March 5th, 2018 | by

The term “Sales Intelligence” is frequently thrown around in sales and marketing, but there’s a lot of confusion about what it actually refers to.

What is sales intelligence? How is it different from a lead list?

To explore the subject, we sat down with DiscoverOrg cofounder and CEO Henry Schuck, to find out exactly what sales intelligence means – and what it means for sales and marketing professionals.

Q: What is sales intelligence?

Henry: Sales intelligence is actionable information on prospects, your target accounts.

True sales intelligence needs to include both information on the account, such as reporting structure, budgets and, technology install base data; as well as intelligence on the individual prospects, like job responsibilities, verified contact data, and predictive indicators around purchase intent.

Sales intelligence includes information about events, contacts, structure of a department and technology stack – data that helps sales and marketing professionals prioritize who to target, in order to do their jobs more effectively.

Without sales intelligence, the growth of your universe of accounts (and revenue potential) is left to chance. It’s like spraying a hose with an open nozzle or spraying with a closed nozzle: You’re going to get wet either way, but one is much more efficient than the other.

I could call 1000 companies and try to engage with a really bland pitch – or I could call 10 that I KNOW need my service, I know who the decision maker is, the initiatives they’re working on, and what they’ve been researching online.

My chances are much higher with those 10 than they would be calling through the 1000.

Sales intelligence allows you to know who your next most likely buyer is, and know how to get ahold of them.

Get the ebook: The Power of Sales Intelligence

Q: Where do you see Sales Intelligence going?

Henry: Sales intelligence didn’t exist 10 years ago when we started DiscoverOrg.

There was only contact information.

Now, it’s about providing context around those contacts and making all of that data accessible. Contact data evolved into org charts and job responsibilities – and now we’ve moved on to understanding purchase intent.

Also, the data has to be easy to leverage day-to-day – so it went from living in spreadsheets to contact information in your CRM, and then into marketing automation platforms.

DiscoverOrg has sort of evolved along that same trajectory.

Read it: A CEO Mind-shift for Scaling Growth: An Interview with Henry Schuck

Q: What are the benefits of sales intelligence?

Henry: In general, it makes your sales and marketing efforts much more effective. You’re able to get in front of the right people at the right time. You’re not missing buying cycles. Once you’ve nailed down a great prospect, you don’t struggle to get ahold of them.

Or it might start by identifying who a great prospect could be. Sales intelligence really takes away all of the excuses sales reps have for not being able to penetrate an account.


Q: How has sales intelligence improved the performance of outbound marketing?

Henry: Sales intelligence has made sales reps and marketing departments much more effective and efficient.

They’re no longer spending large swaths of their day trying to find relevant contacts, calling into companies that are nowhere near a buying cycle. Part of the reason why BoxCloudera, and Bonfyre were are able to grow so fast is that they’ve invested in sales intelligence tools that allowed them to accelerate sales quickly and efficiently.

Read It: The Power of Sales Intelligence


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