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Growth Insights

The importance of a sales data strategy for continued growth and scalability

4/4/22 9:36 AM / by Alice Chandrasekaran

Growth is a team sport. Like all team sports, it is key to understand your players and focus them on the right places to win. Sharing from our experiences of transforming companies with Growth Data™, here are 3 ways a sales data strategy enables you to do just that.

Hint: It doesn't stop at building a sales pipeline. 

#1. Focus your team on the right revenue-generating activities with confidence 

A data strategy drives clarity on not just which deals to focus on but also informs you quantitatively on the opportunities that are consuming your team's time with very little return and gives guidance on winning deal criteria.  For example, do you have visibility into what is the average winning time frame for deals? This typically allows setting processes that drive the right actions either follow-up or presentation within the desired time frames for a winning deal.

One of our clients has been able to connect that 2+ follow-ups on the proposal stage increases their win rate. 

Clarity drives focus.

#2. Invest in the right marketing or sales activities with clear visibility into ROI

This is actually a no-brainer for most organizations but the most complicated one to truly achieve. What is your level of visibility into ROI metrics for growth activities? The recommendation, aim for a minimum of 80-90% visibility, most importantly real-time.

A service company with 500M+ revenue had a hard rule, 10X ROI is required to continue investing in growth services. That is a great start! The flaw, however, it is manually calculated or estimated. The manual calculation can lead to errors. Estimates can be proven completely wrong in real-time. We have seen it significantly exceed expectations or significantly underperform. The saving grace comes in when in the timeline you are able to answer, how soon can you get your validation and repeat strategies that are working vs. strategies that are not working.

#3. Create high-performing and accountable sales and growth teams

Sara Jenkins-Sutton, CEO at Topiarius says it better, "Our sales team is setting higher goals with confidence, they have a sense of pride and ownership." They already had a well-defined process, a CRM, a deal pipeline, yet did not have this before. They had plateaued in revenue. The growth dashboards have played an instrumental role in creating healthy competition among reps. 

The growth dashboard is just the tip of the iceberg. The most crucial step is empowering everyone in your team to play from the same deck of cards. Here is what Ben, sales account executive at Glacier had to say after implementing their sales data strategy,

“The sales team is a lot more scalable as everyone is playing with the same deck of cards. Everyone is now using the same tools and processes. We have a streamlined and defined sales pipeline with consistent deal stages and deal status. We can now bring on someone and have them work off the same playbook. We have a sales process that senior leadership can look at and see how everyone is performing.

Our systems are streamlined and automated, particularly on the back end. The interaction between the Account Executive and the Business Development rep is much better defined. This keeps people aligned and gives us the ability to scale.”

Key Takeaway

A sales pipeline is not a sales data strategy.  Every step of the sales process needs to be clearly defined, captured in the system, and intelligence surfaced to make the right decisions at the right time.

For some, it may mean that revenue is measured purely as margins, for others, it may be that profitability needs to be monitored and improved for scale. One particular client in the professional services industry defined their success metrics as a combination of placement ratio and margin generated, both critical. This enabled their teams to prioritize the right accounts and bring alignment using data to their account-based strategy.

Understanding what success means for the business and building your data model is key to surfacing intelligence that is useful for the sales and growth teams. When teams have access to the right intelligence at the right time, it is a game-changer. 

Key considerations to applying a sales data strategy:

  1. Ensure you have the executive leadership team's buy-in and support - educate them on the power of data using tangible examples.
  2. Choose a partner that will educate your team on how to use data to their advantage
  3. Choose a proven data framework that has previously shown results to set up your sales and growth team's data foundation
  4. Choose experts - there is no time for trial and error with your growth teams

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Topics: Data Analytics, Business Growth

Alice Chandrasekaran

Written by Alice Chandrasekaran

Alice is a growth, analytics, and technology expert with extensive experience in B2B leveraging data to drive revenue success.