In the third installment of “Mastering Your D365 Data Before it Masters You,” on which I’m collaborating with my friends at InsideView, we dug into harnessing the power of sales intelligence.

While preparing the class materials, I took some time to reflect on the value of intelligence, which is the information we glean from data. Intelligence is always what generates the Returns on Investments (ROI) we get from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. In the case of sales intelligence, it’s the information that drives revenue and sellers’ productivity.

Salespeople love it, too. Why? Let’s take a lesson from Greek mythology.

Sellers: The Modern Sisyphus

In a recent study, CSO Insights found that 70 per cent of a seller’s time is spent – well, not selling.

In my experience, most of that wasted time is eaten up trying to make sense of poor data or searching for information that’s missing. From scouring files for contact information to punching data into a CRM, sales teams spend a great deal of time pushing digital boulders up virtual hills.

Having a system that automatically updates your CRM data and augments it with sales intelligence is a boon to productivity. Your sellers spend less time on administrative tasks and have the data they need when they need it, which leads to higher quota attainment and improved win rates – that’s just a fact.

So, when we talk about a sales data strategy, we’re really discussing a model that manages data quality and makes intelligence accessible to sellers who need clean, complete data throughout their entire selling process. They need it for sales prep, during the sales motion, and to plan their next sales activities. Let’s take a look at a case study from our recent TechTalk.

PPG: A Sales Intelligence Case Study

During our session, InsideView Director of Product Management and UX, Stephanie Springer, and I walked through a workflow for a sales rep who had done business with PPG – a Fortune 500 paints and coatings supplier – and was looking to build relationships within the broader industry.

To get started, our fictional sales rep, who I’ll name Alex, opened InsideView within Dynamics 365. Then, Alex got to work.

Step 1: Exploration

Alex popped open InsideView and pulled up PPG from within its database. Looking at PPG’s account, Alex saw dozens of organizations that are associated with the company, then dug in, reading up on the subsidiaries’ businesses with eyes on their financials and their people.

Step 2: Mining

Alex took the information – the accounts and contacts – and sync’d it into their D365 system in just a couple of clicks. Now that they had a wealth of accurate, actionable information, Alex felt comfortable engaging with the industry. They mapped out a strategy for contacting these dozens of rock-solid prospects, feeling informed and empowered.

Step 3: Going Chrome

Alex had also installed the free InsideView browser extension addon into Chrome.

When Alex googled one of the companies, the wealth of data contained within the InsideView platform was immediately accessible within Alex’s browser window. If Alex hadn’t already sync’d the company and its details into D365, they would have been able to do so with the browser extension.

We know sellers don’t really live within CRM, so imagine being able to provide your sellers with complete sales intelligence wherever they browse and being able to push that data into D365 to eliminate labor-intensive, error-prone manual data entry. That’s a seller’s and CRM Admin’s dream!

Alex’s Advantages

Our fictional sales rep shortened and streamlined a typically time-consuming, morale-draining task by harnessing the power of sales intelligence. They found their ideal prospects, discovered insights to inform their conversations, and felt confident that their prospects’ contact information was accurate and up-to-date.

Best of all, the number of prospects in Alex’s pipeline had increased significantly, which would lead to higher long-term sales growth.

Alex’s managers received accurate data about Alex’s prospects, which improved the managers’ forecasting reports. And they sent the data off to the marketing team, who began using  it in their next prospecting campaign.

About InsideView

InsideView’s team has built sophisticated tools that help us clean, maintain, and augment our CRM data.  

Because their platform pulls and validates data from over 40,000 sources, InsideView’s tools help us identify the insights and connections within customer and prospect organizations that deliver the highest ROI. With all that information, we can make better-informed, more impactful decisions, and do so in record time.

Keep On Learning

I think the series I’ve been doing with InsideView has tremendous value to help you maximize your CRM’s ROI from lead management to account management, and through to customer service. To learn more, check out all three sessions on demand.


About the Author: Rick McCutcheon, Dynamics 365 Solutions MVP

Rick has been involved with the technology industry for over 20 years as a company founder, senior executive, board member, and educator. Microsoft has awarded him with the MVP Designation for Customer Engagement (CRM) six times. As a professional speaker and workshop leader, he has travelled globally to deliver practical yet innovative messages on the “Digital Transformation of the Business” to thousands of professionals. For more information please go to his LinkedIn Profile.