Most blogs about Sales Intelligence software start with a long blurb about what sales intelligence is, then go into the benefits of sales intelligence overall, before finally pitching you their tool as the one and only solution to all and any sales intelligence needs. Not this blog.
In this blog I am going to break down the different types of sales intelligence software, to help you find the one that fits you and your business. Yes, Lix (my company) will be on the list – but only for the niche we cover. There are lots of different tools, offering lots of different solutions. The truth is that most sales teams that are invested in sales intelligence use a combination of apps and programs to get the information they need. Be wary of anyone who pitches you a ‘one-size-fits-all’, because it just doesn’t (and couldn’t) exist.
If you don’t know what sales intelligence software is, I will very quickly explain before we get into the nitty gritty of what each tool does:
The category Sales Intelligence includes a range of apps and tools that broadly speaking, use B2B data from various sources (sometimes internal, sometimes external) to help sales teams reach a goal. That might be a lead generation or conversion goal, driving revenue into a business in the short term. It might also be an analytical goal, informing strategy for future quarters and targets.
As you can image, there are a thousand different ways to achieve these outcomes. Which is probably why you’re looking for a guide to which tool is right for you. So, let’s get into it. Below are my picks for the best tools in some of the top Sales Intelligence software categories. They’re loosely ordered to fit the sales journey – from lead gen, to reporting.
Direct Dials: Zoominfo
If you’re looking for direct dials, Zoominfo have been in the game providing business phone numbers for over 20 years now.
The efficacy of ZoomInfo largely depends on where you live and where you sell. If you’re looking for phone number and data for US-based companies, you’re in luck. However once you cross the pond and start looking into EMEA, ZoomInfo can be less reliable.
They’re also the most expensive tool on the market, but they do offer the most functionality (that’s why they’re the only company to appear twice on this list!).
Email Discovery: Lix
Yes, I’m one of the co-founders of Lix and you are on the Lix blog, so of course we are on this list. That’s not the only reason we’re here, though. Lots of companies on the market offer email discovery for lead generation, but this isn’t a blog about email finders – this is about sales intelligence tools. Lix fits into this category where others don’t, because of the intelligence we apply to the data we find.
For example, our People search exports are all augmented by AI. Utilising our world-class database, our machine learning models are trained to recognise cues in profile text and social interactions in order to categorise users by job function and ascertain their seniority level. Your team can export up to 10,000 rows of augmented data every single day. We also extract more data points from LinkedIn than anyone else, meaning you don’t have to switch between multiple apps to enrich your contact data.
Of course, I am bias – so please give it a try and see for yourself. We offer 50 free leads per month on our freemium plan (which is also more than anyone else on the market, #bragging).
Buyer behaviour is an exciting new category. Tracking how and where your potential customers are researching your product… using AI to predict where they are in their buyers journey… it all sounded like science fiction just a few decades ago. Now, we have companies like 6sense providing these buyer intent insights to sales and marketing teams around the world.
In their own words, 6sense “use intent data to light the dark funnel” which is not as ‘sci-fi bad guy’ as it sounds. Essentially, they aggregate search and engagement data from across the web, to provide businesses with a picture of which companies (or which kinds of companies) are searching for their products and services. Their AI models then use this data to predict where these searchers are in their buyer journey.
Armed with this kind of information, you can strike at the right time – pitching potential customers just when they’re ready to buy. It’s sales, Jim, but not as we know it.
Hubspot are 15 year veterans of the CRM world and G3 category leaders in Sales Engagement, year after year. Hubspot’s Sales Hub is a powerful tool that will help your team with exactly when (and how) to engage with prospects.
Imagine a sales team who are automatically prompted to follow up at the right time, provided with templates to do so, with open rates, conversation and interactions all tracked. For the data-minded sales director, it’s a dream.
The Sales Hub is now also offering conversation intelligence – AI that automatically takes notes during calls. That conversation data is then filtered to discover top objections, competitive trends and coaching opportunities. Powerful stuff for the larger sales team.
Analytics & Forecasting
Sales analysis and forecasting is nothing new, but we’ve come a long way from manual data entry and a sea of spreadsheets.
Workday adaptive planning allows you to monitor sales metrics with easy-to-digest visuals, whilst simultaneously using your sales data for sales forecasting, pipeline management, sales territory scoring and a whole lot more. They even offer the ability to run ‘what-if’ scenarios in real time. The benefits of having all that data not only on hand and easy to access, but actively informing your decisions going forward is a game-changer for large sales teams.
These are the kinds of insights that used to be provided by teams of analysts. The turnaround was slow, it was expensive and you certainly didn’t get real-time feedback. Tools like Adaptive Planning can do for sales what Google Analytics did for marketing.
Yes, Zoominfo are back for a second entry on this list, and for good reason. They are the closest thing to the mythical one-size-fits-all, as they have some offering to fit most of the categories listed here (but not all!).
As with all one-size products, they might not fit every niche perfectly. It will be easier to train staff in one system, though. Once again though it’s important to note that their data is very US-centric and it is fairly expensive. However if you are looking to purchase one tool that does (almost) everything, they’re your best bet. Just make sure you’ve got deep pockets!