What is data-driven sales and what outcomes can you expect? Overview for B2B Leaders

Data-driven sales is a clear, consistent and scalable way of improving sales performance and reaching goals based on facts.

More than just a method or set of tools, data-driven sales is a way of working and a way of thinking.

3 key characteristics include:

  • Measurable – measure goals, processes and key factors influencing performance over time
  • Consistent – both leaders and their team monitor processes and approach discussions with same understanding of the real-world
  • Scalable – the same approach is effective for leading a team of 5 or 55 because it is based on data

The more control and visibility top leaders and their teams have into the pipeline, the more everyone keeps a united direction toward the same goals. Sales forecasts become more accurate and the entire organisation knows with certainty what is required.

 What outcomes can you expect?

Data-driven sales increases the likelihood you reach targets. Sales leaders using this method also report better control of their pipeline and forecasting accuracy to within 98%.

Because this method is based on actual performance data, you get real facts to work with. The numbers tell you what is working and what isn’t, instead of having to rely on ‘best-guess’.

Backed with the facts, you are better equipped to guide your team. You know what is driving progress – or where it’s held back – on overall, group and individual levels.

When everyone can clearly can see what’s happening, sales meetings become more productive. The focus shifts from ‘where are we’ to ‘what must we do next?’

Clear, continuous measurable information about performance is what differentiates this method from other methods.

For salespeople, there are many benefits to a data-driven approach. Not only do they get complete insight into their pipeline, they also gain an in-depth understanding of what they can do to influence their own performance. In short: control their own destiny.

If people are insecure or unclear about what is expected, few things can be as concrete as real numbers.

By reviewing data together, you and your team develop a common understanding of what is important. Everyone is interested in getting to the next level, whether they are new hires or highly experienced professionals.

If there are big differences in the way your team members work, getting used to one shared, structured data-driven approach may take a little time. However, once you are accustomed to a sales culture based on facts, working any other way won’t be an option.

To summarize, the benefits of data-driven sales include:

  • Greater predictability – proponents of this method have improved forecasting accuracy to within 98%
  • Clear facts on which to base decisions – answers concrete questions about strengths and weaknesses and what can be done to influence outcomes
  • Helps sales reps view their own contribution in the context of the overall organisation
  • Enables sales reps to assess their own development
  • Encourages teamwork by making achievements visible

How does it work?

Data and dashboard visualizations are used to build a clear connection between goals, actions and outcomes.

This involves.

  • Define clear strategy and goals
  • Capturing and optimizing use of data from different sources
  • Measuring and communicating key performance metrics underway
  • Using the insights to guide behavior, coach and motivate

In general, there are 4 types of data:

  1. Goal data – what is the budget, target or goal (overall through to personal level)
  2. Sales opportunity data – the details of potential sales as it develops through to won/lost
  3. Sales activity data – times and states of selected activities (e.g. calls, meetings, demos etc.)
  4. Lead sources – the source of the lead

The data comes from the CRM system or other systems or databases. This provides the basis for calculations. Calculations are performed automatically by sales analytic tools.

Results are viewed in dashboard reports and other digital channels. This form of real-time updates further strengthens the connection between goals, actions and outcomes. Everyone feels the pulse of the company.

With a data-driven sales approach, facts become part of the culture. No one plans activities or next steps without checking first to see what makes sense based on the data. Only then are other considerations factored in.

How to get started

Getting started is easier than you think. You can do it in steps.

The first step is to connect your data to the reports and review your pipeline requirements.

If data is missing or inaccurate, don’t worry. The more you use data to grow and coach your team, the more attention they will have on data quality. Any errors in the data will be visible and easier to fix.

Get in touch with us to start the first step.