I love analogies. Analogies help people understand complex ideas, especially ones where they have low familiarity. Marketing and sales intelligence is a concept that could benefit from an analogy. Even if it isn't perfect, a comparison that works on multiple levels is with Google's search engine.
Google Transformed Search Engines
I remember being blown away by Google when I first starting using the search engine because it was so much better at finding the best website for my search query. Search before Google was laborious. It was a common occurance to go through ten pages of results to manually find the one I thought that would be most relevant based on the title descriptions in the results. I was very excited when the Dogpile search engine was launched, not because it returned better results, it just returned more results from multiple search engines. I would literally look at hundreds of results to find the best one. Google changed all of that and keeps getting better. The first result may not always be the best for my search, but will certainly be very relevant and it is very, very rare for me to go beyond the first 3 search engine result pages.
Sales and marketing today are like search engines pre-Google. The marketer sends out millions of emails or hundreds of thousands of direct mail pieces to try to find potential customers. Sales teams have quotas of 50 or 100 calls per day to locate the next lead. These practices are just like scrolling through 20 pages of search engine result pages to find the best webpage. Why? Why are we sifting through millions of prospects to find deals? Why can't we do what Google did and use data and technology to find the best prospects?
The Technology Does Exist
With sales and marketing intelligence, RainKing has done for sales what Google did for the web. Intelligence plays the same role in finding the best prospect for your next deal. The reason this analogy is so powerful is that both Google and sales intelligence combine data with technology to find the best result. Google's search engine is built upon its massive database of indexed websites and other online transactions. This data helps build a rich understanding of what each website is about and in what context a user would want to see that website. The data Google uses is much greater than simply a website listing. Google is now incorporating data such as previous searches, location, user engagement, recent news, similar websites and competitors etc...
But it isn't just the data that makes Google's search engine so powerful. The technology aggregates all of that data, computes the best results and returns them almost instantly (or pushes them to you via Google Now). I am often amazed at Google's ability to surface what I am looking for based on my context. The data and technology combine to find the websites and content that are the most likely to answer my question.
RainKing's intelligence platform operates in the exact same manner, except that it returns the best prospects rather than websites. RainKing has the raw data on over 1 million person profiles and over 60,000 companies, but the dataset is much more robust than basic company and contact information. Through its research team, RainKing knows what prospects are in market for a solution, what prospects have allocated budgets and what prospects are experiencing pain points. Essentially we know who has a need.
RainKing also has the correct contact information for the decision-makers at the company with the need. We know who the primary decision-maker is, how to contact them, and what other colleagues will likely be involved in making the decision.
We then use our intelligence technology to actively search for those buyers who are in market and that meet your target buyer persona. Our intelligence platform processes thousands of data points to find the ideal matches. We can look at company growth, employee count, budgets, stock price, competitors, technologies in use, news etc... to help you find your ideal targets. Now all of a sudden, you have gone from a list of one million names, to a curated list of decision-makers with verified contact information all of whom have said they are looking for a solution. This competely changes how you do your sales and marketing.
Intelligent Marketing: Go Beyond Inbound vs Outbound
Inbound marketing has gained great traction within marketing departments in recent years and with good reason; the process delivers prospects who have expressed a defined need, have been vetted by key criteria and with verified contact information. But sales and marketing intelligence also delivers prospects who have expressed a defined need, have been vetted and with verified contact information, plus at a lower cost per acquisition. This fact eliminates the distinction between inbound and outbound and allows us to introduce the concept of intelligent marketing, where it no longer matters what direction or channel the lead is coming from, instead we are using intelligence to make every sales and marketing transaction smarter, more effective and more efficient. Intelligence turbocharges the entire marketing process and aligns sales and marketing teams. We will cover more on intelligent marketing in coming posts, but for now it is sufficient to say through intelligence we are evolving beyond the old paradigm of sales and marketing.
Intelligence Wows Just Like Google
To close, I want to share one example of how sales intelligence is evolving how companies do marketing. When we demonstrate our intelligence platform to our prospects, we use our actual system and query based on the prospect's actual personas. On one demo, our sales team was showing a large technology prospect how we can find prospects for them who have expressed a need for a specific solution. The sales person builds a persona based on the prospect's criteria and hits search. When the results come back, the prospect says somewhat dismissively, "Those results are not very good, one of the companies in the top five is one of our largest and most loyal customers. They don't have a need." The next day the prospect called the sales person who was giving the demo and said, "I have to apologize, I spoke with the customer and they have been looking for a product to replace us, but never let us know. We are blown away by RainKing." We signed that prospect that same month.
That is the power of intelligent marketing.