• Josh Walton

How to Crush 2019- Guide to a Data-Driven Sales Strategy

Updated: Dec 31, 2018

In 2018, most organizations tried to implement a data driven approach as one of their themes for the year but what exactly does being data driven mean? Most folks know that it is a popular buzzword but they don’t properly act on it.

In layman terms, data driven is defined as: determined by or dependent on the collection or analysis of data. (Using data to inform all of your sales practices and decision making processes).

How does sales become data driven when it is an art, not a science though?! On the contrary, Sales is now a department that relies more than ever on the science half.

Being data driven- rather than simply having data means moving towards a direction that requires organizations to not only collect, analyze and parse data but also put your insights into action.

Here are 5 steps to take to prep your organization for a data fueled 2019.

1. Involve all stakeholders & Secure company buy-in

A data driven strategy starts from the top of the totem pole. If leadership does not back the idea, it will rarely catch on. Doing this is typically easier said than done but the proof is in the pudding. We would suggest drawing educated conclusions about the impact your current data has on the sales process and then present your findings to leadership. Make sure to show some type of ‘Return on Investment’. They love that stuff.

Look into your CRM, sales enablement tools or your marketing automation platform to leverage existing data . Let us know if you want to learn what makes up a killer technology stack.

Here are a couple ways to speak with different stakeholders and show them the value of what using data can bring them.

Example 1:

Let’s say you are SAAS company that sells a CRM system. You might pull a report that assesses the “ACV” or “average contract value” from all accounts closed last year and separate them by revenue buckets ( Sub 100M, 100M-500M, 500M +). When you pull this report you notice that the ACV for companies in the Sub 100M bracket is more than the 500M bracket.

You know that your VP of sales is looking to hire more heads within the salesforce so bringing this to light might help him make a “data driven decision” to hire more folks for the 100M bracket.

Example 2:

Here is another example of a company that sells Accounting software. A sales operations manager takes all available data from the 100 companies that bought from them last year. After analyzing the data set, she finds the following points in common:

-Initial contact’s job title (Accounts Payable)

-Buyer’s job title (VP Finance)

-Company Size

She is able to assess that when a sales rep initially contacts a certain job title, that leads to a particular title actually buying the software and all of these accounts are within the 100M-500M bracket range.

The Sales manager is about to segment accounts for a big sales push so perhaps the message communicated to him would be :

Pull a specific report of all accounts within the 100M-500M bracket, who have an Accounts Payable and VP Finance. From there they can go even further and assess the script that was initially used to pitch. You get the idea.

These are high level data points that can create a massive shift in direction, thus convincing your organization to buy in.

2. Collect proper data or prioritize data cleanliness

You would never complete a puzzle without all the pieces so why would you attempt to plan a strategy with bad data or non-existent data.

We would suggest cleansing your current data, wherever it may be housed. For example, having all current customers and some basic data points would be a good start. Revenue, Location & contract size are easy ones to organize. Constantly audit your customer database & prospecting lists to ensure cleanliness moving forward.

3.Take time to evaluate your technology stack and let it work for you

Avoid Siloing data at all costs. This is a big theme in 2019 as many companies have a ton of data but they are located in different systems, different departments, sometimes in different locations! We would suggest taking a deep dive into your current tech stack and diagnose which ones are necessary and which can go. Moving forward, you should be consulting multiple stakeholders before purchasing any software (is it user friendly, can the technology integrate with your current technology stack). Having sales rep test a software being using is also key and will save time in the future. Additionally, most companies don’t get the most out of their purchased tech stack without the help of a service provider (like Jameson Strategies).

4. Interpret your data and action your findings

If you collect data but do not act on it - what use is it! Almost every aspect of a sales strategy can be tweaked with data. Here are some examples of how this can be used. Consider less common data points as every little bit helps.

Sales Enablement: Certain sales enablement tools can track what time of day prospects open their email as well as pick up the phone. A sales development manager can track these data points, average them out over the week and set a cadence or schedule that reflects the data collected. Who knew calling prospects at 4:39pm on Saturday afternoons resulted in more conversation!

Closing: By tracking how many proposals are sent over the lifespan of a prospect in the pipeline, you can get an idea of how many proposals need to be sent for a win. For example, for every 3 proposals that are sent, you win 1, your closing rate would be 33%

5. Consistently train and update departments on new technology or processes (Especially Sales)

Sales reps hate logging information. They will almost never do it unless your CRM administrator makes mandatory fields OR you incentivise reps. Showing the reps that by logging they can win more deals is one example but you’ll need to pull the proper data to show them. Consider having a monthly data cleanse or training session to ensure data cleanliness throughout your organization.

Looking to build a data driven strategy for 2019 but not sure where to start? Shoot us an email at info@jamesonstrategies.com and let's chat about what you can do to knock 2019 out of the park!

#datadriven #sales #salesstrategy #crush2019