Sales Intelligence for CRMs

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When sales intelligence solutions were first launched twenty year ago, they operated as stand-alone web browser services.  While Customer Relationship Management platforms (CRMs) existed back then, they were behind-the-firewall installations such as Siebel, and the cloud really didn’t exist.  Integrations between CRMs and sales intelligence solutions were rarely seen and were rudimentary due to complexity and security concerns.  In 1999, Marc Benioff left Oracle and founded as a “no software” CRM hosted in the cloud.  Sales and CRMs changed quickly with the launch of SFDC, but sales intelligence operated as a distinct service for nearly another decade.

Salesforce made it much easier for vendors to integrate with their platform when they launched the AppExchange in January 2006.  This was the real point at which various cloud services could partner with Salesforce and create joint value.  As Salesforce is now the leading CRM, sales intelligence vendors generally build their first CRM connectors for the AppExchange.  In the Sales Intelligence category alone, there are 154 AppExchange solutions available.  It would be easy to get lost amongst all the vendors.

That Was Then, This is Now

In 2017, however, any evaluation of a sales intelligence service should include a review of the CRM connector.  Don’t treat CRM connectors as a simple checklist item.  They are critical to the ROI you will enjoy from your Sales Intelligence vendor.  As sales reps now live within CRMs, a proper evaluation of sales intelligence vendors must include an evaluation of the Sales Intelligence vendor’s CRM connector.  This evaluation should include content, functionality, and workflow.


Michael Levy
About the Author
Michael R. Levy, former Manager of Strategy and Competitive Intelligence of Infogroup, is the principal of GZ Consulting, a US market research and competitive intelligence consulting firm. He focuses on information services including sales intelligence, CRM, data hygiene, and marketing automation. Michael is also the author of "2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors".

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