How to Harness the Power of Data to Improve Sales

How to Harness the Power of Data to Improve Sales

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According to an August 2016 article published by eConsultancy, businesses across multiple industries use just one-half of one percent of the data available to them. One reason for this is the wrong assumption that only large corporations have the power to analyze such massive amounts of data and make it work to their advantage. The reality is that businesses of any size can employ analytics if they develop a sensible strategy to do so.

The rapid progression of technology is another reason that so few companies have made the leap to consistently utilize analytics. The use of data has morphed from paper-based forecasting to real-time dashboards to multitudes of ever-changing marketing automation platforms.

For sales professionals, it can seem like they just mastered one form of analytics only to have to adjust to a different one. However, it’s a worthwhile investment of time and resources for sales managers and representatives to embrace the power of data driven sales.

Start by Reviewing Old Data

Any company can start with its historical sales data to determine what worked well in the past and what could use refinement in the future. It will require an investment in customer relations management (CRM) software for businesses that don’t already have it. Sorting the data electronically enables sales managers and representatives to see for themselves what they need to change. It also allows for improved sales forecasting and targeting of potentially high-revenue clients.

Analytics and Lead Generation

By using CRM software effectively, companies can automate the pre-sale process and identify the best times to approach specific customers. This is possible by incorporating algorithms to automatically score leads based on detailed information companies already have on customers’ past purchases. Additionally, using a CRM with analytics for lead generation makes it possible to get a complete picture of each customer by incorporating data from news reports and social media as well. Features such as natural-language processing and predictive analytics also help to automate the process by answering frequently asked questions.

Improve Pipeline Forecasting

Determining monthly pipeline revenue value, monthly forecasts, and pipeline profits by sales stage only provide a one-dimensional view of big data. By analyzing data points from multiple systems, sales professionals can achieve deeper insights into their performance. While one-dimensional data serves a purpose, it doesn’t offer insight into what drives sales in the first place. This knowledge is crucial to attracting new customers as well as retaining current ones. It helps salespeople see where sales stall and what they need to do to get them going again.

Increase Cross-Sell and Upsell Opportunities

Using analytics, companies can predict the next product a customer might buy and actively work to sell it to him or her. That is because the CRM software identifies patterns and presents immediate opportunities to cross-sell or upsell. Several companies that used this strategy found they could reduce their customer retention rate as well. Customers appreciate companies that anticipate their needs and can deliver an immediate solution.

Analytics is here to stay. Those who learn to take advantage of it can stay ahead of the competition and continue to improve their bottom line.

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