With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being generated each and every day, companies have unprecedented access to information that has the power to reveal actionable and quantifiable insights around sales growth. But in the midst of this big data boom, businesses are quickly finding out that not all data is created equal, and that the only thing worse than having no data is having bad data.
According to Ovum Research, bad or “dirty” data can cost a business 30% of revenue! Without an accurate view of your sales opportunities, your reps will struggle to close, your pipeline will be nothing more than a pipe dream (or nightmare) and your business as a whole will suffer the consequences. Let’s take a look at how you can make sure your sales team and tools are collecting the quality and quantity of data needed to yield actionable insights.
Think about it: just one transposed number, one misinterpreted conversation or one rogue keystroke and you have dirty data! Whether we like to admit it or not, human error is a major culprit when it comes to inaccurate and incomplete sales information. That’s why minimizing manual data entry within your sales tools can have a huge impact on data quality. Here are just a few ways sales tools can help your team automate data collection:
Integrations: The ability to pass lead and contact information into your sales platform directly from other business systems like HubSpot or Zendesk helps eliminate data entry errors, as well as keeps all relevant customer information in one place.
Communication: Forgetting to log a call or losing an email in your inbox can have major repercussions on prospect and customer relationships. Systems that automatically log calls, meetings and emails remove this burden from reps’ shoulders.
Reporting: Crunching numbers in Excel is bound to lead to data blunders that are difficult to identify and extract, and often spill over into other analyses. Platforms with automated sales intelligence and reporting give you accurate answers in mere seconds.
Of course, not all data collection can be automated – nor should it be. For example, your CRM can’t sense what marketing content you’ve sent a prospect, know that you connected with her at a trade show or predict what competitors she might be considering. Collecting this data in a structured and strategic manner is key to effectively and accurately measuring sales performance. But if you leave it up to individual reps as to how they enter this information in your sales tools – or whether they enter it at all – you’re guaranteed to wind up with disorganized and disparate data sets.
Leading businesses are leveraging sales platforms that enable them to create custom fields, tags, pipeline stages and more to ensure that the data points that are relevant to their sales processes are captured in a complete and consistent way. Some tools even offer the ability for sales leaders to prompt entry of specific data points when a deal is created or moved to a new stage in the pipeline!
Pro Tip: Be sure to use drop-downs or multi-selects to control the range of data that is collected and avoid duplicates!
A recent survey by Workplace Options revealed that 65% of American workers use mobile devices as part of their job, while 59% continue to work via mobile after business hours. Think of the amount of data that is lost by reps using cumbersome or read-only mobile sales applications! By not giving sales teams the ability to easily enter data in real-time, businesses run the risk of reps forgetting to enter certain information once they’re back at their desks, or entering it in a less complete and accurate way.
Any sales software worth its salt will have a native mobile experience that gives reps the same capabilities and insights that they get from their desktops, optimized for their tablets and smartphones. This includes offline access and the ability to input information without an Internet connection! Smart sales leaders make certain their reps are able to enter data wherever they are and when it’s fresh in their minds.
As leading businesses begin to forego the art of sales in favor of a more scientific approach, they’re discovering that their insights are only as good as their data. Making sure that your team is capturing the right quantity and quality of information is crucial to your ability to measure and improve performance. To learn more about best practices around sales data, go here.