As an industry, sales is slowly escaping the clutches of the art of sales, but there is still a long way to go. The struggle is particularly real in well-established industries where long-standing, pre-existing relationships are key, like broadcast and media.
As seasoned sales vets wine and dine their way through their Rolodexes (hopefully proverbial and not actual), less experienced reps are often left floundering to connect with prospects and develop new relationships. Outreach begins to feel like a frustrating uphill battle, while winning business becomes an arbitrary feat.
Rather than selling on a wing and a prayer and crossing fingers that certain reps won’t leave and take their relationships with them, leading businesses are turning to sales data to scientifically improve performance. Here are just a few ways data can transform your sales from an artistic endeavor to a scalable and repeatable strategy.
Connecting with prospects involves a lot more strategy than simply placing a call – or at least it should. Data-driven companies can easily answer all of the following questions:
– How many calls do I need to make each day to hit my quota?
– What time of day is the best to call to reach decision makers?
– What is the ideal length of time for most introductory calls?
– Which call scripts are the most effective for booking meetings?
Answers like these are found by consistently tracking not only rep activities, but also the outcomes of these activities. The best sales platforms automatically collect and store the information necessary to generate these kinds of reports in a single click, as shown below.
Every call your reps make should follow a carefully constructed, data-driven outreach strategy. For more insight into how to make this happen, check out this blog: 5 Killer Strategies to Kick Your Sales Communication Up a Notch.
Pre-existing relationships aside, no company is going to buy a solution if it’s not a good fit for their business. Similarly, no win is an “arbitrary victory;” there is a reason why this prospect chose your product. The key is finding the similarities (and differences) between these customers and training reps to prioritize the prospects generating the most value for your business.
To get started, segment your last 25 closed deals (won and lost). Make a list of key contact dimensions, such as industry, title, company size, etc. for each deal, and compare and contrast the answers between closed/won and closed/lost. Do you see any trends, such as deals with decision makers from particular departments closing less frequently than others?
To take this exercise a step further, you must look beyond whether deals are won or lost to their potential value. The easiest way to do this is to calculate their lead yield using the following simple equation: Sales Revenue/# of Leads Generated. Choose a dimension by which to segment your closed/won and closed/lost deals (i.e. industry), and calculate the lead yield for each variable of this dimension (i.e. eCommerce, financial services, manufacturing, etc.). You will quickly be able to see which industries generate the most value and should be prioritized by your marketing and sales teams.
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A sales pipeline is comprised of established stages that transition prospects from leads to customers. Within each of these pipeline stages is a series of defined steps that reps must take to effectively move prospects into the next stage, otherwise known as a sales process. If your business is missing this infrastructure, or if you would like to improve your current sales pipeline and process, download this free guide.
Once you have a clearly defined sales pipeline and process in place, there is a lot that can be learned by examining the journey of won deals, particularly those managed by more seasoned sales reps. How long did these deals spend in each pipeline stage? At what point should a deal be considered “lost” based on its time spent in a particular stage? Are there certain process steps that should be added, moved, or taken out altogether to help grease the wheels of your sales cycle? Data analysis and reports with the power to answer questions like these provide critical insight.
Data Is Your Best Friend
Clearly there’s no reason for sales to be flying by the seat of its pants with these types of actionable insights available. And the three examples covered in this post are just touching the very tip of the big data iceberg. For a deeper examination of how sales data can transform your growth, download the eBook Beyond Predictive Analytics: Why The Future of AI in Sales Is Prescriptive.