What to look out for when evaluating new sales intelligence software

Evaluating new sales intelligence software to help with sales prospecting and customer engagement?

“Too much data, not enough intelligence”

is a problem businesses continue to grapple with, and it’s not hard to see why.

With around 1.5 billion conversations an hour on social media platforms and 30 million pieces of content flying around the internet at any given time, simply having access to vast quantities of data about markets, customers and competitors is not enough.

It may be easy to pull data, but this overload makes analysing intelligence, extracting understanding and gleaning actionable insight a massive, but vital, undertaking.

It is not surprising then that making use of sales and market intelligence software is increasingly moving its way up the boardroom agenda. But, as with any large and complex business purchase, this too requires a huge amount of research.

So how can you filter through the good, the bad and the ugly of intelligence software?

Proactive behaviour – tools should make life easier, not harder, in completely new ways. A best-in-class tool should allow you to personalise your instance based on your needs – enabling you to tag content, rank it for relevance and highlight key triggers. It should also deliver email alerts to you at the start of the working day, real-time insights the moment they happen, and proactively suggest other companies and markets that might be relevant.

Get Social – there is much more to customer curiosity than following prospects on Twitter, but social media shouldn’t be underestimated as a rich insight source. Any tool worth its salt will tap into the Twitter firehose and integrate with LinkedIn to deliver detailed company information and updates for real-time, easy to action engagement.

Cut through the noise – your software should automatically amalgamate and organise data based on companies, verticals, and geographic area, to make it easier to use, generate insight, and refer to information when engaging prospects. It should highlight spikes in news, bookmark content, and create calendar entries to help you prioritise and act on insights at the perfect moment in time.

Fuel your curiosity – uncovering news articles relevant to your business or market is a great way to build understanding. Look for intelligence software that not only delivers real-time insight, at least every 60 seconds, but allows you to filter and assign news stories by topic, customer and relevance.

Never miss a beat – monitoring topics for changes only works if it is thorough. Your software should never miss an important news article covering a merger & acquisition simply because of the ampersand. You can avoid this by checking it provides a taxonomy of news topics, as well as the ability to create your own, and a useful snapshot or tag cloud to help you identify and focus on the most talked-about topics at any given moment in time.

Insight on the go – you are not tied to the office, so neither should your tool be. Make sure it is available on mobile and tablet devices, with push notifications and email alerts to keep staff in the loop. Best-in-class tools will have customised applications designed specifically for mobile productivity on your device of choice.

Meeting ready – customer engagement doesn’t just happen online – at some point, you’ll go and meet the prospect or client. Your intelligence software should help you prepare for meetings and be up-to-date right up to the second you walk through the meeting room door. It should gather all relevant data into a company brief that you can take with you, and even better allow you to access this information on the move and share it with colleagues and other attendees for improved collaboration.

Boost your status – your software should actively help you improve and hone your skills by measuring success across a range of best practice metrics, delivering a library of resources and training opportunities, and guidance to improve your behaviours.

Feel supported – look for a solution that is more than just an out-of-the-tin offering. Those with a managed service level will ensure your needs are met on a continued basis, and that it delivers a great ongoing ROI.

Social Proof – a great way to ensure you’re buying the best tool is to look to those around you for proof that your inclinations are correct. Recommendations and positive feedback from trusted sources, such as user reviews on G2Crowd, deliver the all-important layer of transparency and detail you need when evaluating the options available to you.

Would you buy a new car without doing the research and reading the customer reviews? Probably not.

Want to know how Artesian measures up?

Take a look at our 5 star reviews on G2Crowd’s software intelligence grid. Even better, if you love Artesian then share your experience on G2Crowd and help make others’ decision making process easier.