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3 Ways Sales Can Use a CDP to Improve Account-Based Selling

This post was originally featured in Sales Hacker.

Customer data platform (often called CDP) isn’t a term you hear very often — especially outside of marketing. In truth, it’s a relatively new addition to the MarTech landscape.

Among marketers, CDPs are the go-to tool for personalizing the customer journey, creating granular segments and developing a 360-degree view of customer interactions with the brand.

All good, right?

Along the way, Sales has been a fortunate beneficiary of everything a good CDP has to offer.

In fact, many sales teams have uncovered significant value using their organization’s CDP to execute on account-based selling initiatives. Keep reading to uncover three ways your sales team can do the same.

  1. Introduce real-time alerts
  2. Provide context for more intelligent conversations
  3. Improve account qualification and warm lead generation

#1: Introduce Real-Time Alerts

The top deal-killer in B2B sales? Time.

To keep deals alive, you need to prioritize speed throughout the sales cycle. One of the best ways to do so is by introducing real-time alerts that notify reps when accounts reach certain milestones.

For example, one B2B SaaS company needed an easy way for its sales team to track product usage among prospects. They wanted reps to be able to reach out immediately once an account hit a threshold signifying a strong intent to buy.

To accomplish this objective, the company used its CDP to aggregate product usage data and push notifications directly to sales reps in Slack when their accounts hit the threshold.

How to make it happen

You can use a CDP to introduce this type of real-time alert on any kind of “memorable moment.” It’s simply a matter of creating a rule so the tool listens for a certain activity and then pushes an alert to the channel of your choice.

The key to doing this well is making sure activity rolls up to an account while keeping the individual user’s data intact as well.

  • Top signals on which to create alerts include:
  • Viewing the pricing page of your website
  • Hitting certain levels of usage or visits to gated features on freemium products
  • Starting a free trial
  • Visiting multiple website pages in one day

#2: Provide Context for More Intelligent Conversations

Sales teams typically live in their go-to sales tools — usually a sales enablement tool like Outreach or a CRM like Salesforce. But marketing teams have a lot of insightful information on prospects living inside their marketing automation tool (e.g., Marketo or HubSpot).

But why the separation?

This information is invaluable to sales teams — giving them deep customer insights to have more intelligent conversations with prospects, quickly deepen relationships, and speed up sales cycles. Specifically, organizations that equip their sales team with rich information on prospects (without them having to hunt it down) will be more efficient, productive and effective in the long run.

For Criteria Corp, a B2B SaaS company, used a CDP to provide their sales team important data from Hubspot. The result? More informed and relevant conversations that helped accelerate the average lead-to-meeting time.

Making this data readily available also dramatically reduced the amount of time the team previously spent researching accounts.

How to make it happen

Arm your sales team with the data they need to have more intelligent conversations with prospects. Use a CDP to combine data from marketing automation platforms and other tools. Then make those insights accessible in the sales enablement and CRM solutions used by Sales every day.

Critical data to aggregate includes:

  • How many individuals within a single account are engaging with marketing content (and the content with which they’re engaging)
  • When accounts start a trial (and which contact within the account did so)
  • Which contacts are already engaged with SDRs or sales reps (to avoid duplicate touches by the other team)

#3: Improve Account Qualification & Warm Lead Generation

For a lot of organizations, cracking the code on who to target could mean the difference between thousands of dollars in revenue and hours of wasted effort.

I recently spoke with one organization that decided to target the people who have already been on their website and clicked around but haven’t converted.

Using their CDP, the sales team was able to track website visitors and tie them to a specific domain through a reverse IP lookup. Once they had the domain names, they used a data enrichment provider like Datanyze and Clearbit to append and enrich the domain with company name, size, industry, etc.

From this list, they prioritized companies that fit size and industry criteria and made educated guesses on who within each company was most likely visiting their website based on typical buyer personas.

Finally, they used Clearbit Prospector to find contact information for those individuals and sent them a few outbound emails as an attempt to re-spark interest. Notably, the emails they sent through this “Warm Web Visitor” campaign garnered a reply rate that was nearly 4x higher than their standard, cold emails.

How to make it happen

You can use a CDP to track any combination of intent and fit data to help improve account qualification and lead generation so your sales team knows where to focus their efforts. Top ideas for powering this type of campaign include:

  • Identify and re-engage recent qualified website visitors through an automated email campaign.
  • Fast-track pre-qualified leads who sign up for a trial or demo by allowing them to schedule their own meetings with sales (rather than having to wait for sales to follow up).
  • Determine areas of interest, based on the topics of content they engage with.
  • Follow up with relevant messaging/offers through an automated campaign.

Don’t Let Marketing Steal All the CDP Fun

CDPs are proving to be a versatile technology for both marketing and sales. Even the most sophisticated organizations are still just scraping the surface of the value they can provide.

Sure, CDPs are typically owned and operated by marketers, but sales teams can benefit from these platforms in many different ways.

In particular, as account-based selling continues to grow in importance among B2B companies, the ability of a CDP to aggregate data across systems, improve data accessibility and automate key interactions holds enormous promise.

Going forward, best-in-class sales teams will tap the power of a CDP to improve targeting and build deeper relationships that help close deals faster and increase deal size.

Stefan koenig
Stefan Koenig

Stefan is the Co-Founder and COO of Hull.