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5 Ways Big Data Is Changing Your Direct Sales Team

5 Ways Big Data Is Changing Your Direct Sales Team.jpg

5 Ways Big Data Is Changing Your Direct Sales Team.jpg

Sales organizations have an unprecedented amount of data available at their fingertips. While it’s easier than ever to access big data, the data itself can be overwhelming. In fact, 53 percent of sales managers say they feel overwhelmed by the volume of data, and 38 percent admit that they don’t know what to do with data once they get it.

When leveraged properly, big data can provide real-time, personalized information. In fact, fortifying outreach programs with data can boost productivity by up to 15 percent and decrease lost sales by up to 27 percent.

To help illustrate exactly how big data can change your direct sales team, we’ve outlined five ways that big data can inform your sales decisions and processes.

1. Improving Customer Insight and Analytics

Sales has become one of the most dynamic business fields. In the last couple of years, sales teams have worked to develop and implement advanced relationship-driven sales strategies. In this regard, customer analytics has emerged as one of the most popular use cases for big data.

According to a 2015 survey, 48 percent of respondents said they use big data to help achieve the following:

  • Increased customer acquisition
  • Reduced churn
  • Increased revenue per customer
  • Improved existing products

Big data analytics has the potential to provide your direct sales team with accurate, data-driven insight on your customers. Integrating data and systems creates a more unified view of your customers.

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2. Automating the Sales Process

According to a strategy consulting firm, sales reps spend about 40 percent of their time on non-client-facing work. While reps do have to put in the necessary effort to research and prepare a deal, there is still a large amount of follow-up work—order management, product configuration, and other administrative tasks—that can be automated.

Big data helps teams refine their sales enablement efforts, which, in turn, improves the efficiency of their overall sales process. By incorporating a process for real-time data collection, and implementing an effective technology-enabled platform, big data streamlines operational processes. Big data helps automate manual tasks and enables your sales team to focus on customer-facing interactions.

3. Identifying Upsell and Cross-Sell Opportunities

While big data targets customers with advanced analytics to score the likelihood that they will buy, it can also help teams understand what to expect in the future. Cross-selling occurs when customers purchase products to enhance a previous purchase. Upselling occurs when customers purchase a more expensive product from the same product line.

Upselling and cross-selling require an intimate knowledge of your customers. Factors such as past purchases and preferred communication channels show which products and promotions generate the best responses. Thus, big data can be used in RFMVT (recent purchases, frequency, monetary value, and variance in trend) modeling to identify whether prospects are an effective short-term opportunity or a smart long-term investment.

Big data helps teams identify future opportunities—which, ultimately, increases revenue per customer at lower costs.

4. Nurturing Existing Clients

Much like identifying upsell and cross-sell opportunities, big data can nurture current clients—which helps drive repeat sales. Loyal, active customers are among the most valuable assets for any business. However, you need to use your data to determine what loyalty means for your company, and then tier you’re nurturing and support to focus on your greatest potential for growth. Loyalty means different things to different companies.

On one hand, poor sales efforts can alienate customers. On the other, premature post-sales contact can feel pushy. Loyalty is only as good as the support you need. Big data collection can be used to appropriately target post-purchase promotions and sales calls. For example, past purchase data can be used to estimate when customers are likely to run out of their existing supply of your product.

It's true that up to 14 percent of customers turn over each year. Big data can help reduce this number by nurturing current clients based on customer lifecycle stage. When leveraged properly, big data can help your direct sales team earn both a repeat purchase and customer gratitude.

5. Managing Key Performance Metrics

Key performance indicators (KPIs) help sales teams pinpoint exactly what they need to focus on to guarantee organizational success. However, to reiterate, knowing which data points to track can be difficult. Many companies struggle to identify KPIs and end up reporting on a random set of metrics that don’t provide insights and don’t encourage smart decision-making.

Managing KPI metrics is another important way that big data makes sales enablement possible. By implementing an effective data collection strategy, sales leaders can pinpoint, measure, and track the right KPIs. In doing so, they can then connect KPIs to sales initiatives to manage and incentivize the performance of individual reps.

You aren’t likely to get results just because you have a trove of big data. You need to know what you need to know, and how you will use it when you know it. In other words, you need a plan, and big data shouldn’t be the answer, but the formula that gets you the results you seek.

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