By Paul D’Souza
On this blog, we’ll occasionally feature insights from peak performance mindset experts. Today’s expert, Paul D’Souza, believes sales teams must have 1) the right sales strategy and 2) the right sales process before salespeople can achieve peak performance mindset. Learn more at www.DeliveringPeakPerformance.com. – Sales 3.0 Conference Editors
Data and cognitive computing have completely altered how we sell in today’s competitive marketplace.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. I have been working with a client that has a database of more than 55,000 customers – and their transaction history over time. They also have 30+ sales reps who take orders from these customers on a daily basis. Currently, though, most of these salespeople are only taking inbound calls. It is the job of their marketing department to spur their existing customers to action with various outreach campaigns that get the phone to ring.
This business model produced $23,000,000 in 2016. Based on what is possible now, I have set a revenue goal of $30,000,000 for 2017. How are we going to get there? Data.
We are going to ask data scientists to work with the data they currently have and run it through complex predictive and correlational analytic algorithms to produce actionable insights. This would give salespeople the following:
- The most ideal customers on whom to call (i.e., the customers most likely to make a purchase in the next month from the 55,000 in their database).
- Specify the “next-best” product to offer those customers.
- A win/loss analysis report, which will allow them to make better presentations.
Why Data Is Our New Currency
I have been talking about managing by the numbers for years, but the time has really come for us to manage by the data you can access – because, in a sense, data is our new currency.
The biggest challenge we have as sales and business leaders is designing sales practices that can leverage the information we can glean from the data we can access. In the case of my above-mentioned client, if they ran these data solutions and got actionable insights, they would have to change their business model and sales practices. Plus, they would need to retrain a subset of their sales team to be proactive: it takes a different set of skills to do outbound sales calls.
As you can appreciate, that is a true cost of business. It takes a lot of effort to restructure a sales team’s activity and the way they do business. They will have to reassess who among their existing team have the mental and emotional skills needed to be outbound salespeople. Then they will have to train them, restructure their compensation plan, and help them manage their new career path.
If they embraced all that and made the needed changes, a data scientist could help them run specific reports and give them the information they need to focus their new outbound activity and help them get to $30,000,000 in the next 12 months. This is with absolutely no additional marketing dollars spent. Yes, there will be a small investment for the data scientists, but I believe it will be much less than one might expect to spend to attract an additional $7,000,000 in revenue.
Four Hallmarks of Data-Driven Sales and Marketing Organizations
Business organizations that get it and see data as a friend are doing things like:
- “Mobile loyalty” programs: mobile applications with predictive analytics that can make recommendations for the next-best offer for mobile users to help them make better purchase decisions.
- “Offer management” programs. Sales teams that use predictive analytics and correlational analytics must be managed differently so customers don’t feel confused or oversold to – this is a unique issue for Sales 3.0-savvy sales orgs.
- “Personalized customer journeys” (dynamic personalized targeting in marketing and ad campaigns, so customers feel they are on a unique journey designed for them and them alone).
- “Business intelligence-driven sales process” that uses insights from predictive analytics and business intelligence reporting to help focus sales activity, producing higher returns.
All this is possible because there is data about and from your markets, customers, partners, and other related sources that can be sliced and diced to give you insights and meaning into what is possible.
In most cases, the data that impacts each of your given market segments is just too big for us to ignore. We cannot and must not rely only on past experience any longer. When you view your data as a resource, you take advantage of it to learn more about what is going on with your clients, prospects, and the marketplace. If done right, data can show you new possibilities for revenue growth and increasing market share.
Marketing and sales do have an element of art. But knowing your data reduces the reliance on art and increases the predictability of science. Doing this right can give you useful information to make better choices and changes to your sales process – helping you design new offers your customers accept.
Happy customers = more profit. To get there, repeat after me: “Data is my friend.”
Founder of the D’Souza Group’s Delivering Peak Performance and author of the award-winning book, The Market Has Changed: Have You?, Paul helps business leaders take themselves and their teams to peak performance levels of activity by improving their sales strategy, sales process, and mindset.