Even in the modern times of easy to use CRM solutions, and other business growth technology solutions available in the marketplace as other parts of the business have reoriented around data, marketing and sales in several organizations have been still allowed to function as though they are mysterious black arts, with their practitioners doing trade in mystifyingly, rather doing things for reasons that only they know.
Now even though marketing and sales have always generated metrics, nevertheless, given the difficulty of finding and organizing them, many sales managers have fallen back on experience and instinct to make decisions for their business growth, whereby sometimes the result is a great quarter. Other times, not so much.
However, nowadays modern technology and tools allow managers to surface the details of their organization’s operations- nevertheless, in several cases data is used parsimoniously, or it is used only to support a preconceived notion of the managers running the business.
Now, this type of activity on the part of the managers in sales and marketing is called using data for “confirmation basis”- something which psychologists define as the propensity to selectively search for and study information that confirms one belief, in particular, we see this also a lot in political thinking today, whereby someone develops a point of view and then stalks for pieces of evidence to support that point of view. And so evidence that contradicts and disapproves their point of view are summarily ignored or even challenged and attacked actively.
Well, tendencies like these have not only ruined a lot of cocktail parties, but it hurts a lot of businesses, too.
Therefore even though unfortunately some people in sales and marketing cling on to old and imprecise ways of doing things, nevertheless now we can routinely use data found in marketing and sales and so are able to lay back certain preconceived ideas and notions to rest in favor of a more actionable and accurate understanding of our organizations and the issues they face once we use tools like an easy to use CRM software.
Hence for the ease of our readers here are five key areas where data can play a very crucial role, but as we discussed even before, although this data is to obtain, nevertheless its impact is most often dulled by the predetermined notions of the people delegated to handle and deliver it in the company:
1. Sales Hiring
In sales, the rate of turnover can be pretty astonishing, which can even reach more than 50 percent for, industries.
This happens because there are several organizations that make a point of replacing the bottom tire of performers in their company. However, it has also been observed that most businesses lose salespersons for two key reasons:
• The sales rep felt that more money could be made elsewhere
• The sales rep was a bad hire in the very first place
Now irrespective of what is the reality, hiring experienced sales reps should be easy. For this primarily ask for their W2s (Wage and Tax Statement) and thereafter find out how much money they have made in commissions at their previous gigs.
Moreover even hiring new salespeople without experience can be made much easier using automated screening tools which can provide dispositions and assessment of skills and can find out whether a prospective sales rep has what it takes, which can be evaluated based on a well-thought-out set of questions and criteria against which the prospect’s data can be compared seamlessly.
Nevertheless, much old-school hiring works on assumptions and gut feelings in several businesses that reflect the hiring manager’s experience and not on realities of the candidates that are apparent in their data, which leads to poor performance and lost opportunities at the cost of the company.
2. Lead Scoring
When prospective leads do something, businesses must take a note of it, especially when they act in a way that signals that they are ready to buy.
Therefore, evaluating these myriad activities and measuring their contributions to making a qualified lead to a prospective customer is at the root of the concept of lead scoring, which is a very popular and accepted tactic for organizing and prioritizing leads.
Now even though lead scoring is a widely recognized strategy in businesses, however, it does not mean that everyone is doing it, since according to studies it has been found that only 44% of businesses report using any kind of lead scoring in their organization.
This means more than 56% of companies use no processes or rather say they use imprecise processes that treat all leads the same for sales growth.
This means, if you are not using an easy to use CRM tool for scoring your leads you are wasting your sales team’s time and instead rather creating an atmosphere in your organization in which sales are always skeptical of their marketer’s abilities to deliver leads that convert easily.
3. Lead Nurturing
Another technique in marketing that most believe in businesses is lead nurturing. It is a process whereby content is served at a regular interval to leads that are not yet sales-ready. All done with an idea that once the lead is ready to buy, your brand will be in a position to convert them (especially if their activity is tracked in the lead scoring system).
Now there are many for whom a solution necessarily does not mean that they are going to use it. It has been found in a study that it is only 30 percent of B2B companies keep in touch with their leads on a regular basis.
This implies that leads generated by the marketers are only worked upon once or twice and then they are forgotten, which accumulates to a massive loss of investment. Nevertheless, a bit of work for creating a lead nurturing program using Sales Force Automation in a CRM (and use the metrics and dashboard of an easy to use CRM to understand the data that comes from it) can easily turn this wastage in a sheer win reflecting business growth.
4. Pipeline Management
People in sales must be using a CRM solution be it Salesforce Alternative or a Salesforce CRM tool mostly used by enterprise-level organizations to track their sales pipelines.
For example, while a struggling sales rep in sales stalled at a stage in the pipeline could do with coaching from the manager in their team similarly using the same tracking tool one can even zoom in on sales reps sandbagging their intentionally parked customers to save them up for the next quarter.
Even though most businesses think that they have some means to visualize what going inside their sales pipeline, nevertheless, in a survey conducted by Sales Management Association 63 percent of sales executives admitted that they are not effective at managing their sales pipelines.
This happens because managers are not using the easy to use CRM to their best benefits, whereby instead of using it for pipeline management they are using it for building forecasts. This means even though the information is there in the CRM database it carries no significance unless someone is ready to see it and act on it to find it particularly useful.
5. Territory Management
As every salesperson wants the biggest territory hence sales territories are a highly contested aspect in marketing and sales, which often leads to sales managers discussing and negotiating illusionary results with the sales reps before marking their allocated territory with a pen on the map.
Now, this kind of illogical decision-making in the allocation of territories is not good for any company, which can result in a few sales reps getting fewer leads than they can work while some others getting too many.
Moreover with an uneven spread of leads across reps, leads to money left on the table, and persuades managers to draw and redraw territorial boundaries in a reaction to missed sales forecasts.
Businesses can easily avoid this scenario by using a territory management software like an easy to use CRM which has the key data built-in and let reps make calls based on that data. Moreover, most business growth technology helps in spreading leads evenly (most CRM use Round Robin lead distribution strategy) that result in high commissions for everyone.
Hence, even though getting data for your business growth is not rocket science, nevertheless it requires able managers to commit to data and automation by discontinuing their inclinations towards ‘gut feeling’ for enjoying business and revenue growth.