It seems like just yesterday that Phoebe and her giant cell phone rose to fame on “Friends.” Admit it – you still watch and you still marvel at how far we’ve come in such a (relatively) short period of time. From brick phones to flip phones to the ubiquitous business blackberry to the app-enabled smartphones, the transformation of the cell phone has quite literally transformed the way we live, work, and play.

Around the same time “Friends” was ending and we were all discovering cell phone thumb pain for the first time, I took my first job in the sales intelligence industry. In the last 10 years or so, the evolution of this space has been equally unprecedented. In the early 2000’s, sales and marketing teams began investing in intelligence products designed to help them sell and market more strategically. These tools were initially viewed as “add-ons” to automation systems, and they ranged from in-depth company profiles written by teams of editors to large databases of simple contact information to research-based buying trigger insights. Over time, these solutions proliferated, expanded, and consolidated.

Today, the sales and marketing intelligence space is undergoing another wholesale transformation with the rise of Account-Based Everything (ABE) strategies. In fact, partly due to the rise in ABE, the perception of the sales tech stack structure has flipped. Sales and marketing intelligence is often leveraged as the foundational tool (not the add-on!) needed to dramatically accelerate growth by executing ABE at scale. Why?

As silos between sales and marketing break down, sales and marketing strategies are more frequently centered on identifying best fit prospects, expanding and deepening understanding and insight into those best fit prospects, and engaging directly with them through multiple sales and marketing channels. That’s precisely what sales and marketing intelligence tools are designed to do. When that intelligence is accurate, actionable, and integrated, sales and marketing teams are able to easily pull it into ALL of their automation tools and align around engaging with the key decision-makers at top prospect accounts that are most likely to buy at any given point in time.

Just as cell phones completely transformed the way we live, work, and play, the execution of ABE strategies on a foundation of sales and marketing intelligence has completely transformed the way the fastest growing companies identify, engage, and sell to their top prospects. And fortunately, if there is any thumb pain involved, it’s from signing so many new contracts!

So, what’s next? With accurate data at the foundation, integrations across the sales tech stack, and robust feedback mechanisms in place, it will become easier for sales organizations to move from execution to optimization and from art to science – monitoring, measuring, and optimizing their sales efforts across all aspects of the sales process.

Katie BullardToday’s post is by guest author Katie Bullard, CMO of DiscoverOrg, a leading sales and marketing intelligence provider enabling rapid revenue growth through accurate, actionable, and integrated data.