot): They provide a wide range of features, including customer relationship management, email marketing, and lead tracking. But don’t make quick decisions. Do you need all the in-built features? Sometimes, you don’t, but you have to purchase them as part of the tool. Plus, they can be complex and expensive, which small businesses should consider.
  • Specialized tools (e.g., LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Badger Maps ZoomInfo): These are more narrow-focused with certain features like enhanced B2B contact data, route optimization or social selling capabilities. They are perfect for particular tasks but not as versatile as the all-in-ones.
  • AI-powered tools (e.g., Clari): They examine emails and phone conversations to offer insights into client relations and sales efficiency. Yet, they perform at their best with substantial data and require integration with other sales tools.

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Benefits of Sales Intelligence for Outside Sales Teams

To help businesses make better decisions, sales intelligence software gathers and evaluates data from a range of sources and transforms it into valuable insights. Let’s take a look at the benefits for outside sales teams.

Enhancing Lead Generation and Qualification

Intelligent sales depend on the ability of sales intelligence tools to provide continuously updated and reliable data. That’s how outside sales teams can access the latest contact details, company changes, and market conditions to build comprehensive profiles of their prospects. This dynamic data can come from both first-party and third-party providers. 

Accurate contact data allows reps to keep up with the fast-paced changes in their prospects’ professional lives. So, missing opportunities due to outdated information is out of the question. For instance, if the main decision-maker in a company you’re tracking gets promoted, you’ll know about it instantly. You get the information about who is who to direct your effort to the key players.

Streamlining Prospecting and Targeting with Intent Data

Sales intelligence finds the ideal clients and builds lookalike profiles to speed up the prospecting stage. That’s where we need to mention intent data.

It’s a crucial component of sales intelligence, showing when a prospect is actively seeking solutions. It helps sales representatives target their outreach more effectively as they’re talking to the most interested leads. That is, they’re already halfway through the door.

This approach to selling streamlines prospecting and creates a direct line to revenue growth.

Discover how top sales leaders such as John Barrows, Colleen Stanley, and Mark Hunter drive revenue with their top sales growth strategies!

Clear Visualization for Informed Decisions

The better you can visualize your activities, the more you can understand where you’re heading and how to get to the desired destination.  

Suppose you discovered that 40% of your leads come from a specific industry. CRM integration, lead management, and data visualization features included in the best sales intelligence tools can help you zero in on this segment, making informed decisions quickly and effectively. This means you can see your progress, understand customers, and tweak strategies in a snap.

Automating Manual Tasks

Many sales reps dream of reducing the time spent on report generation and other arduous activities by 50%. With automated sales intelligence, it’s no longer a problem. 

The thing is that most tedious tasks, like data entry, take almost half of the working day but can be easily automated with sales intelligence solutions. Sales intelligence automation takes care of these duties, allowing reps to spend more time where it counts and what they can do better than machines: engaging with customers.

Real-time Insights

With real-time insights, you can take appropriate action when needed. Let’s assume there is a spike in website activity on a product page. Sales intelligence can notify you to follow up while the product is still at the top of the prospect’s mind. It gives you details about things like:

  • the prospects’ qualifications
  • who is in the market to buy
  • who is just browsing
  • when it would be best to step in

Such a level of detail allows for creating personalized experiences that align with leads’ current requirements and interests. You get the data in one place in an easy-to-consume format.

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Where Can You Apply Sales Intelligence?

The kind of sales intelligence software and technologies will depend on the needs of your sales team. There are countless uses for SI, but these are the ones you should be fully aware of.

Forecasting and Trend Analysis with Predictive Sales Intelligence

The term predictive sales intelligence describes any sales analytics that helps businesses anticipate consumer behavior and take advantage of behavioral opportunities. This is where artificial intelligence and machine learning take center stage, analyzing past sales data and present market patterns.

Predictive analytics is probably the most crucial element of any SI tool. 

For example, it can identify when a specific market segment is becoming increasingly active or whether demand for a given product is rising. Thus allowing you to make proactive adjustments to your tactics.

Email Analysis and Engagement Tracking

While not every email is effective, sales intelligence helps identify the ones that are. It assists you in optimizing email marketing by analyzing opens, clicks, and engagements, for example:

  • how long someone spends reading an email
  • whether they sent it into trash, to name a few

As such, the analysis goes beyond simply monitoring who opens your emails and clicks on links. It involves examining how potential customers respond to emails and using that data to improve your strategy.

Check out this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with Tyler Carlson to discover how you can generate more leads with AI powered email campaigns!

Lead scoring

Lastly, lead scoring/qualifying. The tool assigns a score to leads according to predetermined standards. These are straightforward, obvious characteristics that a fast Google search can reveal, such as:

  • job title
  • position
  • seniority level in the role
  • industry experience
  • company size, location, and revenue

This capability lets you automatically determine the leads with the most promise. The higher the score, the more chances of them buying from you there are.

Effective lead scoring saves you time and boosts income by ensuring that the leads your team is pursuing are the most likely to convert. It’s handy when the time and capabilities of your team members are restricted. SI brings the most lucrative deals to light.

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Choosing the Right Sales Intelligence Tool

When you’re picking a sales intelligence tool, think of it as choosing a new member of your team. You want someone (or something) who’s not just skilled but also a perfect fit for your team’s style and goals. Let’s walk through how to make this crucial choice.

What a Sales Intelligence Solution Should Include

  • Ease of integration: It should play nice with what you already have. If it demands you change all the systems, it’s asking too much.
  • Data accuracy and breadth: The tool should provide not just a lot of data but the right kind of sales intelligence data – accurate, up-to-date, and relevant.
  • User-friendliness: If it takes a Ph.D. to figure it out, it’s not the one. Your team needs to be able to get up and running fast.
  • Customization and scalability: It should grow with you and adapt to changing needs.
  • Support and training: Good tech support can be a lifesaver, especially in crunch times.

6 Best Sales Intelligence Software


Category: CRM Platform

Key Features: Lead management, customizable dashboards, contact management

Pricing: Starter - $ 25/user/month, Professional - $ 80/user/month, Enterprise - $165/user/month, Unlimited - $ 330/user/month

Capterra Rating: 4.4/5

Get it: iOS | Android   

Salesforce is one of the best CRM platforms on the market, offering the tools needed to track leads from inception to closure, providing you with comprehensive insights into both your performance and the needs and desires of your customers

Sales Hub by HubSpot

Category: CRM Platform/ Inbound Marketing Suite

Key Features: Lead management, account management, email marketing

Pricing: Starter – $50/mo, Professional – $500/mo, Enterprise – $1,200/mo

Capterra Rating: 4.4/5

Get it: iOS | Android   

HubSpot's CRM aligns marketing and sales teams creating an all-in-one platform that leverages sales intelligence for nurturing leads and driving conversions. HubSpot is famous for its ease of use and has a modern, appealing interface for first-time users. 

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Badger Maps

Category: Field Sales Enablement Suite

Key Features: Mapping, Routing, Lead Generation, Field Data Collection, Integration with CRM systems

Pricing: Starts at $58/user/month

Capterra Rating: 4.6/5

Get it: iOS | Android  

Badger Maps is a mapping and routing tool that can streamline your entire sales process and on average, sales teams who use Badger Maps sell 22% more and drive 20% less!

Badger Maps can integrate with your CRM platform, allowing you to keep all of your data in sync and up-to-date across all devices. You can access and update this information in real-time from the field.

Drive 20% Less. Sell 20% More.

Category: Business Data Provider

Key Features: Prospect Data, Business Data Research Segmentation and filtering, professional networking

Pricing: Starts at $99/month

Capterra Rating: 4.6/5

Get it: iOS | Android  

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the leading sales intelligence tools as LinkedIn boasts over 900 million accounts. With features like lead recommendations and advanced search filters, Sales Navigator allows you to find new leads and nurture existing relationships more intelligently. 

You can easily identify and target key decision-makers within your target industries and companies.

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Category: Business Data Provider

Key Features: Prospect Data (email, and phone number), Lead scoring and enrichment, targeted outreach

Pricing: Pricing available upon request 

Capterra Rating: 4.1/5

Get it: iOS | Android

ZoomInfo has a massive database that includes 1.3 billion company profiles and over 600 million professionals, including verified contact information. This info can be a goldmine for you, allowing you to access  data from various sources, including company websites, news articles, and social media profiles, to create accurate and up-to-date profiles of businesses and decision-makers.


Category: Revenue & Sales Engagement Platform

Key Features: Sales engagement, activity capture, campaign automation

Pricing: Pricing available upon request 

Capterra Rating: 4.5/5

Clari is another great sales intelligence tool that includes features such as predictive analytics, deal scoring, forecasting automation,  and activity tracking. Real-time insights enables sales teams to prioritize their efforts, identify risks and opportunities, and ultimately drive better outcomes. 

Making an Informed Decision for Intelligent Sales

So, are you ready to commit to a certain sales intelligence tool? Take your time. It’s your long-term partner, so it’s better to test the waters with a free trial or demo.

Remember that it’s not about pricing alone. Check whether the system is geared toward business growth and can support complicated requirements. Look for transparency in pricing to avoid any unexpected costs along the way.

To Sum Up

We’ve looked at sales intelligence from all angles, including its applications and tools. Now, let’s highlight the major takeaways from this guide:

  • Sales intelligence is more than data; it’s actionable insights about when and how to interact with leads.
  • Tailored strategies win, so analyze trends and identify decision-makers to step in with the right offer.
  • Automated sales intelligence frees up time usually spent on data analysis and report generation and lets you sell, not drown in boring tasks.
  • Sales intelligence tools help you forecast trends and anticipate market shifts, keeping you one step ahead of the curve.

So, if you’re still considering whether to adopt sales intelligence, look at it from this perspective. Time is ticking, and your competitors may have already invested in understanding the market and customers better. The quicker you purchase a sales intelligence tool, the sooner it pays off.

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Author Bio: Kate Parish is the chief marketing officer at Onilab, a full-service eCommerce agency with a focus on Magento.

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