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How Relationship Intelligence Is Accelerating Sales

How can successful sales organizations gather and leverage relationship intelligence more efficiently?

sales exec on phone while looking at relationship intelligence einstein insights sales
Sales executive on the phone while looking at his laptop [fizkes/Shutterstock]

Sales is all about understanding your customer, so you can connect with them. Your customer data is your most important sales resource. This includes everything from their experience with your business to their relationship networks. Knowing that network can transform your sales effort. Secure a warm introduction or provide the right offer at the right time, and you’ll sell more, faster.

This isn’t a new concept, but these days it goes by a new name: “relationship intelligence.” A new name is fair though, considering how far our ability to capture, analyze, and use the data in question has come. Want to learn more? Keep reading to understand how relationship intelligence tools can help you.

Accelerating sales with relationship intelligence tools

Salespeople spend less than 36% of their time actually selling. Why? To be effective in selling, they need to research prospects and accounts. They need to know if the prospect influences decisions. They need to know whether they share contacts with the prospect. They need to know what problem their product or service solves for the prospect. But before they can get into that, they need to understand the prospect’s industry and company.

This research takes a tremendous amount of time. Salespeople dig through customer relationship management systems (CRMs), Google, LinkedIn, news articles, internal documents, external documents, productivity apps, and other data sources.

Of course, they could skip this time-consuming effort and opt for cold contacts. But businesses recognize that cold contacts are ineffective. We live in an age of personalized customer experiences, and the old ways are less effective. Case in point, Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch recently banned brokers from making any cold calls. Their statistics show less than 2% of people even answer those calls, let alone take action.

Successful sales organizations know relationship intelligence is the secret to reaching key decision-makers. And by keeping all the data in their CRM, the whole organization can access it from anywhere and anytime. But, how can they gather and leverage intelligence more efficiently?

Many businesses are adding artificial intelligence (AI) to the mix. AI searches their CRM for relevant prospect insights. And, it pulls in new external data and insights. New AI tools can scour search engines, social profiles, news articles, and more. It automatically identifies connections with, and insights about, prospects. Who did they go to school with? Whom have they worked with? What projects have they led? What values do they champion? Any one of those details could lay the groundwork for a deeper, more personal connection. And, it helps salespeople create a more compelling pitch that leads to a larger sale in less time.

Amplify the impact of AI-powered relationship intelligence tools with your CRM

They can amplify the impact by bringing everything they find into the CRM. Again, this allows the entire sales team to immediately access this information.

In summary, AI-powered relationship intelligence tools provide incredible value, including:

  • Disparate Data Analysis: Find unanticipated relationships with data gleaned from search engines, social profiles, news articles, external documents, and more.
  • Network Analysis: View key connections in your network, as well as sources that define the relationship.
  • CRM Enhancement: Enrich contact records with relationship data in real-time, right within your CRM.

The net result? According to the Harvard Business Review, a 50% increase in leads and appointments. And when your salespeople can open doors they didn’t know were there, they can close more deals than ever.

Salesforce spotlight: Introducing Einstein Relationship Insights

Salesforce’s Einstein Relationship Insights (ERI), delivers on all of the above. And it goes beyond the basics in key ways:

  • Unstructured Data Analysis: ERI explores all relevant data sources by automatically reading natural language, which means it understands unstructured data like news articles mentioning two people together.
  • Native Design: ERI efficiently pulls external data directly into your CRM as you work.  ERI connects the dots for you, so you can quickly see the big picture.
  • Contextual Learning: ERI shows you the key passages of text that explain how your prospects and contacts know each other – it’s your personal research analyst.

Relationship intelligence represents a new generation of customer data collection and use. Harnessing that power is the key to driving sales and business growth.

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