Sales people are a key resource in any market intelligence organization
From a competitive watch point of view, sales people are in a unique and special position. They are in the right place to get information from the field that you will never find on the web: prices updates, future marketing operations, current strengths / weaknesses, etc
In addition for customer intelligence, they are driven by specific needs. Sales people are always on the look out for information related to their key customers in order to find new business opportunities. They are highly receptive to new leads that they can then convert into customers.
Step 1: Setup watchlists for your sales people
The Watchlist is a personalizable newsletter sent by email to end users. Using the watchlist will empower your sales people to:
- customize the content of their newsletter to meet their specific sales needs and objectives
- comment or add information on the fly, from their mobile device, wherever they are
The role of intelligence managers here is to aid and facilitate the distribution of key information by selecting which topics sales reps can subscribe to. It is possible to set up a Watchlist for each sales rep. Make sure at least the following topics are available for them:
- key customers updates : new projects, new investments, HR Moves...
- key competitors products updates
Intelligence managers can get detailed usage statistics of newsletters. This is an important part of the process because sales reps need a high level of personalization regarding intelligence and the statistics will indicate how well you are satisfying this need. Use the built-in statistics of Watchlists to ensure your end users are effectively exploiting the content and if this is not the case, do not hesitate to ask how you can adapt the content to better fulfill their needs. Ask which events they think are possible sales triggers. For example, one sales rep in charge of selling industrial equipments to factories might be highly interested to hear about new investments in competitors’ facilities.
Step 2: Share Dashboards and Profiles
A Digimind Shared Dashboard is a great way to create a dedicated sales reps’ portal. You will be able to centralize here all the data your sales people will be looking for on a regular basis regarding competitors, customers or markets. One tab should be dedicated to each key topic and will enable them to see the most recent updates in order to always stay ahead of the competition and their sales force.
The Profile Manager tool will give users the possibility to benchmark competitors’ products against their own and get access to:
- Strengths and weaknesses on competitors’ products
- Win / Loss analysis
- technical data comparison
- latest social media updates
- latest brochures/documentation
- and any other information you feel is specific to your market segment
Depending on how your company is organised, you may want to display the Profiles on a shared dashboard.
Step 3: Animate the intelligence process
This is obviously a two-way process which needs to be put in place and then nurtured.
Invite your sales team to share their comments and send their feedback on a regular basis. Either through the watchlist or by using Easytrack, make it easy for them to participate in the intelligence gathering process. Some companies even set up a specific phone number ( an Intelligence Hot Line) to collate information at any time.
Celebrate victories. Each time someone brings in relevant information that can lead to closing a new sale or help the selling process, let other people know about it. Let your success stories spread across the company and generate their own momentum.
Reward those who send feedback and information from the field. Depending on the culture and style of your company find a way of giving them their due recognition. You could create internal stars by putting their pictures in the internal journal or set up employee of the month awards.
Make it fun and entertaining. Set up some serious games to motivate people bringing relevant information.
Listen to and learn from your sales team
Review what you’ve created together and check from time to time that you are providing them with the information they feel they need. Use the special position of the sales team and their specific needs as a guide for your own intelligence process. If you keep them happy, they’ll come back for more.