B2B selling has gone through a massive transformation in the last few years. Thanks to advances in data and analytics technology in the previous two decades, the sales process also evolved. The sales process has moved from actions based on gut instincts to data-driven methods for measured outcomes leading to better customer acquisition.
The action vs. outcome approach to sales streamlined the process and shortened the sales cycle. Thus, closing more deals in a given time and generating higher revenue growth.
95% of companies who opted for a data-driven approach even just for lead generation have seen a remarkable jump in the closure of deals. Data-driven sales mean marketing and sales are no more separate non-interacting business functions. The actions of sales and marketing now must align for getting a specific outcome.
The data collected over a period based on your prospects’ behavior, buying patterns, their vital interests, and so on by the various business functions become key inputs for personalized customer interaction.
The business functions like sales and marketing have become more and more dynamic, so is the data requirement. Sales intelligence data becomes continuously refreshed. It includes data like decision-makers, organizational reporting structure, financials, budgets, year-over-year growth, company initiatives, personnel moves, installed technologies (the “tech stack”), and predictive features – all in near real-time.
As business data becomes intelligent, it is critical to understand what is being data-driven means then, and how it affects my revenue.
Key Aspects to Keep In Mind Concerning Data
Quality of Lead Generation
There are entire teams in organizations dedicated to finding the right prospect. Content marketing, SEO, advertising, email campaigns, events, and list building exercises are one of many methods to acquire quality leads quickly and fuel other lead-gen efforts.
Quality of the lead is determined by where the prospect stands in the organization chart. Knowledge of the placement gives an additional sales opportunity even if the lead goes dark.
This enriches the lead as well as helps the sales team build relationships across the target organization.
Data is a very crucial part of sales intelligence. Subpar data can skew ROI numbers, misalign messaging, and make salespeople call the wrong prospect. 30% of the data goes bad every year. So, we need to keep in mind that data doesn’t get burnt in the churn/ high turnover rates.
Data quality is far more critical than quantity e.g., contact info of 1 CXO better than 4-5 individual contributors. So it is vital to maintain database system hygiene. The essential things to focus on are:
- Completeness: Are the records as complete as possible?
- Uniqueness: No duplicate records
- Timeliness: Is the data near real-time.
- Validity: Does the data follow a common syntax?
- Accuracy: Is the information correct?
- Consistency: Is the data syntax same across similar records?
How Data Fits My Ideal Customer Persona?
An ideal customer persona is the keystone of sales and revenue gateway. For most companies, an ideal ICP (Ideal Customer Persona) is based on the leader’s opinion. However, a persona should be ideally based on marketing or sales intelligence data.
The idea of ICP differs less or more in the same organization if it is opinion based rather than data based. The issue that arises from the above situation is a lack of a focused strategy.
Hence, having sales intelligence not only help in identifying the right persona but also allows us to develop focused customer acquisition strategy aligned with data based ICP.
Tech Stack Used By the Target Persona
One of the most valuable and yet most undervalued is the information on the technology stack used by companies. Knowledge of the presence of precise technology allows improving the conversation and conversions.
This valuable piece of information lets salesperson identify the gap and convert it into a sales opportunity. Similarly, the marketing efforts can be better aligned more towards sales enablement.
Tech stack with intent data salespersons are empowered with the right time to reach out to the prospects. Intent Data is the near real-time data about prospects’ web activities like searches and downloads. Intent data imbibed with artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning algorithms, and analyzed historical data can provide a better context and far accurate predictions.
Once you collect the data, and the quality is ascertained what actions do you take? It’s simple. With such data, you can:
- Align the messaging to the target specific persona
- Find the right areas of improvement(process or message)
- Find right opportunities for greater sales
- Understand your prospects better
- Optimize your sales performances
A recent study by McKinsey & Company says companies that have adopted data-driven marketing strategies experience 5% higher productivity and 6% higher profit rate compared to companies that don’t.
Trends Seen In Data-Driven Sales
- More and more data available to sales and marketing teams than before.
- Boost in ROI with personalized engagement with prospects leading to more empathy toned marketing.
- Data experts have moved beyond demographic data for planning and targeting.
- With Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking a front seat, Data experts are in the process of developing high-quality historical data to expand the application of AI capabilities.
Recent developments have proven that companies and their sales teams considering themselves data-driven are having far better ROI and productivity. With data-driven sales strategies in place, you will get:
- Effective messaging
- Focused measures
- Better pipeline visibility
- Higher funnel conversion rates
- Faster revenue generation
Unfortunately, many companies are still unaware of how to proceed on the data-driven approach to sales strategies. They might have precious data; however, they might not have secured them or updated regularly. More and more companies are moving to more accessible and secure cloud-based data storage systems.
B2B space is booming with digital data. Once marketing and sales teams are equipped with accurate data and parsed them through the sales funnel, your sales team should know how to use them.
Data-driven marketing will help your sales team make better decisions and set proper metrics. Until and unless you are getting all the actionable insights from your data, it remains worthless.
Weak lead nurturing tactics and failed to follow-up negatively affects your sales process. If you have strategic data-driven marketing techniques in place, you can quickly boost your sales pipeline. You need to simplify and automate your marketing and sales processes.
Bring in Quality Leads
Quality is always worth far more than quantity. Most companies run after a colossal amount of leads. As a result, they lose on a great deal of time and energy as most of these leads turn out to be cold or invalid. CXO contact is better than multiple individual contractors.
Through data-driven targeted marketing, you can right message to the right leads that will have more significant potential of becoming hot prospects in the long run. Through surveys, studying buyers personas and targeted content you can bring in higher quality leads. Optimize your data further by focusing on SEO, PPC, and social media.
Repeated & Close Follow ups
Marketing campaigns suffer due to lack of quick or repeated follow-ups. Once you capture a lead and get all the information, you must start following up with it so that it stays hot and active. Opportunities these days crave for personal attention and need to be in touch with you through the sales process. The sooner you follow up with leads, the sooner you’ll get them in the sales funnel and on the way to becoming promising prospects.
Data-driven marketing will help you send targeted follow up emails. Lead them to targeted landing pages with compelling call-to-action to attract your lead in the best possible way. This way, you can see a dramatic improvement in open rates, click-through rates, and your sales cycle will also ramp up.
Leads should never be kept idle. They become inactive, cold, and finally, dormant. Therefore, you need to put them through the lead nurturing process and monitor them to determine how close to purchasing they are.
Marketing automation software can prove quite useful in this regard, as it gives you a good idea of where in the sales process, your leads and prospects are and whether they’re ready for a sales discussion.
Through data-driven marketing, you can get such information and much more. You can study behavior pattern, buying strategies, and other movements of your prospects or customers quiet clearly.
Sales Data Analysis
More than 40% of organizations have scattered data that fails to provide any actionable insights to sales teams. Moreover, in today’s competitive marketplace, sales teams cannot function or make decisions based on a hunch, gut-feeling, mere predictions, or guesswork. Thus, sales teams need analytics that only data can provide.
A data-driven approach can help sales teams gain an accurate idea of each step of the sales funnel. With the help of key metrics, sales teams can determine the exact acquisition rate of each opportunity they are getting.
The real benefit of the data-driven approach is an insight into the sales funnel. Sales funnel the best source to determine which prospects or customers to contact, when to do it and how. It will also help you drive decisions regarding which channels to use to reach them, how much revenue can be earned, and even predicting the leads: deal ratio.
Finally, the data-driven approach helps sales teams to qualify better leads, ensuring better customer experience, and higher customer retention after the close