In an age where technology and marketing have moved on, it’s easy to get left behind. But when being left behind means losing sales, it’s time to fix up.
Traditionally, sales and marketing were based on intuition and educated guesswork. A certain product or service is likely to attract a certain type of client.
Okay, so perhaps you have great intuition, your sixth sense is unmatched, you can spot a potential client miles away?
Hm. Not necessarily.
Unfortunately, no matter how good your sixth sense, intuition is no longer enough to get the best out of your sales strategy. As the saying goes, “assumption is the mother-of-all…failures!”
What Exactly is a ‘Data-Driven Sales Strategy’?
Sherlock Holmes once said, “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.”
He was especially right when it comes to sales.
In a nutshell, data-driven strategies involve collecting and analyzing data to better target your marketing and sales strategies.
There are several types of data
In such a strategy, the big three Q’s of what, when, and how to become ascribed by data rather than opinion or intuition. You are no longer wondering “which group should I aim this project at?” or “who is best suited for this product?”. Your decisions and actions are now reliably backed up.
In today’s landscape, with evolving markets, fierce competition, and the rise of technology, data-driven strategies have become key to success.
*A Business Application Research Center survey found data-driven sales increased profits by 8% and reduced overall cost of operations by 10%
Clearly, acting on a hunch is no longer enough. Putting that good-old data to use and making better commercial decisions is the way forward!
What’s the Fuss About Data?
Maybe you are a self-professed “expert” of your niche. You’ve made profits for years. What could a bunch of computer data possibly do for you?
Whether this is true or not, utilizing reliable data will only improve your sales.
Whether it’s call center data analysis, sales records, or processes that involve electronic data interchange, many types of data can be collected and analyzed. The three main groups are:
- Operational data – Readily available data from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or from simply logging sales and results.
- Traffic data – Comes from visits to your websites and social media accounts. Apps like Google Analytics can answer questions such as what brings your visitors to your page? Do they have intentions to buy or are they browsing?
- Company information data – Consists of data such as the size of a company, their location, their profits, their industry sector, etc.
Using data trumps the gut-feeling techniques of the past. And for many businesses, much of it already exists! For example, inbound call center companies will naturally be sitting on piles of phone numbers, names, addresses, age, etc. It’s as much about using existing data to your advantage as it is seeking new data.
How To Implement a Good Data-Driven Sales Strategy
Understanding data-driven sales strategies are one thing, but implementing one is another. It takes time, dedication, and persistence until it’s ready for commercial use. But once it is, a good data-driven strategy limits guesswork and allows you to improve business processes and task management.
Your future actions are now based on more reliable findings, helping you to use resources more efficiently.
A more streamlined and focused sales strategy. Hours of misspent time and effort are saved and an advantage is gained over competitors. Now you can really nail that e-commerce landing page with confidence!
(Less wasted hours and budgets means more profit!)
But how do you make sure your data-driven sales strategy is a success?
Let’s look at some tips on how to implement a good strategy.
Make Sure Your Strategy is Complete
Whilst it’s true that computer data wins over gut feeling, the best decisions are made when data is combined with other inputs. These can be emotion, past experience, business knowledge, and judgement. It’s all a balancing act!
A good strategy that combines data with real-world experience will have you reaping the rewards. But if your strategy isn’t good enough, you might find yourself wasting even more time and resources.
A well balanced data-driven strategy should:
- Focus you right into your target markets.
- Bring more accurate forecasts.
- Increase performance efficiency.
- Increase funnel conversion rates.
- Bring more focused improvements.
- Increase revenue.
Make Sure Your Ideal Customer Profile Takes Center Stage
Today, the customer must always come first. This widely held customer-centric ethos means the customer service representative role has changed dramatically. Customers know what they want and how they want it.
Understanding the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) will help your customer relations.
The Ideal Customer Profile refers to the perfect customer for whatever your business offers. This profile is constructed by data that has been collected and analyzed for common characteristics. The data is then funnelled into marketing and sales, and turned into real-world opportunities.
The added benefit of this from a customer point of view is that marketing can be tailored to their needs and wants: What makes them tick? What form of technology do they use? What apps?
Ideal Customer Profiles also make customers themselves feel more valued thanks to a more personalized experience. The result is value on both ends, the business and the customer.
Data-driven strategies that make the customer feel valued are likely to have higher retention rates and better sales cycles.
Make Use of Tech
Technology is at the center of most businesses today. Tech use is rapidly progressing.
Even traditional ecommerce businesses now implement modern technology such as a cloud ERP system to improve their inventory and sales.
Truly, implementing a good data-driven sales strategy means mastering the tech!
Tech allows all kinds of data to be collected and analyzed. In turn, this data can be used to help businesses accurately identify their target markets, generating more leads and potential clients.
Make sure your sales and marketing teams are getting the best out of their software to align their efforts and increase revenue.
Make Sure Your Team is Fully Trained
In order to achieve success, your team needs to be fully trained and supported throughout the sales process.
Using technology, you can set up a data-driven education strategy. Some businesses deploy robotic process automation tools that can generate sales data as needed.
This can help you understand which training materials and software to use to get the best out of your team.
Having any members of your team lacking confidence is going to tarnish your prospects. This can leave you at a huge disadvantage, (especially if your competitors are already up to speed).
Measure Your Progress
Now that your data-driven sales strategy is up and running, you need to keep tabs on your progress.
Study your conversion rates and everything else by keeping on top of your data.
Your data will allow you to see which strategies are performing better and why. You can then make the correct changes.
For example, you may want to improve call center shrinkage, you will have to track customer service data and analyze then make necessary steps based on the data collected. Then, you will have to continually assess whether the changes are effective based on data as well.
Measuring your progress should also show you areas where your team needs extra support. In this sense, data becomes your teacher, showing you where you’ve gone wrong and what to do next.
What Are the Results of Using a Data-Driven Sales Strategy?
By now the advantages of using data should be obvious. Why waste precious hours when you can focus your attention exactly where you need to?
Businesses that have implemented good data-driven sales strategies are constantly outperforming those that have not. The upper hand gained by data allows them to tailor experiences with greater confidence and achieve higher success, increased revenue, and better customer service. Result!
*Mckinsey Global Institute found that data-driven businesses are 23 times more likely to acquire new clients
Some extra tips for great results:
- Get everyone on the same page—provide training and hold regular progress meetings.
- Make sure your data is high quality and up-to-date.
- Always question your data and strive to get more use out of it.
- Use workflow software to incorporate data analysis into your projects.
Once you are up and running, you’ll find it hard to believe you didn’t use data-driven methods before!
Watch Out For These Mistakes
Whilst a data-driven sales strategy brings many benefits, too many businesses get it wrong.
Too often, databases contain all kinds of inconsistencies: Duplicate records, missing information, or even a website that has moved its domain to a new registrar. This applies to all types of business, whether selling on a physical store or using a buy online pick up in store system.
On the other hand, some teams have great data and insights, but they fail to put them into good practice. This is likely to send you round in circles. The most successful teams will have regular meetings to discuss data and what to do with it.
Failing to implement your data-driven sales strategy effectively is one big way to damage customer retention rates.
*Bain & Company found increasing retentions rates by only 5% can lead to increased profits from 25% to 95%
What Are You Waiting For?
Data is going nowhere. You only have to look at industries such as healthcare to see how far it is now integrated into our systems.
Creating and implementing data-driven methods doesn’t need to be rocket science. However, it does need to be done right, and done now, to unlock the benefits for your business.
Get working on your strategy today if you want:
- More sales and increased revenue? Tick.
- Greater customer retention? Tick.
- Happier clients? Tick.
So what are you waiting for? Get ahead of your competitors today by creating a data-driven sales strategy.
Remember, actions speak louder than words!