Sales teams today have more data to process than ever before. Thanks to the increasing effectiveness in lead generation activities, the amount of data they receive daily can be overwhelming. Consequently, 70% of sales leaders feel that the rates of change in competitive activity and customer expectations are fast accelerating, according to 2017 CSO Insights on World-Class Sales Practices.
As advances in technology continue to cultivate change, sales operations managers need to elevate their role. Beyond simply gathering data, sales teams must effectively organize and analyze data to make it actionable. Only then can they gain a competitive advantage.
In trying to achieve this goal, many sales teams have encountered an explosion in the sales productivity tools available for use. However, there’s still a disconnect between what sales teams do and what the best data management practices prescribe. Here’s an outline of the data management activities on which sales ops should focus to increase efficiency.
1. Data Assessment & Analysis
The first place to start is to regain control of all the data you already have. This entails identifying your current data model within your sales and marketing tools to establish holes in the collection process. Review the most valuable information and evaluate the collection and data entry process of the entire sales team. Some areas to assess include:
- Data accuracy, cleanliness, and completeness — your sales team should aim to utilize data effectively and also improve its quality as a whole.
- Segmentation — when data is accurate, creating customer segments becomes easier. In doing so, you can better craft a message that speaks directly to your market’s most significant concerns.
- Lead scoring and grading — filter leads based on your ideal customer profile on a grade of 1-100. Keep in mind that the accuracy of these scoring engines depends on the completeness and accuracy of the data points they use as parameters, so check your settings or reach out to tech support. Once you’re confident in the data return, you can then focus on the prospects that create the most value for your business.
2. Integrate Sales Software with Your Existing CRM
The sales ops team is responsible for managing the sales technology stack. On average, each organization has ten tools and will add four more in the next year. CRM systems are the easiest to adopt among sales organizations. Unfortunately, getting your sales tech stack to integrate with your CRM is not quite as easy.
A study by the Miller Heiman Group revealed that less than 25% of sales organizations felt their sales technology stack effectively addressed their challenges. Many sales teams miss out on the opportunity to improve their performance through the integration of systems. Organizations with a more integrated sales system demonstrated a 9% higher success rate than those without one.
Through the integration of all of your sales and marketing systems, sales ops can better manage the sales process. The team has a better chance at updating the CRM and maintaining the data within it.
It also becomes easier to manage marketing automation, which helps with sales and marketing alignment. By creating a formal process, both teams can jointly nurture leads.
3. Improve Data Accessibility for Both the Marketing & Sales Teams
Proactive marketing and sales teams are always on the move, pursuing new opportunities to generate leads and convert them. Unfortunately, most of them lack the time and resources to dig through data and reports to get what they need. As such, their communication becomes curtailed, hindering them from completing their project goals. With an easy-to-use data management platform, teams can access real-time data to make more informed choices.
4. Make Data Actionable
Understanding the data you have is one thing, but deriving value from it is another. It’s only when information is actionable that you start to see improvements in the effectiveness of the sales process. At any stage of data collection, you must be able to connect it to actionable insights directly. For example, is your data telling you that prospects are not engaging with the collateral you send them?
If the answer is yes, use your understanding of this segment’s prospects to evaluate why and create the appropriate game plan to make these insights actionable. It’s the responsibility of sales professionals to develop the policies and processes that enable your leads to take the desired action. Without such a system, you’ll lack the necessary level of understanding of your customers. Your sales process will then be nothing more than a hunch.
5. Invest in Dynamic Sales Forecasting
Successful lead nurturing is all about tracking past touchpoints while moving toward more formal and dynamic sales processes for improved performance. Organizations are increasingly investing in dynamic sales processes, adopting the agility and analytics needed to empower them to mobilize more efficiently and meet buyer expectations.
An effective sales forecast uses historical and predictive data from both sellers and sales managers for the most accuracy. With a centralized tracking platform, your team can adequately personalize their touchpoints to maximize future prospecting efforts. By keeping a record of historical touchpoints, they can better identify the best practices for forecasting. They can also use the appropriate data to track correspondence and help reps have informed conversations with prospects.
Additionally, sales managers can provide better leadership when they can offer valuable tips like the best email templates, activity logging, and call times.
Sales operations is an integral part of any growing organization. By investing in the right data management practices, sales teams can align their sales operations for better performance and higher quota attainment.
If your sales team has yet to create a roadmap for data management practices, it’s high time to do so. Let an expert in data management give you insights into how to improve your strategies for an enhanced sales process.
About The Author: Patrick Hudgins
Patrick is the co-founder and CEO of Delegate.
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