• Ratnesh Mittal

Data Driven Selling - What, Why and How?

Data-Driven Selling is more than mere jargon. It has the potential to scale-up sales performance permanently and substantially. What is Data-Driven Selling? When Sales People use Data to make their important Decisions in the course of selling, we are looking at Data-Driven Selling in action. Data has a huge role to play in the most crucial decisions that salespeople make. Such as, which customers or sales opportunities to target and when? Which stakeholders to map and why? What benefits to highlight? What terms to propose? Which competitors' share to target?

If one could predict the outcomes of alternatives, these decisions can be far more impactful. Unfortunately, many organisations use data only for sales reviews. That is hardly data-driven selling.

Can one predict customer behaviour in B2B selling using data? Well, not entirely yet but surely a lot more than is generally appreciated. If you look around, there are tonnes of customer data available in your industry, organisation or environment. It needs harnessing, putting a structure around and testing for patterns. Usually, such data is like a gem in a heap of trash of petabytes of data across disparate systems and 3rd party reports. By design or by default, these data gems rarely reach salespeople on the ground who can convert them into actionable insights and eventual cash.

So, what can business leaders do to leverage data and use its power to drive growth? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Stop separating thinking from the doing part of the Revenue function. Account Managers and Sales Reps are not just glib talking-smart looking feet-on-street. They carry a thinking head. Empower them with customer data and insights that is available to the management, functional heads, strategy whiz, marketing folks and finance guys. The job of sales frontline in the data-driven business is not just to enter customer data in CRM but also to partake of the data that the rest of the company generates about the business. Enable access to such data real-time across the organisation. Some companies do too good a job of keeping data hidden from the people who can actually convert it into cash.

  2. Start integrating dis-jointed data sources. If you juxtapose customer engagement data (from CRM) with delivery and billing (from operating systems) with inventory and outstandings (from ERP) and overlay this with competition and customer behaviour from industry sources, what emerges in most cases is great revelation. Such a unique combination of insights can be a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

  3. Establish a Data Culture. Data is useful even in internal actions. E.g. Regular Win-Loss analysis forces the entire team to seek data points and use them for remedial actions, insights from data help in better targeted training and coaching. Leaders can break internal silos by encouraging teams to base all or most of their programs on multi-dimensional data. Use data as the oil that lubricates cross functional collaboration.

  4. Invest in building Data. Already, there are innovative companies that have algorithms to create predictive models for individual businesses. To harness this, one needs large amounts of organised and authentic data. Organisations that want to thrive in the data-driven business world powered by AI and ML can afford to be neither data poor nor have poor data.

At Salesfac, we build systems to help clients take advantage of data in the selling process. Our Ad Rev suite of applications do just that for the ad-sales industry. If you would like to explore how data can drive your sales, please get in touch with us.

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