We’ve all seen that the Internet has forced sales people to approach potential buyers in a more thoughtful, personalized and intelligent manner. They must provide value beyond just what buyers could find online. They need to know everything about the customer’s industry, their specific business issues, as well as individual stakeholder dynamics, and offer unique insight. Many would classify this as sales intelligence.

Intelligence is one of those words that business has adopted and used to describe something sort of connected to the real-life definition of the word, but probably with too liberal an application. Still, it’s a word that captures the feeling of what we all strive for in business: something of a sixth sense; a Jedi insight into the deep reach of overwhelming data and information. Dictionary.com defines intelligence as, “the capacity for learning, reasoning and understanding.” This definition comes in handy not only for business analysts and the c-suite but increasingly for the sales professional.

Going back to the definition of intelligence, we can outline some clear ways sales can better prospect and connect with buyers:


This part of intelligence implies becoming familiar with the topic of interest. In a sales scenario, reps must have the ability to quickly acquire and digest key information on prospects. When most of their productive work is done in Salesforce, having to go to other tools, website and sources for learning adds time, energy, and complexity to the process. Ideally, account records would provide, or connect to, all the basic and information you’d need to make yourself familiar with target accounts.


The ability to reason sets us apart from other organisms with brains, and intelligent sales reps must rely on more than just their instincts to make good decisions. Efficient prioritization and qualification of leads can mean the difference between making your number and wasting your time on painful calls with bad prospects. To make those good decisions, you need detailed and accurate account data, financial details, job titles, and other information uniquely relevant to your category of business.


An intelligent person often proves their knowledge through some sort of test. For sales reps, their test comes in meeting with potential customers. With information like industry trends, company news, competitive landscape, and other more contextual intelligence, salespeople can find the nuggets that create understanding and connection between the customer’s needs and your products.

As outlined recently by our friend Marika Vilen at Thomson Reuters, the problem is that the pure volume of information that needs to be digested in order to cover the average sales territory would give even the most prolific, elbow-patch-sportcoat-wearing researcher face twitches.

Never fear! At Salesforce, and Data.com, we’re focused on building technology that enables businesses to sell smarter. We’ve added a powerful sales intelligence feature to our Prospector solution that offers deeper business details, financial info and other contextual information on accounts.

Download our new Know Your Customers Better Than Ever e-book and talk to your Salesforce account executive to learn more.