Data and intelligence.   Too often, in an increasingly complex landscape of sales and marketing data providers, these terms are used interchangeably.   They are most certainly related – quality data sets the foundation for valuable intelligence.  In this piece, we will:

  • Define data vs. intelligence
  • Understand how data is transformed into intelligence
  • Learn how the right intelligence can take your growth to the next level.

Let’s start with defining data.  In its most basic form, data is a piece of information.  Whether it is basic information like a name or phone number to more advanced information like communication preference, one thing is true – data itself is not very useful or insightful.  To cultivate value, data must undergo a full transformation.

Read It: What is Sales Intelligence? An Interview with DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck

The first step in the process is data aggregation – among the most basic of functionalities offered by your CRM system – a place to collect, store, and organize the data you have about your prospects and customers so you can start to create a more complete picture.

Take this one step further – you probably directly collect a considerable amount of data but you may also receive data from a 3rd party or external partner.  Where should this inflow of data go?  As data types and sources continue to proliferate, data integration is becoming more than just a convenience of accessing data where you want it, when you want it; it is becoming necessary to maintain an acceptable level of productivity and efficiency within today’s fast-paced, data-driven organization.  Data integration also makes it feasible to automate data hygiene practices so your data remains fresh and accurate.

So now you have all the data you want in one place  – the next step is critical and probably the most talked about today – data analytics.  This includes understanding performance trends within your historical data, and when you get a good grasp on that, leveraging those same patterns to predict future performance (predictive analytics).  There is so much discussion and talk about big data, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics – and it’s all very fascinating.  However, we think all conversations around data analytics should come down to one very important factor – can you use the insights drawn from the analytics to impact business results?  Too often organizations are so focused on having the right tools and teams in place to collect, organize, and analyze the data that strategy and execution is often overlooked.

Actionability of insights and data – this is where the value of intelligence becomes tangible.    Let’s take a simple example.  You are the head of sales for a marketing automation platform company.  You may have lots of data about your prospects, including a list of hundreds of companies that might be interested in your product and the names and phone numbers of thousands of people who may work at those companies.   Without any additional analytics, your only option would be to start contacting the leads on your list.  Maybe that company really does need your product, maybe those contacts still work at the company, maybe you have an accurate phone number…or maybe not. On the other hand, by aggregating and integrating additional 3rd party and firmographic data sources and leveraging analytics, you can start to determine who may be more likely to need your product.  At least now you have a list of top prospects to start contacting at random.

Intelligence goes one step beyond the answers provided by data analytics. It brings in important things like buyer intent to give further insight and context into the buying process so you can really narrow in on your best opportunities at any given time. There is a qualitative component to intelligence that can’t be extracted directly from data and analytics.  At DiscoverOrg, this insight is derived through multiple ways, including surveys, interviews, and direct conversations with decision makers and budget holders within the largest organizations around the world.   With intelligence, you end up with more than accurate contact information and a ranked list of prospects:

  • WHO: A quality intelligence solution gives you more than just leads.  It surfaces all of the actual decision makers, influencers, and budget holders that hold investment power within an organization.  A solution like DiscoverOrg will even drill down to identify the decision makers that oversee the specific product or solution you are selling.  In addition to basic contact information, intelligence provides insight into a prospect’s areas of responsibilities, past experience, current projects and pain points, etc. which enables highly personalized conversation starters and more meaningful prospect engagement.
  • WHY: In addition to confirming that it is likely the company needs your product, intelligence will provide further insight into what solution is in place today and why the company is actively searching for a new solution.   Think: You know the company has a current pain point, you know who within the company is responsible for addressing that pain point, and you know your product is a perfect solution for the pain point.
  • WHEN: Success in sales and marketing almost always come down to timing.  Knowing where a buyer is within the buyer’s journey is critical to success and with real-time intelligence, you can engage with the buyer when he is precisely ready to hear from you.

Intelligence takes the game you are playing to a whole new level.  By prioritizing your most likely buyers, knowing precisely who to involve in the selling process and when to engage with them, and having very specific insight and detail to help you establish personal, meaningful connections, you will see an increase in efficiency, productivity, and overall success. Plus, with an all-in-one solution like DiscoverOrg, you don’t have to worry about all the steps involved in transforming your data into intelligence.  DiscoverOrg’s platform manages the transformation for you within seconds and integrates seamlessly with all leading CRM and marketing automation platforms so you can access the intelligence alongside your other data.

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