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Data-Driven Sales: Using Analytics to Build Business Success

By   /  November 8, 2018  /  No Comments

Click to learn more about author Gilad David Maayan.

Sales drive revenue. It’s a simple statement that holds true for many businesses, and yet, many companies use antiquated sales techniques. A charming smile and a convincing elevator pitch aren’t the keys to success anymore.

Today’s sales reps rely on data to secure new clients and retain current ones.

The demand for data in sales has created a new concept: data-driven sales. We’ll explain what data-drive sales is, review its importance, explore how it’s used in sales, and examine best practices for creating a data-driven sales strategy.

What is Data-Driven Sales?

The definition of data-driven sales is fairly straightforward. Sales teams collect data and use it to inform every decision they make, from the products they sell to the time of day they reach out to customers.

The best data-driven sales teams explore both the customer journey and the sales process.

By breaking down the customer journey, your team can explore the needs of customers at each state. Essentially, you want to understand how a customer finds your products, and what information they need to complete the purchase with your company.

Evaluating the customer journey is the first step. You’ll have to evaluate your sales process as well. By accessing analytics like, sales growth, lead conversion rate, sell-through rate and sales-per-rep, your company gets a macro and micro level insights that show how well your sales process works.

Why is Data-Driven Sales so Important?

One of the biggest advantages of data-driven sales teams is increased profitability. Research shows companies that inject data into their sales are 5-6% more profitable than their competitors, according to research presented by McKinsey&Company. That alone is enough reason to deploy a data-driven sales strategy, but it can also:

  • Identify the real needs of your customers at different touch points
  • Provide ways to customize the customer journey
  • Identify customer pain points
  • Reveal strengths and weaknesses of sales reps
  • Identify areas of improvement within your sales strategy

How can Analytics Improve Your Sales Strategy?

Armed with powerful statistics, you can enable your sales team. Sales enablement is another popular buzzword right now, but it essentially means giving your sales team all of the tools needed to do their job amazingly well. Those “tools” are often more modern, data-collecting tools, that are used in four primary areas, according to McKinsey&Company:

Image Credit: McKinsey&Company

  • Lead generation

Data explains who your best customers are. If you know who your VIP clients are, you can make efforts to find more just like them. As you work to collect more leads, you might consider scoring them to see which ones are most likely to convert.

  • Match the people

To increase productivity, you need the right people doing the right jobs. For example, data can show you which sales reps are best in the field, or who has the highest closing rate. With this information, a company can put staff in fitting, more productive roles.

  • Maximize customer lifetime value

With a 360-degree view of your customers, you’ll be able to maximize their lifetime value. For example, you’ll be able to spot inactive customers and make efforts to re-engage them before they leave.

  • Get the right price

Almost half of all deals are lost because of budget, according to Hubspot. With data, you get insight into customer budgets and can provide flexible options that are more likely to close a deal. For example, you might offer payment plans, suggest lower or higher tiered services, or increase initial customer support to land more sales.

What are the Best Practices for a Data-Driven Sales Strategy?

Here’s a look at a few best practices you can use to get started:

  • Bring data in everywhere

For a data-driven sales strategy to work, the company – as a whole – has to rely on more data. It can’t just be something the sales team uses, it must be a company-wide change. Data should become part of the company culture.

  • Establish sales goals

What do you want to accomplish? Your company likely sets goals every year, but with more in-house data, you can set more specific goals.

Once company goals are set, meet with each sales rep individually and discuss their expectations and goals for the year as well.

  • Invest in data-driven sales tools

Sales enablement focuses on giving your sales team access to the best tools possible. You need data-focused tools like:

 LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Lead acquiring tool to find and contact new customers.

 Detective: Sales research tool that provides profiles on potential customers.

o   CRM: A customer relationship management platform can help you gather, store and use customer data. Options include Salesforce or Zoho.

o   Sales enablement platform: Onboard new sales staff seamlessly with a sales enablement platform complete with revenue driving analytics. Options include MindTickle and Brainshark.

  • Implement sales coaching

A strong sales enablement strategy depends on coaching. Every team is made up of reps with varying skills sets, but imagine what could happen if everyone worked with a sales coach? Consider combining in-person mentoring and online training to improve the skills of each rep as needed.

Wrap Up

With a data-driven sales approach, your company can reap numerous benefits. From getting to know your customers on a more personal level to creating a sales enablement strategy that leverages the best talents of your team, data can become one of your most powerful business allies.

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

About the author

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Oracle, Zend, CheckPoint and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Gilad is a 3-time winner of international technical communication awards, including the STC Trans-European Merit Award and the STC Silicon Valley Award of Excellence. Over the past two decades he has written over 70 technical books, white papers and guides spanning over 5,000 pages, in numerous technology sectors from network equipment to CRM software to chip manufacturing. Over the past 7 years Gilad has headed Agile SEO, which performs strategic search marketing for leading technology brands. Together with his team, Gilad has done market research, developer relations and content strategy in 39 technology markets, lending him a broad perspective on trends, approaches and ecosystems across the tech industry. Gilad holds a B.Sc. in Economics from Tel Aviv University, and has a keen interest in psychology, Jewish spirituality, practical philosophy and their connection to business, innovation and technology. Follow Gilad and Agile SEO at: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+

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