Will the Board Trust the Data in Your Strategic Plan?


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Are you using a data-driven approach to develop your sales strategy? CEOs need to have sound data to make sound decisions. This article outlines what a CEO needs to drive the data discussion.

“Everyone has heard a lot about big data,” explains Jon Morris, CEO of Rise Interactive. He debunks the term “big data” by saying “There’s just data. And you’re either really good at using it or you’re not.” He’s got a point.

Few CEOs have the time or the desire to dig into the details. However, every CEO needs accurate details to inform their strategy. The success of that strategy relies on sound data. You need to be really good at it using it. So hold your leadership team accountable.

The Need for Sales Strategy

CEOs have a major sales strategy issue. According to SBI’s 2015 research guide, 78% of sales teams have the wrong sales strategy. Worse yet, 39% don’t have a strategy at all. Without a sales strategy, you will not make your number.

The first block of your strategic foundation is Segmentation (read this post to learn more). The second block is Planning. This article is focused on Data Planning.

Strategic Sales Planning 

Planning is where you develop revenue, budget and data plans. You will know what budget is needed to set you up for success. You will know what data you need along the way to help you make decisions. With the right plans in place, you improve your chances of success.

There are 3 phases to Planning:

  • Revenue:  Define how you are going to achieve your revenue goal relative to your competitors.
  • Budget:  Determine the budget needed and how to allocate it to attain your goals.
  • Data:  Define data required to drive sales decisions 


The Data Challenge

Every activity, when executed correctly, is measurable. Data-driven decision making is the expectation. Yet many leaders are still flying blind. Dirty data, systems issues, or useless data are just a few pitfalls. Some common issues:

  • Not collecting data
  • Not collecting the right data
  • Not collecting enough data enough of the time
  • Don’t have access to the data collected
  • Can’t get the data to work together
  • Not knowing how to derive meaningful insights from the data

Data Planning

When you ask the right questions, you will know if you can trust the data. Have your sales leader explain the state of data in these four areas.

  • Data source:  Where does the data you need sit? How can you get your hands on it?

  • Data quality:  What do you have? What do you need? What is clean/dirty and where are the gaps?
  • Data cleaning:  If the data has issues, what is your team doing to clean it up?

  • Data analysis:  Now that you have the data, what does it mean? Do you have the resources to provide insights?

To guide the planning session with your sales leaders, download the Planning Questionnaire. It’s an off-the-shelf discussion guide to determine the priorities of your strategic plan.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan Bernoske
Dan Bernoske serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets. With 13 years of experience, Dan has delivered results in business development, corporate strategy, product management, marketing, and process improvement.


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