Knowing how to use CRM data intelligently can shorten many parts of the sales cycle from prospecting to negotiating and closing. But even in today’s market, sales organizations face the ongoing challenge of not being able to intelligently capture and leverage the most pertinent data – data for gaining a broad understanding of client relationships, who the client is and how they’ve been engaging with your team. This is the all too often little known data that could be the make-or-break point between closing a sale and keeping an existing customer.
How do you know if you can trust the data you have? How recent is it? How accurate is it? How do you leverage it in the context of the client’s or prospect’s overall relationship with your company?
According to McKinsey & Company, “Effective presales activities—the steps that lead to qualifying, bidding on, winning, and renewing a deal—can help B2B companies achieve consistent win rates of 40 to 50 percent in new business and 80 to 90 percent in renewals. But that level of success requires close coordination from front office to back.”
In March 2020 when the pandemic hit, digitization became an even greater requirement and reinforced the importance of speeding collaboration and ensuring visibility into client relationships and activities. It suddenly became clear how crucial it was to avoid cross-over efforts and discover who had been working with who and the nature of recent interactions. The value of having complete and usable client data also came to the forefront.
Sales organizations that were not already leveraging automation, incorporating AI and other technologies, found themselves at a loss when it came to communicating with current and existing customers.
Businesses that already had automation in place – to gain full insight and visibility into prospects and existing customers with a global view, were at an advantage. But being able to fully leverage the benefits of automation starts with the ability to harness the right data at the right time.
5 Tips for Fully Capitalizing on Your Data Throughout the Sales Continuum and Customer Lifecycle
Audit Your Data
Your CRM data is only as good as its accuracy. A good chunk of your data about prospects and customers might have failed to make it into your CRM system. With too much reliance on people to record the right data, you fall into the trap of having a framework but relying on users for the actual population of the data. You likely have disparate pieces of data floating across members of your sales team, across their business email, devices and software as well as the tools they use to work and the processes they use to record or not record their work. And without leveraging technology such as AI and machine learning, it could be additionally tough to understand how to leverage the data. Identifying the holes in your data is the first step to delivering data-driven, objective insights to expedite decision-making.
Identify Where Weaknesses Exist
Since the onset of the pandemic, data indicators have become paramount to survival – more so now than ever before. Using data to assess existing accounts and gain a better understanding of whether there is a threat of churn can help teams get ahead of the whole customer retention equation. By being able to track activities automatically, sales teams can gain better context to view where to spend their efforts with a client, how to allocate resources as well as leverage existing client relationships for development. They can also gain insights into which reps are continuing to drive new business and which team members might need additional support.
Use Intelligence to Measure Productivity and Achieve Results
In a world where remote work from home has become the new normal, sales organizations must innovate to drive their teams towards achieving business development goals. Leveraging productivity intelligence to not only track who is driving the most activities using AI and ML, sales teams can gain a better understanding of opportunities that are driving the most success and those that merit additional intelligence gathering. Understanding the capacity of your sales team, and how to allocate or reallocate resources depending on the expertise of each individual and their established relationships will deliver competitive advantage today and help you prepare more effectively for the future.
Understand Data in Context
Sales and business development professionals can no longer just walk over and ask other co-workers about their relationships at a certain company, hoping to get an introduction and then, hopefully any additional background that might help them connect with, engage and convert that lead. During circumstances like COVID-19, whereby the sales team is forced out of the physical office environment, data that is contextualized and relationships that are mapped effectively using AI can deliver an even more effective snapshot of your client or prospect and in a much more streamlined way. This allows the sales professional to take advantage of a self-service model, whereby they are able to quickly connect with the right team members that have the relationships that can make a difference. This also creates a huge value-add by eliminating lost time and momentum, which we all know can be disastrous in the sales cycle.
Elevate the Customer Experience
At one of our recent events, a comment from a PwC attendee captured it all. “Our clients don’t care if you have 17 different offices – the only thing that matters is their experience. They want to be put first.” The greatest potential for CRM data is arguably to serve as a tool to help strengthen existing customer relationships. While sales organizations need to be focused on creating efficiencies and leveraging intelligence for increasing customer acquisition, smart sales organizations are also using data to elevate customer experience and mitigate churn levels. Smart sales involves learning to use relationship data for improved collaboration among team members. It also requires making better use of your sales force and cross-functional teams within your organization to enhance customer experience and ultimately increase client engagement. Once the stage has been set, all the while putting customer experience at the center, you can then more effectively gain an understanding of where the potential for growth among your client base exists.
Beyond the initial impact of the pandemic, businesses must position themselves to not only survive, but thrive in the new normal. They must combine CRM data-driven strategies with the right intelligence to ensure information is accurate, relevant and timely and relationships can be leveraged effectively. Only then will they be able to achieve real revenue growth.