What is a Data-driven Sales Organisation?


‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure’ (Peter Drucker)… seems extremely fitting for why you should be using a data-driven approach to your sales organisation. 


A data-driven sales strategy is a method of collecting and measuring data on all interactions with prospects and existing customers to improve the performance of your sales team. From identifying the right customers to setting the right price to hiring the right people, a data-driven approach to selling provides insights that can help you make better decisions not only to close the sale but to retain existing customers. 


In other words, a data-driven approach to sales involves taking all the stored information about products and sales activities and turning it into insights that improve the overall business process. 


Data is here to stay, whether you’re garnering insight from it or not 


In this digital era, it seems nonsensical to ignore the data and analytics you can retrieve from your sales pipeline, website or marketing campaigns. And we say ignore, because whether you’re tracking these figures or not, they’re still there. Technology has become so intuitive that if you’re not taking advantage of what’s at your fingertips, you’re missing out on opportunities to better your customer experience and your overall sales success. 


With 40% of businesses feeling overwhelmed with scattered information about their customers, their sales pipeline is suffering huge costs – costs to their sales team’s time, effort and resources. Gut instinct-based sales is no longer relevant in the age of data-driven sales strategy. Business is now more fast-paced than ever before, so no matter how strong or trustworthy your gut instinct, hunch or intuition is, it can’t give you the entire picture of what’s happening in a timely or accurate manner. 


And with 56% of sales executives dissatisfied with the level of data-driven insight they deliver in their sales team, it’s not something that comes naturally to those who’ve not adopted a fresher way of doing business – it’s so important to get it right. Sales teams want the best way to gain accurate insight into their customers, and it’s made possible with the right sales intelligence tools that give a fully holistic view. 


But first, here are the basic data points you need to build a pretty salient picture of your customers:


  1. Name and contact information
  2. Demographics
  3. Income and budget
  4. Public information
  5. Previous interactions with your business
  6. Where they sit in your sales funnel 
  7. Buyer persona mapping 


You can definitely track some of this information without a data-driven strategy, sure. But if you’re wanting to convert your data into useful and timely insights (and not become a part of the 56%), your entire strategy needs to be embedded in this data-driven philosophy.


If you take charge and equip your sales team with the right tools, they will start to reap the rewards of a data-driven strategy in no time. A data-driven sales force can save your organisation time, effort, and money—resources your business most likely won’t want to waste.


Smart Prospecting Starts with a Plan 


Building a sales organisation that relies on quantifiable data for operational excellence requires all aspects of your business to adapt to working reactively based on insight – you’re going to have to build a sales organisation that’s more agile and flexible than ever before. 


Align goals and mission


To get the most out of an intelligent sales approach everybody has to be in agreement on what that looks like. In order to build a sturdy house, you need foundations. These foundations are the pillars of your sales strategy and it should fit well within your organisation. 


Build and adhere to a repeatable, measurable sales process


You’ve set up your goals and aspirations, now you need to put it into action. But first, you need to visualise the complete process and make sure everyone can understand the practices you put in place. This could include which  team to pass a prospect to, the tags one needs to add before passing it to another team, and how you define each stage in the process. For example, Leyton, a global management consultancy, has talked about how it manages its sales process more effectively using Zint: “we have found an incredible amount of new and exciting clients to speak to; companies that we previously had been unable to find using more traditional prospecting methods”.


Take into account historical data to make better decisions


The best way to tailor your sales process for the foreseeable future and inform on strategy is to look back at how you’ve done things before. What key information do you need to track that you already have? What did and didn’t work for your sales team? Developing better insight gives your team the benefit of actionable hindsight – for example, our platform allows you to identify the companies in your CRM so you can easily find the cost of lost opportunities against what you now know about this. 


Make data easy to access


Investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is a must when wanting to build a data-driven organisation. A targeted and personalised strategy is only strengthened using a CRM tool – creating an automated sales process with as little work as clicking a button to take a prospect to the next stage is something that will save time and resources. It also allows you to add notes and track custom fields that work to underpin your data and analytics. Make sure to link your CRM tool with all other sales platforms to incentivise more efficient data sharing. 


Track all touchpoints


You’ve looked at historical data, and you’re now tracking as you go, in real time. But it doesn’t end there! Make sure to take note of patterns of behaviour (engagements, type of communication, which sales pitches convert the most) to ensure you’re adapting your strategy as you go. After all, that’s the no. 1 benefit of a data-driven approach! 


Be critical about who you reach out to


While generating clear pictures of your prospects helps you build a deeper relationship with your base, it’s also important to note that identifying where you’re unsuccessfully wading through the mud should be equally considered. With such streamlined information at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to remove unengaged contacts – plus, that means you can spend more time where it counts. According to Hubspot, 36% of businesses find closing one of the hardest parts of the sales process, closely followed by qualifying at 22%.


Always keep best practices up to date 


And with 71% of sales professionals wanting to close more deals, keeping a constant communication flow throughout your team isn’t just a nice-to-have… it’s a necessity. Never let your newfound sales strategy slip back into old ways – frequent training and learning sessions are valuable tools for keeping your sales force engaged and fuelling your new data-driven organisation. Communicating best working methods should also be common practice, so set up multi-flow communication channels up to gain 360 feedback on how your data-driven strategy is influencing your sales pipeline.As a team, our customer P2P (a Fedex company) expanded their pipeline through centralising their sales processes in Zint. Linking with Salesforce, it made for a more collaborative team. 


Final Thoughts…


The main benefit of a data-driven sales approach is having full visibility of your sales pipeline, and by extension, your target market. The only thing now to uncover is getting acquainted with what you don’t know. But driving your team to a data-driven approach makes for a more confident outlook, you’re working smarter not harder!


At Zint we embrace the data-driven approach. In everything we do, we ensure our customers are given the highest level of insight into over 5 million UK companies. Eliminate wasted time by striking up conversations when your leads are in a position to buy is just what we’re here for. 



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