How to Time Your Sales Outreach with Opportunity Data

“Let’s be real here,” says Brandon Battey, our Manager of Sales Development. “No sales team can touch every single account in their addressable market at once. In fact, you’re usually touching a very small fraction at a time, and doing your best. Maximizing and optimizing who you’re touching is a big deal, because that’s all you’ll get.”

Opportunity data is an emerging type of sales intelligence that goes beyond the demographic and firmographic basics, to address the timing of sales outreach.

A recent study by DiscoverOrg found that 84% of companies say Opportunity data is “very effective” at predicting a sale … but just 29% of organizations use it.

Since so much of the sales process centers on improving the odds of getting in front of the right person at the right time – it’s easy to see how insight into key buying signals can improve your odds. A lot.

Opportunity data

This focus on Opportunity data is the second of a 3-part series about predictive data, that will include Fit, Opportunity, and Intent data – the trifecta of predictive purchase data in the B2B sales and marketing space.

Read Part 1: What is “Fit” Data – and Why is it so Important for an Ideal Customer Profile

What is Opportunity data?

“Opportunity” data simply means favorable conditions. Context. These are action-based signals indicating the time is right for a purchase, such as leadership changes and funding events.

We associate these sorts of “trigger” events with buying opportunities, because budgets and priorities are changing, and new people are anxious to make their mark. (To wit: 25% of new CIOs will spend over $1 million in the first six months of tenure and 71% of those will do so in the first 3 months.)

There's not magic ball for salesWe identify Opportunity data as:

  • Company Awards
  • Company Events
  • Day of Week
  • Earnings
  • Employee Departures
  • Funding
  • Hiring Plans
  • Holidays
  • Initial Public Offerings (IPO)
  • Layoffs
  • Leadership Changes
  • Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  • Newly Hired Employees
  • News Mentions
  • Open Positions
  • Pain Points
  • Partnerships
  • Press Releases
  • Product Launches
  • Projects / Purchase Initiatives
  • Promotions
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Time of Day

Timing: Why Opportunity data is important for sales outreach

Sometimes a prospect stumbles upon a solution at exactly the moment they need it – but you can’t count on that as a sales strategy!

You already know the importance of having your ducks in a row when your marketing or sales team reaches out to a prospect: understanding their pain points, a personalized message, sales collateral that speaks to the benefit of your product as it relates to them.

But how often have you heard: “It’s just not the right time”?

DiscoverOrg Sales Intelligence | Scoops

That may be a smokescreen for another underlying issue the buyer has, or it might be a legitimate objection. But when sales takes a stab at timing based on their gut or ambition, the buyer’s response is uncertain.

“Bad timing is the worst one you can hear!” says Brandon Battey. “It’s a true reason, rather than an objection – you just have to move on. Imagine a world where most of the companies you reach out to don’t say that!

“When companies are experiencing growth, all that new human capital needs to be leveraged and the potential needs to be realized. So when we reach out to high-growth companies, or companies with specific positions posted, we’ve found a distinct increase in win-rate … without changing a thing about our sales cycle.”

When we listen for signals from the buyer themselves, broadcasting in different ways that the issue is top of mind RIGHT NOW – perfectly timed outreach is just the thing they need. Responding to an immediate need makes the salesperson a helpful partner.

Which Opportunity data points are really predictive?

Our Manager of Sales Development, Chaz Knauft, explains:

“We receive daily updates when companies in our target market have received funding, decided to IPO, or have had major changes at the C-level. All of these are great times for us to reach out, and we do. I pass these opportunities to our team (…knowing that DiscoverOrg’s data behind them is accurate and worth our time). We drink our own Kool-Aid.”

That’s because using Opportunity data to predict buying opportunities delivers.

Higher revenue, for starters: 95% of all respondents in our predictive data survey found positive revenue gains when predictive indicators were present – and the most common benefit was higher conversion rates.

The to 15 most predictive Opportunity data points are:

  1. Request for Proposal (RFP)
  2. Projects / Purchase Initiatives
  3. Pain Points
  4. Funding
  5. Leadership Changes
  6. Hiring Plans
  7. Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)
  8. Newly Hired Employees
  9. Promotions
  10. Employee Departures
  11. Product Launches
  12. Earnings
  13. Partnerships
  14. Layoffs
  15. News Mentions

When Opportunity knocks: Data in context

Fit + Opportunity + Intent data = Predictive sales intelligence

The Guardian notes “Economists too often assumed that market actors not only behave rationally but do so according to the same mental models deployed by economists.”

The same can be said of sales: Selling a great product would be much easier if all people acted in a predictable way and made perfectly rational decisions at all times, but unfortunately for traditional lead scoring models, they don’t. Demographic data points don’t tell the whole story.

Opportunity data adds context: Why now?

Example:

Fit data: Kari is a sales development rep at a company that sells cloud-migration software. Her best-fit clients are start-up and mid-market companies in the tech sector – a booming business as cloud computing gets cheaper – who are struggling to scale.

Opportunity data: Kari sees that the company recently got a new Chief Technology Officer, and hears about plans for adding headcount.

… NOW, there’s a very good chance that prospect will be happy to take Kari’s call!

If you’re trying to find more time in the day for your sales team, Opportunity data will help them prioritize. When a sales professional introduces a great product or service at the right time, they become a customer champion.

And it’s always the right time for that.

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