October 14, 2021

Sales Intelligence: The Smarter Way to Prospect

Written by The Apollo Team

Sales intelligence is changing the landscape for B2B companies around the world and it can change yours.

What if you could predict which prospects were most likely to convert to customers? 

What if you could identify the specific value propositions they would be most likely to respond to? 

What if you could seamlessly get access to their email addresses and phone numbers to reach out directly to them at a specific point in time when they would be most likely to engage with you?

These are no longer “what ifs”—they represent the reality and the promise of sales intelligence and artificial intelligence (AI) as an advanced methodology to automate the sales and business development process.


What is a Sales Intelligence?

Sales intelligence is the ability to use data, research, and analytics to find new prospects. Most salespeople, however, don’t realize that they already have the data they need to find new prospects. 

With some advanced searches on LinkedIn and Apollo.io, for example, you can identify your targets’ companies’ top clients or biggest competitors and obtain their contact information. 

Sales intelligence is more about knowing how to use the tools at your disposal than it is about special training or access to proprietary databases.

Sales Intelligence Data

Successful businesses use data to explain every micro-decision, and from these decisions, they gather more data, developing a continuous cycle of self-improvement. This includes improvements across revenue and production.

At its core, a data-driven sales strategy leverages data and analytics to accelerate sales. It prioritizes data gathering among sales teams and uses those insights to make strategic business decisions. Research has shown that companies who embrace data-driven sales and inject data into their sales process are anywhere from 5% to 6% more profitable.

Sales intelligence data allow sellers to: 

  • Identify and reach the right people, and save time by not chasing the wrong leads
  • Make cold calls into warm conversations by infusing them with personalized information
  • Access company information (revenue, company size, industry, location, technologies used, etc.) and personal information (job changes, title, etc.) at the click of a button
  • Quickly identify prospects’ needs and pain points
  • Track their progress and analyze their conversion rates

Data-driven prospecting is the future of customer generation. In fact, data-driven organizations are 23x more likely to acquire customers and 6x more likely to retain those customers.

Artificial Intelligence in Sales

In an era of sales automation where B2B sales and marketing organizations use 10-12 digital tools every day to prospect for new customers and clients online, the ability to automate the prospecting process holds great promise.

The ability to mine your CRM data to perform look-alike analysis to identify prospects in the global university that have the highest propensity to buy is the Holy Grail of sales prospecting in the 21st century.

As destination CRM reports: “As business-to-business and business-to-consumer buying experiences become increasingly similar, sellers will have to use technology to enhance and personalize the customer’s buying experience.” This is according to recent research from Capgemini, a leading global consulting firm that focuses on technology.

The Promise of AI and Machine Learning for Sales

Dr. Dena H. Hale, assistant professor of sales and marketing with the Centurion Sales Program at Stetson University, explains how AI and machine learning can aid in the sales prospecting process: 

“Computers can identify patterns of behavior across current customers to identify clusters of customer profiles,” she says. “Using these created profiles and information of new prospects, whether user-generated or obtained from prospect lists, AI can identify optimal prospects and create priority lists for sales professionals to work from. AI can calculate the probability of closing a sale and may even be able to identify the most probable issues/problems the prospect is encountering, based on information obtained from similar customer profiles.”

It’s advanced technology that can not only save time but also produce better results in lead generation. 

It’s the kind of technology that has the potential to disrupt the entire sales process, freeing up sales and business development staff to focus more on building relationships and staying engaged with customers and prospects than searching for prospects, cold calling, and sending out email after email in the hopes of somehow connecting with the right person at the right time.

Using AI can provide automation in the sales process that sales craves. A sales team may be spending hours per day scanning LinkedIn, managing leads lists from marketing or using Sales Navigator to send cold emails that go nowhere. AI can intelligently recommend accounts and leads you need to reach out to. That’s competitive intelligence.

Apollo makes recommendations based on past successful outcomes, comparing CRM data, look-alike analysis, and figure out who might have a higher propensity to buy. It looks at accounts or contacts you’re trying to reach, and if your outcome is not successful, for example, it will suggest other people you should be working with. 

Ways that AI can make an immediate impact on sales prospecting include:

  • Look-alike accounts for those already in your pipeline
  • When your first attempts aren’t successful, it can identify two more people at the same company who might be the right contact
  • Based off of your CRM system, AI can forecast and recommend accounts who have a propensity to buy based on data – specifically “close-won” data

The possibilities are endless.

Sales Intelligence Software

How do you find high-quality sales leads in an efficient way? Manually searching for prospects on LinkedIn or worse yet, doing Google searches, is time consuming.

That’s where sales intelligence software comes to the rescue, giving you access to vast amounts of external data that you can combine with the existing data in your CRM to enrich and expand your list of prospects and clients. 

According to G2, the top sales intelligence tools are:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • HubSpot Sales Hub
  • ZoomInfo
  • Groove
  • Apollo.io

The criteria that G2 uses to include a sales intelligence tool in this category are:

  • The sales tool must provide information and insights about prospects, which can be combined with business data generated by companies
  • The software must include functionality to perform activities to search company lists, identify potential customers based on custom criteria, and use contact information to approach them
  • It must integrate with sales and marketing software, as well as analytics, business intelligence, or data management solutions

Apollo.io: Sales Intelligence Platform + More

Apollo provides an extensive database of over 220 million contacts across 10 million companies, but our algorithm scrapes this information from anything from PR news releases and news sites to information on corporate websites. We use that information to continuously update and improve profiles, contacts, and company info. 

Apollo is an all-in-one platform that combines a sales intelligence solution with a sales engagement tool. That means that as a sales rep, you have the ability to seamlessly find leads and reach out to them in one place, saving time and hassle from integrating multiple platforms.

This makes Apollo.io a unique tool in the sales intelligence market.

It can help you prospect by:

  • Allowing you to set up Sequences to target specific personas
  • Providing you with 200+ specific prospect data attributes for granular prospecting research and filtering
  • Seamlessly syncing with your CRM and pre-existing data
  • Providing you with data and information outside of the Apollo app with our Chrome Extension

Give Apollo.io a try with a free plan and take your prospecting to the next level with our sales intelligence solutions and sales engagement tool.

Get started with Apollo

The Apollo Team