The Future of Sales: Navigating Change with Next-Gen Tools and Intent Data

intent data

Ever feel like selling is becoming more challenging by the day? You’re not alone. The game has changed, with more and more buyers doing research outside the typical sales process. Add in economic ups and downs, and you’ve got a real sales rollercoaster.  

So, what’s happening? Well, SDR-generated pipelines are taking a hit, but guess what’s booming? Sales intelligence tools! In fact, 43% of salespeople made use of sales intelligence tools and intent data in 2023, a 54% increase from two years ago.  

Despite all the changes, the core of sales remains the same: information is the ultimate weapon. Back in the day, it was merely a rolodex for cold calling. Today, despite the wealth of online information, many salespeople still find themselves manually researching accounts, enriching contacts, and identifying intent. So, how are sales organizations navigating these uncharted territories?  

Leveraging Next-Generation Tools for Sales Intent Data 

One of the biggest game changers in selling is the information now available to sales – intent data and contact/account data. Sales teams can get access to key information, such as what an account is actively researching across the web, as well as the contact information for key stakeholders within their accounts by using intent data and contact enrichment tools. 

What is Intent Data? 

Intent data is account-level signals that indicate interest in topics derived from three source types: 

  • First-party intent: data from your owned and operated properties such as website analytics, email data, or form fills. 
  • Second-party intent: data from a provider that has a direct relationship with the user, such as software review sites. Data may include category intent, competitor views, or content downloads on their sites. 
  • Third-party intent: data from sources where the provider has an indirect relationship with users. Data is collected through advertising networks or data co-ops such as Bombora and is accessible via content category or keyword. 

The Future of Sales: Navigating Change with Next-Gen Tools and Intent Data

Intent data can help sales teams by showing where their accounts are actively demonstrating interest. This allows reps to speak directly to what service areas their accounts are researching and prioritize account outreach based on that intent level.

Your Intent Data Should be Three Things… 

Intent data provides signals indicating an account’s interest in specific topics derived from first-party, second-party, and third-party sources. This data helps sellers connect with buyers before traditional follow-ups, addressing the hesitancy of some buyers to download content due to anticipated sales follow-ups. 

  1. Accessible: Time sensitivity is crucial, requiring quick action on intent signals to align with the buyer’s decision stage. 
  2. Actionable: Define clear plays based on intent data signals to effectively incorporate them into daily sales activities. 
  3. Contextualized: Prioritize accounts based on contextualized intent data, accounting for company size, signal history, and volume. 

Intent Data Use Cases: Let’s Break It Down 

Imagine having the lowdown on what accounts are actively researching online. That’s the magic of intent data. It’s like having a secret weapon to connect with buyers before they’re bombarded with sales pitches.  

We live in a time where buyers want to do independent research, and they want to do it alone. In fact, 29% of buyers are hesitant to download content because they don’t want sales follow-up. Intent data is a powerful tool to identify buying groups that have not contacted sales.  

On average, companies emit 32 intent signals before they buy, so having this data helps your teams follow their activity without bothering or reaching out to that curious but hesitant prospect. 

The Future of Sales: Navigating Change with Next-Gen Tools and Intent Data

Intent data gives sellers a chance to connect with buyers before it’s too late so they can: 

  • Discover and Engage: Get ahead of the game by identifying and engaging with active buying teams before your competitors do. 
  • Expand Deals and Accounts: Know what your accounts are itching to buy and tailor your outreach accordingly. 
  • De-risk with Competitive Signals: Keep an eye on competitors and swoop in when it’s time to shine. 

Next-Generation Prospecting with SugarCRM and Foundry 

Foundry for Sugar Sell enhances sales prospecting in SugarCRM with AI-based Smart Scores, focusing on the right accounts and getting into deals earlier. The benefits include increased conversion rates, reduced time on manual contact selection, and early entry into purchase conversations. Foundry for Sugar Sell can also help your teams to: 

The Future of Sales: Navigating Change with Next-Gen Tools and Intent Data

Focus on the Right Accounts 

Stop wasting time on accounts that aren’t ready to buy. Foundry’s AI-based Smart Score finds the accounts most likely to buy and tees them up for sales prospecting. This takes out the guesswork for your sales team, allowing them to focus on accounts that will move through the pipeline quickly and convert to closed business. 


  • 20% lift in conversion rates from prospecting 
  • 25% less time spent on manual contact selection 

Get into Deals Earlier 

Don’t be the last one getting into the purchase conversations. At its core, Foundry is built on an AI machine-learning engine that fuels predictive intent data. This ensures you join each purchase conversation early with detailed insights on what the buyer needs. 


  • 45+ days earlier into accounts compared to waiting for form fills 
  • 20% reduction in time-to-close when sales and marketing align on messaging 
  • Automate workflows right in your CRM

“We can now use our data elements to build dashboards and reports with Triblio Smart Score to create a holistic view for sales directly within Sugar.” 

  – Jason Rushforth, SVP and GM, SugarCRM Americas 

Success Story: $9.9 Million in Influenced Pipeline with SugarCRM’s ABM Formula 

SugarCRM leverages Foundry ABM, Bombora Surge Topics, and G2 intent data signals to identify in-market accounts early. The integration of Foundry’s ABM Analytics Module, SugarCRM alerts, and personalized dashboards empowers sales and marketing to collaborate seamlessly, optimizing conversations and nurturing accounts effectively.  

The sales team uses Foundry’s ABM Analytics Module embedded directly into Sugar as well as Orchestration ABM Solution alerts and personalized Sugar dashboards to inform their sales plays and outreach strategies. These insights enable sales to optimize initial conversations with hot accounts and allow marketing to properly nurture existing accounts with personalized digital experiences. 

This has resulted in: 

  • 9.9M in influenced pipeline attribution from ABM 
  • 2.8M in pipeline in the first quarter alone 
  • 60% of targeted accounts engaged 

In conclusion, the sales landscape has evolved, but the essence of successful selling remains rooted in information. Embracing next-generation tools, particularly leveraging intent data, is crucial for staying competitive and driving success in modern sales. 

Want to learn more about the current state of selling and how sales teams can leverage next-generation prospecting tools and tactics to compete in noisy, crowded markets? Check out SugarCRM and Foundry’s recent guide, “Next-Generation Prospecting: Delivering on the Promises Made to Sales”.  

Emily Jahn
Emily Jahn Emily is the Manager of Content Marketing at SugarCRM with years of experience working in the SaaS industry. Her strong suits include long-form and short-form content creation, SEO-optimized writing, and editorial planning and promotion. When she's not reading, writing, or editing, Emily enjoys everything the outside world has to offer—hiking, camping, backpacking, and most importantly, skiing!

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