Is data hurting or helping your sales performance? From data overload to data overlord

The more the merrier? For this party, not necessarily.

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Let’s imagine: You get home from work, reunite with your family, and together you make your way to a new restaurant that just opened in town. You enter the establishment excited to experience a new dish, and hurriedly take out the menu.

When you open it, you realize that there are way more options than you’d expected. Each dish has every ingredient listed, including ingredients you’ve never heard of, and doesn’t contain pictures. You like how many of them sound…. but you still don’t know which one to go with! One by one your family decides which dish they want and the waiter rolls around, but you’re stuck and can’t make up your mind. By the time you do, the waiter has moved on to the next table.

The realization that you have more information than you know what to do with, yet not quite all that you need, can be daunting. In sales, we use a lot of data to make the best decisions for furthering a deal. When we find we have too much data to process, it can become confusing and actually hurt sales performance, and allow valued customers to move on to the competition.

To improve sales performance…

Gathering data on prospective clients has always been a part of sales. Sales reps conduct research on leads to determine whether they’re ideal customers and to better proceed with conversation about the deal. Knowing who to engage with and just how to engage with them avoids wasted time on dead-ends.

Beyond this, though, there’s a lot of other information sellers can use to their advantage that they may not even realize is available. Moreover, with a fast-paced market and better-informed buyers, sales reps need to stay in the loop on everything that’s happening — or may happen — in order to perform well. Gathering sales metrics helps teams improve their sales performance in the future, too.

What is sales performance? Sales performance is a measurement of how well you (or your team) are meeting your sales goals. While revenue is a big indicator of this, time spent per customer and rate of return customers are also crucial.

…data is KEY

Nowadays, good sales performance relies on data. No longer does the average sales rep rely on intuition, know-how, and people skills to repeat successes. They need to be savvy about what they’re going to do; they need to understand well what they’ve already done in order to establish a good sales process.

Sales performance metrics help teams to do this. From KPIs to average deal close time, whatever is measured — can then be improved.

Discerning good vs bad data

How can we gather this data, and what exactly should we be looking at? Many companies have already incorporated CRM software, but some 30% still struggle with insufficient or inaccurate data.

The first step to remedying this is collecting the right info in the first place.

What counts as good data?

With how long this list could get, it’s impossible to cover everything, but here are just a handful of the important sales metrics to gather:

  • Annual recurring revenue
  • Win rates (team and individual)
  • Average conversion time (conversion rates)
  • Sales cycle length
  • Customer retention rates
  • Lead and customer details such as contact information, names, and age
  • Descriptive details such as family members, life events, hobbies, and lifestyle information
  • Communication history and its recurring keywords including common concerns or demands
  • How often customers engage with your company’s social media and visit your website
  • Customer’s purchase history and experience with your org’s customer service

What makes data bad?

With such a list, it sounds like a simple case of “the more the merrier!” Yet too much data, particularly too much of the wrong stuff, is a detriment to sales teams. In fact, bad data costs businesses $3 trillion per year!

What causes data to be poor? When it is:

  • Entered incorrectly
  • A duplicate entry
  • Placed in the wrong field
  • Outdated
  • Missing!

Bad data undermines sales reps’ efforts, wastes their time, and lowers their morale. Customer experience takes a hit, too.

For effective sales performance management, companies should incorporate a competent CRM software that captures the input for teams leaving little room for human error.

Transitioning from data overload to a data-driven sales process

Data-driven sales result in greater forecasting precision, more effective sales reps, better conversion rates, faster revenue growth, and improved pipeline visibility.

Sales performance management software extracts all these important bits and spits them out into an easily-absorbed format for sellers. Let’s explore some helpful tools offered by CRM integrated software.

Automatic data capture

Smart Data Auto-Capture records all activities between email and Salesforce CRM. Calendar items, attachments, tasks, and contacts are all saved. This tool also syncs past and present information to make sure nothing goes stale. And the best part is: no wasted time on manual logging!

Guided selling

According to a Revenue Grid study, 54% of sales leaders believe AI can guide their teams to success. AI-driven deal guidance leads reps through the selling cycle faster. It directs them to take the right actions precisely when they’re needed.

Revenue Signals rely on AI to interactively make recommendations on how to carry a deal forward. It identifies deals at risk, or deals that are stuck, and sets them back on track. Following through is quick and automated; simply click on a Signal to take action. Revenue Signals even offers connection visibility as to who are the decision makers for a potential contract.

Sales coaching

Sales performance analysis uncovers best practices and star players among teams. With an established sales process, it’s easier to dole out effective training to salespeople. The aforementioned Revenue Signals are also a part of coaching, as they teach reps through habit what the common next best steps are for each stage.

Automated, personalized coaching is adjusted for each member of the team according to their individual strengths, weaknesses, and styles.

95% of sales leaders report that their organization still conducts one-on-one training sessions with reps. Imagine how much time AI-based sales coaching would save — time that could be better spent selling!

Save data, save time

In short, if data is unstructured or incomplete, it is simply unreliable for the sales process. Reps waste their time sifting through too much data or miss out on helpful insights that could make a difference, and they can lose deals as a consequence.

To learn how sales managers can bring data-based insights to their team without spending more time digging in CRM, check out our webinar with Sales Hacker, How the Best Sales Managers Turn Data Insight into Actions.

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