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A Guide to Sales Intelligence

Sales intelligence takes the reams of data available to B2B revenue teams, and turns that data into actionable insights that drive sales.




Chapter 1

What is Sales Intelligence

Chapter 2

The Components of Sales Intelligence

Chapter 3

The Benefits of Sales Intelligence

Chapter 4

The Future of Sales Intelligence

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

What is Sales Intelligence

The sales world is built on information. The ability to gather, analyze, and leverage information can make or break any deal. The best sales organizations will prioritize their ability ‌to collect as much account and buyer data as possible and parse that information into insights that will help them win the deal.

Brass tacks: Collecting data doesn’t provide benefits unless you can act on it.

Sales intelligence helps turn data into actions that drive revenue growth, such as

  • Hyper-targeted, personalized interactions with buyers
  • Uncovering the accounts that are in-market and interested in your services
  • Identifying valuable contacts within target accounts and acquiring contact info and clues about their engagement

Collecting and leveraging sales intelligence requires:

  • Technology capable of detecting online buying activity (even the activity that occurs anonymously)
  • Making that information actionable through the creation of campaigns based on data, and
  • Consolidating critical insights about your buyers in a central source of truth

Let’s take a closer look at the components of sales intelligence and how their application can transform a B2B sales team’s performance.

Chapter 2

The Components of Sales Intelligence


Firmographics is a category of data that reveals the crucial basic elements of an organization. When armed with a technology platform that empowers you to review firmographic information, you’ll get the bird’s-eye view of a business.

Firmographic data includes a prospect company’s:

  • Industry
  • Number of locations
  • Number of employees
  • Yearly revenue
  • Ownership type (private, public, etc.)


Psychographics are your way of understanding how buyers at a target account think, act, and what they believe is intellectually or emotionally important. If you want to build strong relationships as part of your sales strategy, an innate understanding of a buyer’s psychographic profile is key.

Psychographic profiles include:

  • Personality traits
  • Beliefs
  • Behaviors
  • Even nuances such as food preferences, hobbies, and community activism

Diving into the psychographics of a buyer will give you a fuller picture of who they are as a person, what they believe in, and what motivates them.


Technographics reveal the technology an organization uses. Whether it’s the CRM, MAP, SEP, or any other type of technology they use, this information helps you uncover the critical systems an organization relies on.

You can use this information to identify accounts that would most benefit from your services. Or you can even use it to identify which organizations are using your competitor’s products, and then target them with a replacement campaign.

If your products or services integrate with other popular technologies and add value, technographics will be crucial to crafting your campaigns.

Market Updates

Macroeconomics will always have a huge impact on the buying landscape.

The overall economy has a big impact on B2B spending, especially for new purchases. But in any economic environment, there will be companies

  • Receiving private funding for capital investments
  • Growing revenue and expanding their teams
  • Retooling to adapt to regulatory changes
  • Poised to benefit from government spending

It would be unrealistic to keep tabs on ‌market updates for all of your target accounts. Collecting this type of sales intelligence requires technology that tracks this information and provides updates on hot accounts to your teams. Since these revenue moments are tied to events, timing is key. Quick action allows you to provide solutions to customers right when they need them.

Persona Maps

Historically, tracking a buying team — and your sales reps’ influence with each member — has been an ad hoc process. Information is usually stored in spreadsheets, flung around your CRM, or simply stored in the minds of your sellers.

Without a concrete process in place for mapping a prospect’s buying team, you risk missing opportunities to influence key decision makers.

The best way to track your influence on the buying team, as well as your progress in uncovering who they are, is with a persona map that delivers insights into your engagement across an organization.

Persona maps reveal:

  • The titles of buyers at your accounts
  • The people within different departments
  • The level of engagement you have within an account

A persona map is crucial to sales intelligence because it provides a quick snapshot of your current state with any given account.

Intent Data

Intent data is one of the most important components of sales intelligence because it reveals:

  • Which accounts are interested in your products or services
  • What is driving their interest,
  • And how likely they are to buy soon

Intent data is made up of buying signals generated when people browse the web. If you start researching tourist attractions in Athens, intent data is what allows travel agencies and hotels to start targeting you with ads.

Intent data can function similarly in B2B, but the buying journey is much longer (months or years), involves more people, and is less linear.

To market and sell effectively to B2B buyers, you need to be able to associate intent signals with an account and understand how many people within that account are researching, what they care about, and how close they are to a decision.

Examples of Intent data include:

  • Topics buyers are researching on the internet
  • Pages on your website they’re visiting without filling out forms
  • Campaigns of yours they’ve viewed
  • Research they’re doing on third-party review websites

Intent data helps you prioritize outreach to the prospects that are most likely to help you hit revenue targets. It also gives you the insights to craft personalized messaging that addresses the specific, current needs of buyers.

Chapter 3

The Benefits of Sales Intelligence

Align Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing have often clashed because it’s traditionally difficult to understand which specific activities are yielding results.

Marketing can feel like sales isn’t following up on the leads they’re generating, while sales might feel like the leads they’re receiving are of low quality.

With sales intelligence, both marketing and sales teams have access to the same deep insights about buyers. This naturally aligns them and removes guesswork about what messaging or campaigns might work best for any given account.

Sales intelligence makes it easy for marketing to craft highly relevant campaigns that flow naturally with sales’ efforts to engage key buyers. Instead of worrying about attribution for a deal, the teams work in lockstep to drive revenue.

Get into Deals Earlier

Too often, sellers get into deal conversations late because they had no idea an account was in-market. By the time you start a conversation, the buyer is already two-thirds of the way through their journey and has come to their own conclusions and biases about what they need to achieve their goals. At this point, you have forfeited your ability to influence decision making.

Collecting the right sales intelligence is like having a crystal ball that tells you about upcoming deals.

Intent data uncovers buyers that are just beginning their buying process. You’ll be able to shape and create demand, rather than react to it.

Pre-intent data — like the firmographics, psychographics, technographics, and market intelligence mentioned above — can reveal companies who haven’t begun a buying process, but look like they’ll be a good fit soon. That information allows your teams to build a proactive plan to shape the buyer’s thinking and build brand awareness and trust.

Improve Prioritization

Sellers waste a lot of time, money, and resources hunting down the wrong people and trying to figure out which accounts to target. Only 39% of a seller’s time is spent actually interacting with buyers.

Sales intelligence cuts through the noise to reveal which accounts should be your top priority.

Uncover the Buying Team

Modern buying teams are big. Gartner places the number at 14 to 23 people for the average buying committee. The chances of closing a deal hinge on your teams’ ability to uncover and influence as many members of the buying team as possible.

Without complete coverage across a buying committee, salespeople risk the possibility of:

  • Last-minute stakeholders entering the buying process and derailing progress
  • A champion for your solution leaving the buying committee, deflating the odds of a deal getting done

Sales intelligence is key to finding every buying team member and aiding in your efforts to engage them. Using a persona map, you can visualize your in-roads into any given account. This gives you answers to incredibly important questions like:

  • What departments have we engaged the most?
  • Which departments have we not reached yet?
  • What levels of the organization are we reaching?
  • Does our coverage of this account align with our typical needs to win a deal?
  • What level of engagement do we have with each member of the buying committee?

Sales intelligence gives you deep insights into an account’s buying team and reveals a path for increasing your engagement level.

Reach Your Buyers at the Right Time

Over half of B2B buyers expect a personalized experience as they move along their journey. But, because of their desire to remain anonymous as long as possible, it can be difficult to deliver them personalized campaigns.

Sales intelligence sidesteps this problem by constantly building an informed dossier of your buyer, regardless if they’re filling out forms or raising their hand.

Instead of being forced to send generic campaigns to a wide audience, sales intelligence gives you the power to create highly-targeted and personalized campaigns for all of your buyers.

Examples of just-in-time messaging that’s made possible by sales intelligence includes:

  • An awareness campaign with content narrowly targeted to a specific industry, company size, and the job role of the recipient
  • An offer for a top-of-funnel ebook just as a buyer is beginning their journey
  • A personalized experience on your website that’s relevant to the buyer’s interests
  • A campaign advertising a custom demo for audiences at the end of their buying journey

Sales intelligence makes it much easier to deliver the personalized experiences buyers crave.

Improve the Relevance of Your Engagements

When you have a dozen or more people on a buying team, they’re not all researching the same thing at the same time. They can be in different buying stages, and their engagements can happen sporadically. Trying to deliver a relevant message at any given time is tricky.

Sales intelligence improves the relevance of your campaigns by collecting as much information as possible about your buyers and consolidating that data into actionable insights.

With sales intelligence, your teams can improve relevance by:

  • Personalizing messages based on the past activity of your buyers
  • Choosing the right channels that your buyers visit most
  • Crafting messages to focus on the topics buyers care most about

The best marketing and sales interactions are the ones that are relevant to a buyer at the exact moment in time. Sales intelligence increases the chances of your buyers receiving relevant messaging.

Stronger Customer Retention

Existing customers are a company’s most valuable asset. It’s much easier and cheaper to grow the value of an existing account than to acquire a new one. It can be six to seven times more expensive to land new customers than retaining them.

Retaining customers — and growing their accounts — is a crucial strategy for any business.

By applying sales intelligence to your own customers, you can spot:

  • New products or services they might be interested in
  • Research they’re doing about your competitors — indicating they might be in danger of churning
  • Important insights about their company performance — new funding rounds, opening of new locations, etc. — that inform new campaigns

Chapter 4

The Future of Sales Intelligence

The sales profession is quickly moving from the age of data to the age of intelligence. It’s no longer about having as much data as possible to support your sellers, but rather having actionable insights that reveal in-market buyers, accurate information about those buyers, and the ability to access that intelligence wherever a seller may be.

As AI continues to improve, intelligence will become even more insightful and more actionable. Companies that want to put their sellers in the best possible position to succeed need to give them access to sales intelligence tools that shine a light on the day-to-day actions that can help drive your team’s success.

Ready to see 6sense in action?

The 6sense Team

The 6sense Team