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About This Episode
Account intelligence is usually a term associated with marketing, not sales. Marketing collects details on a prospective buyer—what new projects they have, company growth, new teams, etc., and sales never sees the information. Doesn’t that sound like valuable intel for sales to have?
We think so too.
So does Alex Greer, CEO of Signal HQ. He founded the company in 2018 to give sellers the ability to see when buyers are looking to purchase solutions. He cares so much about this because he’s been on the other side during his 10-year sales career: Alex managed regional sales all the way to global sales teams at Cloudera, Medallia, and Lucifer Lighting.
He would have loved to know when his prospects were ready to buy. Now, he’s sharing that information with the world at Signal HQ, and he gave away some of his best tips on our Sales Engagement podcast.
We caught it all right here.
Account Intel: Every Sales Person Should Be the CMO of Their Region
Alex broke down the basics of account intelligence in about 60 seconds, including why it’s important for sales to have:
Most buyers take a path with each of these steps before submitting contact info to a vendor to ask questions a product:
- Finance — An organization finances a project.
- Project Initiative — The project is announced internally.
- Assemble Team — People are promoted internally, and/or people are hired externally.
- Research — Content, thought leadership, etc.
- Engage Solution Provider(s) — This is the point at which a buyer contacts vendors.
As a salesperson, waiting for inbound leads means you are waiting until the buyer is on step 5.
Account intelligence is having the information on when a buyer is at an earlier step so you can engage them to ensure you capture their attention. Without the intelligence, you are left to hope the buyer researches and finds you.
What keeps salespeople up at night is contemplating how many buyers could have used their product, but they never heard of their company. Account intel is all about helping those sales people get better sleep.
Two Free Google Tools to Gain Incredible Insight Into Your Buyers
Go back to that 5-step process. Check out step #3 — Assemble Team. When companies announce a new project, they put together talent. Almost always, this will require engaging with new hires.
This is where Alex’s skills feel sort of James Bond-esque.
He has two amazing hacks to understanding when companies are in this phase of their project, and they’re both totally free:
Google Alerts, and Google Jobs.
Jobs are one of the few things companies are completely transparent about. When a new project is initiated that requires new talent, companies post exactly what they are looking for — what department, the skills needed, and, often, they will even put the project name in the job posting.
This is incredibly useful, as it’s one of the most telling aspects of what project a company is currently focusing on.
Taking it up a notch, Alex uses Google Alerts to specific alerts for companies when any new content gets pushed about them on the web. Say you sell artificial intelligence, and XYZ Laser Company is a potential buyer. You can set a Google Alert to tell you anytime there is movement in cyberspace that includes XYZ Laser Company and the term AI.
This is extremely useful because of the specificity you can design around these alerts. (One tip here: You’ll want to become a pro at using Boolean search to narrow down those Google Alerts to the most limited searches you can organize.)
Last thought: Reprioritize Your Accounts
Here’s where Alex says a lot of companies go off track — it’s in the way they prioritize.
Typically, sellers think of an A, B, C, approach. Where A is their dream client, say Disney or HP, or a company that would especially find value in the product you are selling. B and C accounts often are left out of the equation.
Here’s the issue with this type of prioritization: Alex says you could be totally missing the key indicators of when a company is looking to buy. What’s more important is what a company’s current goals are, and what they’re next move is.
He’s not saying to toss all your tier 1 accounts, he’s just saying to layer on account intel to drive your engagement.
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