The Future of Intelligent Sales? It’s Personal

Learn how to start personalizing your sales approach to connect with valuable prospects and save time.

November 29, 2016

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Today’s sales reps are drowning in a sea of customer info, and thanks to that deluge of data, sales is getting more complex all the time. But does all that “intelligence” really add up to more deals? For too many sales teams, the answer is no.

So, how do you reduce wasted time while creating more opportunities for valuable buyer interactions? The answer is intelligent selling driven by personalized insights.

It’s all about time management. Automating menial tasks, setting smart alerts in real time, and engaging with prospects armed with actionable messaging gives your sales team more time to prepare. Time to find the right leads; time to prioritize valuable prospects; time to connect with buyers and provide value that builds lasting relationships. In short, the future of intelligent selling means having more time to sell the right way.

Intelligent Selling Is About Sales, Not Data

According to a 2015 CSO Insights report, salespeople only spend about one-third of their time actually selling. That means that instead of interacting and connecting with prospects that generate revenue, today’s sales professionals waste a majority of their day on routine administrative tasks, robotic lead generation tactics, meandering research, and things like travel, corporate training, and meetings. The to-dos that make up the other two-thirds are all important tasks in their own right, but none of them directly result in sales.

Craig Rosenburg, Chief Analyst at TOPO talks about the importance of wasted time:

“Time equals revenue. You have limited opportunities to sell, so you want to spend time on the people who are more likely to respond and ultimately buy. It’s pretty simple. We spend a lot of time working on things that become nothing. Literally. Increasing your odds will increase revenue.”

So how does an intelligent selling “increase your odds?” It removes obstacles and lets you get personal.

Intelligent Selling Is Personalized Selling

Businesses need to rethink their approach to customer data. Leveraging social selling platforms helps remove the three biggest time-sinks facing high performing salespeople, namely: finding quality leads quickly; prioritizing high value prospects; and reaching out with relevant information and messaging. Intelligent sales tools solve all three of these obstacles to connecting with clients that you can actually impact, and therefore sell to.

Find the Right Prospects with Advanced Search

The fastest way to reach the right prospects is to hone your search criteria. LinkedIn’s Advanced Search tool does exactly that. Narrow your search by industry, company, location, or even based on existing relationships via your LinkedIn connections. The power to target leads based on a number of relevant factors gives sales reps the time they need to find and then focus research and messaging on the leads that matter.

Automate Searches

You can take Advanced Search even further by setting up “trigger events” that alert your team to key prospects currently looking for your product or service. Trigger events include a new product launch, company expansion, or a contact getting a promotion or new job.

Intelligent Sellers Exceed Buyer Expectations

Intelligent search tools are great, but intelligent selling is about more than refining search parameters. Today’s consumers expect more from sales reps. Buyers are informed, educated, and ready for you to solve their problems, not parrot your sales pitch. That’s where real-time insights come in.

SiriusDecisions’ Buying Interactions Model reports that “The highest level of reported buyer/seller interaction for all buying scenarios occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey.” Targeting relevant buyers with timely, informed content that addresses their problem is the key to intelligent selling, and reaching out in the communities and forums where your potential customers are looking for answers is an amazing way to save time while adding immeasurable value to the prospecting stage of the buyer journey.

Again, it’s about leveraging existing LinkedIn connections and existing customer data to create the Ideal Customer Profile. An informed ICP lets your sales team reach the right prospects in a timely manner.

Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, has advice for participating earlier in the buyer journey. “Build lists, get alerts to new buying signals and gain insights into who else in your organization has insights or relationships with your target prospects.”

Create a Qualified Prospect Pool

The ability to sift the right prospects from all the white noise with intelligent data is the heart of personalized selling. A robust network full of close connections is invaluable. LinkedIn data shows that “sales reps who exceed quota make 148% more connection requests each month than other sales reps.”

Top performers reach out early and often, and let their strong networks do the heavy lifting down the road. A great way to multiply the power of your sales team’s network is by asking them to connect based on targeted criteria, rather than a “spray and pray” tactic.

What industries should your sales reps focus on? What regions are most important? What types and sizes of companies are prime targets? What job titles should sales reps focus on? Customizing the messaging for not only each lead, but for each individual decision maker within that company will allow you to make meaningful connections with the data at hand. And personalized connections are the key to stronger bottom lines.

Making Intelligence Personal Again

By leveraging LinkedIn and employing intelligent sales tactics, sales reps can deliver personalized years of relevant sales experiences, work smarter, add value during the education phase of the buyer journey, and ensure that their customers are successful.

That’s the key—when your customers thrive, they come back again and again. The future of intelligent selling is about giving your sales team more time to connect with qualified leads, because when you give the right prospects more of your valuable time, the results reflect that attention.

Download How Personalized Selling Unlocks Competitive Advantage today and get your team started down the path of more efficient, more effective personalized selling using today’s top intelligent selling tools and tactics.