What Is Sales Intelligence? An Interview With DiscoverOrg CEO, Henry Schuck

The phrase, “Sales Intelligence” is a popular, but still under-the-radar, term used in the sales and marketing field. To help uncover the true meaning behind the subject, we sat down with Henry Schuck, DiscoverOrg CEO and co-founder, to find out exactly what “Sales Intelligence” means and how it’s truly changing the game for sales and marketing reps.

Q: What is Sales Intelligence?

Henry: Sales intelligence is actionable intelligence on prospects – your target accounts. In order for it to truly be sales intelligence, it needs to include both intelligence 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 their propensity to buy.

Sales intelligence is simply information about events, contacts, structure of a department, technology stack – data that allows sales and marketing professionals to do their jobs more effectively. Without sales intelligence – the growth of your account list (and revenue potential) is left to chance. It’s like spraying a hose with an open nozzle or spraying with a closed nozzle – both ways you’re going to get wet… but one is much more efficient than the other.

I could call 1,000 companies and try to engage with a really bland pitch, or I could call 10 where I know that they are in need of my service, 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 1,000.

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

Q: Where do you see Sales Intelligence going?

Henry: Sales intelligence didn’t exist 7 years ago when we started DiscoverOrg. There was just 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 it’s about 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.

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 getting ahold of them.  Or it even starts 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: What is the DiscoverOrg space? What’s DiscoverOrg’s niche market?

Henry: Our niche market is anyone who’s selling into IT, Finance or Marketing corporations. We’re not mom and pop, and we don’t have 10 million companies. We’re going to have 25,000 companies with a ton of intelligence and data on those companies.

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 much more 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 Fusion-io, Cloudera, and Box were are able to grow so fast is that they’ve invested in sales intelligence tools that have allowed them to accelerate sales quickly and incredibly efficiently.

To our readers:

What other benefits do you see in sales intelligence?

How new is this concept to your sales process and prospecting activities?

How has sales intelligence helped to take your business to the next level?

McKenzie has a background in communications and non-profit sector. ..read more