Sales teams in the B2B industry are under a lot of heat. The competition is getting more intense, buyers have more options than ever before, and the buying dynamics are rapidly shifting - which has drastically cut down the time buyers spend with salespersons.
According to Gartner’s report, B2B buyers spend only 17% of their total purchase journey in interacting with sales reps. Assuming each buyer evaluates multiple vendors, each sales rep has roughly 5% of the journey.
Therefore, companies have a tiny window of opportunity. To make the most of this opportunity, companies need to create multiple touch points with their customers and adopt an omnichannel strategy of consistent messaging and customer experience delivered across multiple channels of engagement, be it through sales, marketing or customer success.
To build this kind of approach, companies need deep insights about the needs and behaviors of their prospects, and the same should be accessible by different teams across functions, so that they engage with the prospective buyers at different stages of the buying journey. This is where Customer Intelligence comes into the picture.
What is Customer Intelligence?
Customer intelligence in the context of B2B SaaS refers to the collection, analysis, and utilization of data and insights about prospects/customers and their interactions with a SaaS company's products, services, and brand. It involves gathering information from various touchpoints, both digital and human, to understand customer behavior, preferences, needs, and challenges.
This information is then leveraged to make informed decisions, enhance customer experiences, drive business growth and develop meaningful long-term relationships.
Customer intelligence benefits companies in numerous ways, but here are the top three -
Let’s get into the granular details to identify its three prime pillars:
1. High Quality Targeting Accounts - Identify the “Who”
By leveraging Customer Intelligence, you can strategically pinpoint your ideal buyers through a systematic approach, based on the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer persona. It empowers your sales and marketing teams to segment accounts that are the right fit for your solution.
Here are a few aspects of Customer Intelligence tools that can help you define your ICP more accurately and create the shortlist for your targeting -
Your sales and marketing team can also prioritize accounts that use a certain type of technology or have an integration with specific tools in their tech stack. For example, finding accounts that use crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk, Indiegogo or Upwork. A global HR platform that helps organizations to manage payroll and compliance for global teams would want to prioritize these accounts and channelize their sales and marketing efforts to win them.
However, to get such in-depth information, companies need powerful tools like Enlyft that can generate account information by helping to define an ICP, and buyer personas to target the right decision makers and influencers in each account.
Here’s a snappy video showing how your sales and marketing teams can generate a shortlist with detailed account and contact information of buyer personas using Enlyft.
2. Deep Account Insights - to guide on the “Why”
Having shortlisted the accounts matching your ICP, it is necessary to further narrow down the list of potential buyers with the help of data enrichment and account insights. One of the best ways of getting more account insights is by acquiring more competitive information.
Competitive information opens the portal to critical details, like which high value prospects are already using one of your competitor’s tools. Your sales and marketing team can push these accounts up in the shortlist as top priority. Furthermore, they can tailor deals for the prospective customers with unique personalized offers that can solve their challenges in a more effective way or help them get a higher value from your offering at a much lower cost.
For example, if an account’s online activity suggests that they are actively searching for a specific product category, the sales team can prioritize them as high-potential accounts. Understanding the buyer intent helps the sales team approach the account at the right moment and increase the chances of conversion.
In a nutshell, deep account insights help narrow down your shortlist, and allow your teams to give more priority to hot leads. To increase the propensity of converting them, these insights can be further used to personalize the communication. Using a Customer Intelligence tool, your sales team can find the maximum value, as they can fetch all the insights without spending hours behind it.
3. Accurate Timing for Outreach - decide on the “When”
Timing plays a critical role in B2B sales to win deals. The first-mover advantage gives companies the upper hand to engage with buyers, and stay in touch with them through different channels to establish a warm relationship with them.
Enlyft’s Buying Signals help companies nail the timing by identifying potential organizations early enough. Some of these organizations may not have realized the need for a solution at that stage. Companies can track the developments of these potential customers based on certain triggers, like hiring, technology usage, funding, job changes, news and events. Sales and marketing teams can also prioritize accounts based on the nature of signals. They can start nurturing accounts that show the most appropriate signals, before the competitors even get a wind of it.
For example, a fictitious HR software company called Gerhald Inc. uses Enlyft’s Buying Signals to identify behavior and actions of accounts based on the hiring activity trigger. If a target account A has started hiring for a C-suite employee in the HR department in the United States, the sales team in Gerhald Inc qualifies this event as a strong buying signal to engage with the account, as this indicates expansion, investment in long-term solutions and growth. Another signal could be a managerial hire from an organization that has been using their software solution. This manager could serve as a potential influencer in the buying decision of the software solution at the target company A.
Using Buying Signals, Gerhald Inc. has the following three major advantages -
i) Their sales team can identify prospective customers early on, even before they have started searching for a new HR software solution
ii) They can capture the prospect’s attention, identify potential influencers, and become a part of their decision-making process before their competitors.
iii) Build a long-term relationship with their buyers by offering them a solution matching their needs at the exact opportunity, by understanding the stages of the buyer's journey. This includes awareness, consideration, decision-making stages. Different targeting approaches may be more suitable at different stages. For example, awareness-focused targeting may be used to introduce the solution, while decision-stage targeting could focus on driving conversions.
If B2B companies want to gain an edge over their competitors and stay at the top of the minds of their buyers, they need to keep Customer Intelligence at the heart of their sales and marketing planning. This strategy will strengthen companies to get deeper insights about their customers, without letting their sales and marketing team do the heavy lifting on the complex research and compilation for identifying the right targets.
This opens the door for more strategic thinking and building proactive approaches, such as tailoring the action plan based on the distinct stages of the buyer journey. This strategic shift empowers the teams to seize opportunities before competitors, with data-driven insights to optimize strategies, personalize engagements, and achieve competitive advantages, ultimately driving revenue growth.