Data is the information we see in most contact management (CRM) systems: name, title, address, occupation, phone, email, etc. There might even be some past meeting notes. It’s historical.
Intelligence on the other hand is far more valuable. It offers insights into the client or prospect’s marketplace, their company, their competitors and their decision making process.
Knowing a persons name and title are not enough. Do you know how long he has been at this company (or in this business)? Where did he come from? What are his personal goals and objectives? Do you know the specific projects he is working on, and what the requirements are for him to meet his objectives?
Why would she need your product or service to be successful? If you want her to champion your cause, you have to know her well enough that you can show her why doing so is good for both my organisation, as well as me personally.
Do we have a past?
Do you know about any previous dealings he had with your company? Has he met with your firm before, attended a seminar, seen a demo, maybe even purchased already?
Does she have a favourable opinion of your firm and your offerings, or are there some fences you need to mend before you ask her to look at something new? Without this knowledge, you can miss a chance to leverage a positive or get blindsided by a negative.
Do you know his internal ecosystem?
In the 1990’s, the concept of the economic decision maker was pounded into salespeople. The goal was to find that one person who could ultimately make the decision. If you expect to find that one person you may be sorely disappointed; more often than not, they have to build consensus within their own company to get approval to move ahead with a project or purchase. So do you know how they relate to other functional areas in their business? IT, Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, etc.? Can you help build a case that all stakeholders will support?
Do you know my company?
Ultimately what the prospect wants to do has to be aligned with, and supportive of, what the company needs to do. Are you briefed on what their purpose is as a company; their corporate goals, objectives, and key business strategies? Have there been any recent management or labour changes? How are they performing; what do recent earnings announcement show?
Has there been recent funding/financing/bankruptcy news about the company? Have they made any regulatory or legal announcements recently? Have they engaged in any recent M&As?
Do you clearly understand what they do, and can you articulate the types of challenges they may be encountering that keep executives awake at night? And more importantly, can you relate what you sell directly to what they need to accomplish?
These are just some of the things you should know. Intelligence is really understanding your prospect, their market and their competitors.
The world is changing constantly. Do you know what is happening?