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Enabling Sales Teams With Data

· 4 min read
Christopher Brox

Companies across the globe are using data to unlock insights, cut costs, and grow revenue. When collected properly, data can tell a story about how to improve current workflows and manage teams better. Sales teams can unlock exponential potential by harnessing data and using it to drive decision making.

At this point, most sales leaders realize this but unfortunately many do not know how to begin. Simply hoarding call logs and emails in a CRM doesn't do enough. Instead, leaders should focus on the sales journey and identify areas where data can make a difference. While this may look different for different sales teams, you can generally start by breaking the sales journey into three parts – business development, sales, customer success – each with their own data strategies.

1. Business Development

The ultimate goal of data is to automate as much as possible because automation can free up resources and reduce costs. No where in the sales process is more ripe for automation than business development because much of the work is predictable.

First, identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). If you already have a mature business, utilize the data you have in on your current customers to understand the characteristics of the people and companies that buy your product. Which roles are involved in discovery and decision making? Which industries buy from you the most and the least? Which lead sources have resulted in the most pipeline and closed revenue? If you don't have a mature business, find what data you can (hint: look at your competitors' websites) and make an initial hypothesis that you can adjust over time.

Second, utilize a sales engagement platform that allows you to engage with prospects and store/analyze data on those engagements. Take a look at or other products like it. These tools allow you to create messaging and automate sending emails to your prospects. Use the data that these tools collect to understand how your messaging resonates with different personas and to answer questions like – Which subject lines work best? Which roles open the most emails? Which industries are responding most positively to your messaging? Use these answers to fine-tune your messaging overtime and become more effective at engaging prospects and creating pipeline.

2. Sales

The role of sales (securing revenue) is less automatable but you can still utilize data to increase the effectiveness of this role. So instead of thinking about how can I automate this function of sales, ask yourself how can you empower your sales people to make better decisions by equipping them with data. However, to be successful you need to focus on training your sales reps on how to gain actionable insights from the data you provide them.

For example, you can provide your account executives with a data platform that aggregates information about their target accounts. This information could include company news, quarterly/annual financial reports and presentations, org charts, new hirings and job listing, and really any other information you find about an account. However, to make this data actionable, consider building a sales enablement program that trains your account executives on how to use this data in every step of the sales process.

This will result in better discovery calls, better demos, and better conversations with prospects. Instead of "just reaching out to check on that proposal" a salesperson can instead reach out because they "heard of the recent merger and saw that the new CEO is focused on digital transformation."

3. Customer Success

Customer success is an ongoing process and data can be leveraged to continuously improve this process over time. The challenge here is to collect useful data on how your customers are using your product/service and identify the friction they experience when attempting to secure value. However, collecting this data will only get you so far. You have to turn this data into stories and communicate it with the rest of the organization.

These stories should be regularly shared with the sales team so that they have a better understanding of the value of your services. When sales people see this data and hear these stories, they're able to integrate this value into the messaging and conversations they're having with prospects. These stories should also be communicated with the product team so that they can adjust the roadmap to remove friction and increase the value your service is providing your customers.