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Sales calls are unpredictable. Members of your sales team can research prospects, map out a script, and read all the training materials they want; however, nothing stops customers from making unexpected objections and driving calls in a different direction than expected.

When engagements don't go according to plan, sales teams must react on the fly.

A full 42% of sales professionals say they feel they don't have enough information going into a sales call. If each of those sellers contacts 10 prospects per day, that's a high volume of conversations for which teams feel underprepared, and they are likely leaving relationships—and the business that comes with those—on the table.

It's not that managers aren't committed enough to helping sales professionals prepare and succeed. Rather, sales teams lack time to complete prospect research, in large part because of the time-consuming manual search process that's still typical across industries.

The right sales technology makes research quick and easy. Sales intelligence tools allow sales teams to streamline operations and effortlessly access in-depth prospect information that goes beyond the basics. Such insights enable sales teams to work together better, reach more prospects in a shorter period of time, and feel more prepared when it's time to engage.

Three Signs It's Time to Invest in Sales Intelligence

For sales teams, growth starts with identifying areas for improvement. The easiest way to pinpoint areas for change is first to identify signs of dysfunction—where a team expresses frustrations, knowledge gaps, and other unmet needs. Then, it's easier to work backward to determine what's causing those problems and how to adjust.

To get started, here are three signs that a sales team would benefit from investing in sales intelligence.

1. The sales team feels disconnected and stressed

Closing a deal can be grueling. Prospects may say they need to talk with other stakeholders before making a decision and then take ages to get back in touch. Or they might challenge pricing. There's no avoiding those difficult conversations, but if typical interactions with prospects are that strenuous, the problem may lie with how the sales team functions.

Unfocused execution throughout the sales process results in lowered team morale, increased stress, and poor communication. Ideally, difficult prospects can serve as a rallying point for a team.

In an office, salespeople would bounce ideas off each other and develop a plan. They'd console teammates after poor calls and celebrate successes. Team-building moments like that are harder to facilitate now that many sales teams work virtually. Sales professionals can feel isolated from each other—physically and practically, such as for sharing best-practices.

2. The sales team wastes time and effort

Poorly managed energy and resources are indicators that a sales team feels disconnected. When that happens, salespeople have to start from scratch with every new prospect. Perhaps they lack access to internal documents and they are forced to spend hours searching for relevant prospect research. There's no momentum built in such an approach, and the time sellers should be spending engaging prospects—and customers—becomes occupied with trivial logistical issues and paperwork.

Adapting on the fly is nearly impossible in such a sales environment. If a salesperson spends a week researching a client, the research from the beginning of the week may already be dated when it's time to reach out. Fresh news about prospects, their competitors, or their industry can change the dynamic of the call and open up opportunities for a faster close.

Timing is key in sales, and if teams are wasting valuable resources as a consequence of internal inefficiencies, it's time to consider how technology can help.

3. The sales team struggles to build and maintain customer relationships

Generating new lead opportunities can be tricky. Teams have to consider factors such as company size, location, and verticals. It's good practice to target companies similar to a team's current roster, but that can be difficult without intelligent data. As they self-evaluate, teams should note how quickly and consistently they're able to identify new potential leads.

Although there's a clear need to focus on new opportunities, teams can't neglect their active roster. Your sales team can strengthen client relationships over time by having access to sales intelligence data that gives them reasons to reach out.

Starting non-sales conversations with prospects can be challenging, but it becomes easier with the right sales intelligence tools.

Smoothing Out the Sales Process With a Sales Intelligence Tool

Running into challenges during the sales process is inevitable, and experiencing the hurdles listed in this article doesn't mean teams are doing a bad job. People are unpredictable, and it takes convincing to get them to sign on the dotted line.

A sales intelligence tool alleviates those headaches. The technology provides a thorough snapshot of current prospects and helps locate new ones. It makes sharing resources simple. It gets rid of inefficiencies.

Preparation is what sets one sales team apart from others. A sales intelligence tool connects teams to the resources required to feel more confident at every sales engagement—even the trickiest ones.

More Resources on Sales Intelligence

The Content Marketer's Approach to Successful Social Selling and Sales Enablement

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies [Infographic]

Managing B2B Customer Data: Who Is a Customer, Anyway?

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image of Derrick Jenkins

Derrick Jenkins is the head of marketing at Owler, a community-based business information and insights platform. He has nearly 10 years of sales and marketing experience, and he is an expert in data, industry trends, and transforming business insights into innovative outcomes.

LinkedIn: Derrick Jenkins