Thursday, June 23, 2022
8 Data-Driven Sales Enablement Tips
Selling is no longer an interrupt-and-sell process. It’s constantly transitioning into an educate-and-inform cycle where reps have to build a solid relationship with the buyers to convince them to buy.
Given the growing importance of customer behavior, reps have to stay ahead of their prospects to predict and persuade their decisions. This is where data can work to their advantage. Data empowers sales teams to get rid of the guesswork and approach every lead with complete awareness of their pain points and expectations.
Besides eliminating the reliance on gut feeling, data also gives sales leaders a clear picture of every rep’s performance and overall outputs.
So, a data-driven sales strategy can easily one up a traditional sales workflow and produce better results. This blog will give you a deep dive into data-driven sales enablement and offer eight best practices to build a fail-proof sales strategy using data.
What is Data-driven Sales Enablement?
A data-driven sales enablement function collects and leverages data at every stage of the sales cycle to better understand customer needs and expectations, deliver tailored messaging, and maximize conversions over time.
Data can supplement your existing sales enablement workflows and better equip your team to boost the bottom line. Here’s how:
- Improved customer segmentation and inch-perfect targeting
- Determine best deals and product features to offer every prospect
- Laser-focused sales forecasts to level up planning for the next month
More importantly, data can empower your sales leaders to make better decisions. Analytics can give a clear picture of the current performance and predict future results, enabling the Head of Sales to bring reinforcements if required.
Why you need a data-driven sales strategy
Putting data at the core of your sales strategy can be a game-changer. It can fine-tune your sales process and offer a better insight into the customer journey. This puts your sales reps on the same wavelength as your prospective buyers, giving them more power to drive conversions.
Here’s how a data-driven sales strategy can benefit your team:
- Discover customer expectations and identify their preferred touchpoints
- Customize the buyer journey to increase interactions with your reps
- Get a crystal clear understanding of buyer pain points—what keeps them up at night
- Assess reps' performance through hands-on metrics and pinpoint areas of improvement
- Make your sales enablement function more robust and frictionless
Put simply, data can dig deep into your sales strategy to fuel growth and skyrocket the numbers. Now that you know the benefits you can get from a data-driven sales strategy, let’s look at eight tried-and-tested tips to design one for your organization.
8 proven practices to build a data-driven sales strategy
Here are eight actionable tips to create a data-driven sales strategy from scratch and produce the desired results:
1. Set goals and bring everyone onboard
The first step to building or revamping any part of your sales strategy is setting the main objectives shared by your entire team.
While goal-setting might seem pretty standard and straightforward on paper, it can be very complicated in reality. To make these goals realistic and achievable, you need the perspective of the sales reps, managers, and leaders—and there lies the main challenge. Bringing everyone on the same page is the most crucial part of this process.
Once you've agreed on a set of organizational objectives, fit your goals into the SMART framework. That means you have to make each goal specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Here’s an example: Increase lead generation numbers by 10% within the next six months through rigorous cold outreach and doubling down on inbound prospects.
2. Analyze current strategy to prioritize goals
Once you have a robust set of goals to shape your sales strategy, shift your focus to your existing setup and prioritize these goals.
Your team will take time and training to adapt to a strategy change or a new workflow. To ensure this transition is as seamless and efficient as possible, tie these changes to your current workflows. Doing this will allow your reps to gradually move from the status quo to the newly designed, data-focused strategy.
Besides, analyzing your current strategy will help you lay down all the objectives in the proper order of priority. Prioritization is critical to building a solid roadmap and offering the right training to your team.
3. Get leadership’s buy-in before implementation
Before you implement your strategy, take complete approval and support from your company leadership. Once you've reviewed your existing sales setup, you'll be better positioned to present a convincing stance to the upper management to make your strategy more data-oriented.
Winning your senior leaders' buy-in is crucial to preparing a solid groundwork for your team when the strategy comes into action.
Without proper support from the senior decision-makers, you might struggle to get resources to train and equip your team—especially if you're in a large organization. The idea is to prepare a detailed layout of the expected strategy, addressing the need and potential benefits of implementing this change.
4. Pick leading indicators for your sales setup
When designing a data-oriented sales strategy, focus more on leading (forward) indicators than lagging (backward) ones. The distinction is simple: leading metrics look toward the future and predict future outcomes, while lagging indicators assess past performance and base the growth on what's already happened.
Lagging indicators can offer critical insights into your team's performance. But your sales strategy should tilt more towards leading indicators to ensure that you're proactively improving this performance.
Here are some leading indicators to include in your strategy:
- Stage yield and duration
- Customer satisfaction
- Average opportunity size
- Opportunities won
A combination of both these metrics will give you a well-rounded assessment of your performance. However, leading indicators can make your strategy more action-oriented.
5. Define who owns and manages data
Data ownership is a critical piece that completes the jigsaw puzzle of your sales strategy. Before you start executing your strategy, it's crucial to clear out the specifics—who will source and collect the data, who will update and refine it, and who will be in charge of different datasets.
Sales teams don’t work in a silo. So, you’ll likely interact with different departments to collect relevant data, including:
- Marketing team to determine the content and ideas that resonate the most with your audience
- Customer support team to identify the most common pain points, queries, and concerns for your buyers
- Product/service teams to discover the most used and relevant selling points
Collecting, managing, and maintaining all this data calls for a collaborative effort and a smooth workflow for inter-team interaction. So, define this workflow and data ownership at the outset to avoid any conflicts in future.
6. Put data collection on auto-pilot
When you put data at the core of your strategy, remember to automate the data collection process and free up your team’s time to focus on more important responsibilities. Manually collecting and analyzing data can bleed into your reps’ daily schedules and bring down their productivity.
Instead, automated data collection and analysis platforms, such as a CRM tool, can make life easy for your team and the results more accurate. Pick a tool that can easily integrate with your current tech stack and produce meaningful data to aid decision-making.
7. Integrate data into decision-making
The primary goal behind a data-driven sales strategy is to generate actionable insights that empower your org's decision-makers. That means collecting data is not enough—you have to create the right processes to integrate these insights into your decision-making approach.
Map key performance indicators (KPIs) to different aspects of your sales strategy. Then base your decisions around these numbers.
For instance, you can select KPIs like average deal size, total time spent selling, and win rate to assess the sales productivity of each rep. Based on your overall sales productivity numbers, your sales leaders can decide to tweak any part of the existing workflows.
In essence, you must attribute every metric and data point to some part of your sales cycle and let the numbers guide your decision-making process.
8. Offer continuous training to your reps
When revamping your sales strategy to make it more data-focused, you have to train your reps to leverage this data in the best possible manner. This is where a formalized sales training program can do wonders for you—increasing the net sales per rep by 50%.
Data-driven sales training essentially involves educating the reps about measuring the most critical performance indicators and how to add meaning to the numbers. Create a playbook to give your reps the necessary information and materials to adopt the strategy correctly. Resources like talk tracks, persona-based selling material, and kill sheets can further level up their performance.
But setting up a training program and offering relevant resources is the first step. You also have to measure every rep's performance to see the actual outcome of this training.
With Wonderway, you have everything you need to assess reps’ performance and evaluate the effectiveness of your training program. Wonderway offers three unique tools to boost your sales reps’ efficiency:
- Onboarding: Empower reps from the beginning and set them up for success with ramp targets, templatized onboarding pathways, and performance tracking.
- Upskilling: Maximize your reps’ productivity by enhancing their skills. Identify your top performers and reward those who achieve their training targets.
- Certifications: Equip your reps with the latest sales tactics and data-centric methods through quantitative and qualitative assessments.
Wonderway simplifies performance management and improvement to skyrocket your numbers and overall team output.
Let data fuel your sales team
If data is the new oil, don't forget to use it to take your sales rocketship to greater heights. A data-driven sales strategy can dramatically change your performance and sales numbers. Data gives you greater visibility into your buyer journey and sales cycle. You can use this understanding to equip your reps better and boost the bottom line.
Use the eight best practices highlighted in this article to design and deploy a data-centric sales strategy to see the difference.