Successful sales professionals tend to depend on their gut feel and natural charisma to gain a competitive advantage. Is sales prowess by itself sufficient to predict or influence customer behaviour?
Not really. It also needs the support of data today. And lots of it.
The Covid 19 pandemic has changed the marketing landscape in many ways as sales meetings, demonstrations and events went digital over the past two years.
According to a recent Mckinsey report, about 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer the digital mode of buying and don’t want to return to the pre-COVID norm either.
A sales strategy that incorporates data insights is expected to give big pay-offs in these critical sales areas:
Lead generation and qualification
Usually, cold calling has a low success rate in soliciting prospects. But if empowered with internal and external data, lead conversion rate could be higher.
Data are of two types. For starters, the operational data that comes from your internal CRM system – be it win rates, sales cycle length, average deal size, number of contact moments and so on. This is gathered while doing sales. Collecting and structuring CRM data can provide demographic and behavioural insights about customers. If used in conjunction with external company information that exists in many shapes and forms, a holistic sales strategy could be devised.
For instance, a sales manager found from an external company database that her existing client was also a director of a prospect company. By leveraging her network, she managed to get a foot in the door of the prospect company. Furthermore, she ensured the prospect passed the necessary test of financial strength and creditworthiness before signing the deal.
Many companies have already started using lead-scoring algorithms based on detailed and granular data sets of their prospects in an area.
Data analysis can give insights into human traits that make winners. Integrating sales performance with other information such as HR data and customer profile can help identify talent that is high-performing.
For instance, a leading construction equipment company found its market share dipping in specific districts. Data analysis showed that sales staff with civil engineering degrees had a better success rate in these areas – especially with large clients. It used the insight to focus more on technical training for its existing workforce while also hiring more civil engineers for the region.
Maximize customer value
A data-driven strategy enables offering a more personalized sales experience. For instance, using CRM you can figure out what is the likelihood of your customer buying another product of your company. For instance, a sales manager in a bank might find that a high credit card bill outstanding has a strong correlation with taking a personal loan. This in turn could help cross-sell products to existing clients.
There is a popular sales maxim – it costs 5X more to acquire a new customer than it costs to keep a current one. A good data analysis helps predict the likelihood of customer churn and take action beforehand.
How to get started?
Capitalize on internal data resources from your website and CRM platforms. Resort to data cleaning and enrich your database with external data points from specialized company data providers. Use low-cost solutions that are ready to deploy from the cloud to get started. Once you start witnessing the benefits of data analytics, invest further in data infrastructure. Sometimes, external databases need to be seamlessly integrated with existing CRM platforms for it to be valuable to the sales force and at the right time.
The ability to predict and influence customer behaviour requires more than just sales prowess. It requires loads of authentic data – internal as well as external. Leveraging it in turn can give you huge pay-offs in the long run.
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- Our Customers have found value in using Probe42.in to enable their decisions involving Identifying prospects, sales preparation, credit and competitor analysis, etc.
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