Using “Big Data” to Prospect in 2015

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Over the past 2-3 years we have seen the sales tool space explode. Entrepreneurs are diving head first and starting all sorts of companies aimed at making sales efforts more effective and efficient. Some of these new companies are creating noise and being driven by founders who don’t really understand selling, however there are a few very cool companies being built by highly qualified teams that absolutely get it. Below are some of the best ones we’ve seen.

I know that “big data” is disgustingly jargony but I’m gonna use it and say that new companies like Datanyze, SpiderBook, FlipTop, SalesIntel and GageIn are doing very cool things to help us sales people prospect more effectively. Not to mention the not-as-new StackLead, which was recently acquired by LinkedIn.

Tapping into big data sources allows you to do a few things.

  • Listen to “signals” within the market that are related to your prospects. These might be IPOs, fund raising, hires/fires, product announcements, etc.
  • Identify characteristics or attributes that are consistent across your most and/or least profitable customers. A good example of this is being able to identify certain technologies that are used by your most profitable customers (also known as your ideal customer profile). This will allow you to pre-qualify prospects even before speaking with them.
  • Rank leads within your CRM. This helps your sales reps figure out which leads to prioritize.

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SpiderBook, Datanyze, SalesIntel and GageIn are great outbound prospecting resources that have their own interfaces. Although they do integrate into Salesforce.com, these tools are largely used outside of the CRM. FlipTop is known for it’s ability to take your existing CRM data and rank it within Salesforce.com.

SpiderBook also recently announced its new service, SpiderLeads, which uses data science to send you sales qualified leads that they say close 10x more than any other lead source. It basically does the work for you of gathering important prospect data and sends it to you in a nice little package.

GageIn provides real-time news about your prospects to help you be the first one to call the buyer with a compelling reason. For more, check out our interview with GageIn’s CMO, Richard Dym.

SalesIntel is an interesting new player in the prospecting market. Their tool allows you to benefit from the collective intelligence of human beings with respect to sales knowledge. They accomplish this by teaming you up with non-competitors who are calling on the same customers as you.

Recommended Activity: 

Task: Sit down with your sales reps, managers, and or co-founders and brainstorm around what “signals” would be meaningful to monitor. Also discuss whether there are certain technologies that your best customers use and discuss if any of these technologies have strategic influence on your product being used.

A good example of this is if you’re selling a marketing automation system, you might notice that your customers largely use Google Analytics and Salesforce.com. Moving forward, you might want to use a system like Datanyze to be able to identify prospects that use these technologies and create a prospect segment labelled appropriately.

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The more you know about your prospects beyond just the usual geography, titles, revenue, etc — the better and more successful you will be when prospecting and then ultimately closing deals.

Look into some of these tools to see which of them may help you accelerate your sales and ask around in your network to see what others are using.

If you’re using a sales data tool that you love and we didn’t mention it here, tweet us @sales4_startups with the hash tag #salestools2015 and we’ll add it to the list!

 

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