Sales is more than an elevator pitch and a handshake. In today’s digital age, sales is a series of measured actions that drive profits. The keyword here is measured. With access to amazing data, companies large and small can measure the success (and failure) of every business meeting, promotional content, and advertising effort used to acquire and retain clients.
It’s a whole new frontier, and it’s called data-driven sales.
Fifty-three percent of companies are adopting big data analytics, according to Forbes. Why is data driven sales so important? And how do you keep up with it? Keep reading to find the answers.
Why data-driven sales are so important
What makes statistics so valuable in the sales world? Here are a few reasons:
- Identify strengths and weaknesses
With data, you can see what’s working in your sales process and what’s not. Knowing this, you can make adjustments as needed. By strengthening your team, you’ll ultimately strengthen your profit margins.
- Improve staff knowledge
Data can provide employee portfolios of-sorts that show you how well each sales person is performing. Data might show you that certain sales reps are great at generating new leads,but have trouble closing the deal, for example. Now the company can provide the sales coaching necessary to help the reps develop that skill.
- Executives can make faster, more reliable decisions
Data can help executives make decisions with confidence. After looking at the best-selling products over the past two years, a company owner might decide to slow production of low-selling products, or dedicate fewer sales reps to them, for example.
Tips to keep up with data driven sales
Data is valuable. No question about it. But, it’s not always easy to keep up with it. With a glut of statistics to look over and evolving tools that offer even more data sets, it’snot always easy to keep up. Here are a few tips to stay ahead of the game:
1. Data should become the fabric of your company
For data driven sales to succeed, it can’t just be your sales team that buys into the collection and utilization of statistics – it’s a company wide commitment.
Everyone, no matter what their department or title, should work with data on a regular basis. It should become a necessity, something that’s used almost as an afterthought at every meeting and in every decision.
2. Set and share company goals
The sales department is no stranger to goals. Most sales teams set quotas and work towards them throughout the year, but now, everyone should have goals to meet. The goals should be specific, as in, actual numbers to hit.
Set up a company meeting and discuss the big-picture goals so everyone is on the same page. After, break into smaller groups and discuss how each team and individual will help achieve those goals.
You should set a series of goals, not just revenue quotas. You might consider setting “activity goals,”for example, that provide mini milestones along with the way. An activity goal might be offering a demo or presenting a sales pitch to anew client.
3. Create sales-driving content
What kind of content do you use to drive sales? Maybe you have an introductory brochure or a downloadable eBook that sales reps use to provide initial information to clients. But how well do they work? And, do you need more content to cover different parts of the sales funnel?
Access the content that you currently use, review the metrics, and identify areas where more content is needed.
Content is often an overlooked area of data-driven sales, but they’re often vital to your customers.
4. Rely on sales coaching
To help sales reps improve their skills, implement a sales coaching program. It’s similar to a mentor program, but relies more on individual performance data and tailored tips.
An experienced sales coach would review an entry-level sales reps’ performance by looking at data provided on lead acquisition, lead development, and number of sales closed, for example, and offer assistance in appropriate areas.
Sales coaching provides internal growth opportunities and relies on teamwork to accomplish individual,team, and company goals.
5. Review tools
There are dozens upon dozens of sales tools that provide data, so you’ll have to do your homework. Know what you need and why before you start looking into tools. Here are a few things to look for:
- Both macro and micro data points
- Ease of use
- Automation options
- Visual data interpretation (easy-to-read charts, graphs)
- Sales coaching tools that offer tailored training courses
- Predictive analysis
6. Utilize predictive analysis
Data can now predict how customers will behave. Based on a collection of statistics from a customer’sage and location to their past purchases and buying frequency, predictive analysis gives a company actionable information that can drive more sales.
For example, predictive analysis can show you a customer’s lifetime value and identify those customers early on. If you knew that Sarah Smith had the potential to become a brand loyalist after her second or third purchase, you could adjust promotions and advertising to encourage that relationship from the start.
Sales has evolved. Today’s company relies on data to strengthen its sales teams and generate more profits. While the importance of data is hard to dispute, it’s a constantly evolving arena, which is why the tips above are so pertinent. Data-driven sales will continue to be staple for sales teams, but it’s up to each company to implement and utilize a data strategy that works for them.