Tips to Develop a Data-Driven Sales Culture

According to Dell’s recent Global Technology Adoption Index, companies that are actively using big data show 50% higher revenue growth rates than those that are not. While it may seem ironic that an industry that was once considered an art is finding data and science to be the keys to success, the numbers don’t lie.

However, despite this push to become data-driven, just 2% of sales leaders rate their relationships with their sales data an A- or better, while 38% give themselves below a C-. In other words, if sales data were calculus or world history, a big chunk of sales leaders would find themselves held back a grade!

While there are many elements to successfully becoming a data-driven sales organization, one of the most important is making sure that your reps understand, experience and uphold the value of sales data. Here are a few tips to help you start creating a data-driven sales culture.

Make Data Capture a Priority

Of course, if reps are given the option to spend time entering data into their CRM or calling leads and closing deals, the latter will always win. What they probably don’t realize is that taking just a few moments to enter key data points can go a long way in generating insights that will ultimately enable them to close more deals, faster.

One of the most important tasks as a data-driven sales leader is putting the right tools and processes in place to facilitate this data capture. Clearly define the exact data points needed at each stage of your sales pipeline, and use automated actions to prompt reps to enter this data when moving a lead from one stage to the next. Another tactic is to leverage a sales platform that enables you to create custom fields to ensure that relevant data points are collected in a complete and consistent way across the business.

Focus 1:1s on the Why

Stop for a second and think about the sort of questions you find yourself asking reps during your 1:1s. Do they typically start with “what” (“What happened?” “What did you say?” etc.) or “why” (“Why isn’t this deal converting?” “Why are we ahead of quota?” etc.)? Many sales leaders waste 1:1s by spending their time asking for play-by-plays of reps’ weeks and trying to get a handle on what is happening, rather than analyzing the data at hand and understanding why it’s happening.

Coach teaching about the way of setting goals, concept about objectives and success

Coaching sessions should be spent viewing sales intelligence together with your reps and digging into the impact of particular factors on their performance. For example, why are leads from a particular source closing 3X faster than leads from all other sources? Why might one rep be struggling to close deals in the financial services space compared to his or her peers? Asking questions like these leads to strategies and actionable next steps reps can take to improve performance.

Make Reports Readily Available

Consider the following statistics around sales data and reporting taken from a recent survey of global sales leaders:

  • 60% of sales leaders have to wait for someone to give them access to their data
  • 38% have to use 4+ systems to keep track of their goals and priorities
  • Just 31% of sales leaders can view their data in a single dashboard

With hurdles like these, it’s no wonder that many reps don’t have access to sales reports! However, to foster a truly data-driven sales culture, all reps should have access to the data they need to independently track progress and make smarter, more strategic decisions. Scientific sales leaders are choosing sales software that has the power to capture and process big data and provides real-time analytics plus robust permission controls. This way, reps are able to get their hands on the reports they need when they need them, like sales goals, forecasts, call outcomes and more.

The charge toward scientific selling has to start on the front lines of your business. Following these three tips for developing a data-driven sales culture is sure to be a step in the right direction. For more information about how you can become a data-driven sales leader, download our free white paper: Building a Metric Driven Sales Team.

Related Articles

Subscribe to the Sell Blog

Be the first to hear about product updates, as well as sales, productivity and CRM strategies.