3 data hurdles that may be keeping you from getting the sales insights you need to compete
Data can help determine who is most likely to buy or close, what sales reps are most successful and why, where your potential new customers are, which customers are likely to buy (or pay) more, which ones are at risk of leaving, what products sell better together. It can tell you what your competitors are doing – and how you can do it better.
Done right, data gives you actionable insights that help you understand your customers and how they interact with your company, each and every day of your sales cycle. If you’re not getting those kinds of insights from your data, you may be missing out on key information that can help you build relationships – and build business.
The first step to making the most of your data is getting past some common hurdles. These are three of the biggest ones sales leaders have about data and analytics:
Hurdle #1: “We have data, but it’s not good enough.”
You probably have better data than you realize. But if you can’t properly access or analyze it, you will only get partial visibility into your sales force and your customers. For example, you may have a view into a customer’s sales data, but not be able to see data related to customer service issues, which may be housed in a separate system. If your enterprise has four different systems with customer data spread among disparate departments, no one is ever going to see the big picture, and you won’t have access to the insights that will actually help you.
Identifying the systems that you need to bring together, in a repeatable and reliable way, is your first step on the path to getting those insights.
Hurdle #2: “I have too much data!”
There’s no such thing as “too much data.” You may be overwhelmed with it, not sure how to analyze it, or you have data that’s incomplete or otherwise unusable. If you’re facing this hurdle, it probably means your data isn’t focused enough, or it isn’t modeled in a way that allows your organization to extract actionable insights.
The best practice is to start by determining your business needs, identifying the types of reports and dashboards that will meet them, and using those requirements as input to your data modelling work.
Organizing information in a way that supports your business objectives is your second step to getting insights.
Hurdle #3: “I can’t trust the information I have.”
There are a number of ways you could be ending up with data you can’t trust. You may not have the right controls in place. Perhaps you haven’t set an accepted practice for defining key KPIs. Maybe you’ve got a single person or small group pulling and integrating data – without sufficient checks and balances, they may inadvertently create inaccurate data.
If you can’t trust the data, you can’t rely on the insights that come from it – leveraging the wrong data to make sales decisions can impact your bottom line. As you move through the process of identifying source systems and modelling your data, it’s best practice to use technology from companies like Informatica. Their turnkey data management capabilities, including the ability to visualize data lineage so you know exactly what happens to your data as it moves through your business, will ensure you have data you can rely on.
Set yourself up for data success
Getting your data ducks in a row takes some effort, but it’s completely achievable, and it’s vital to your success as a sales leader. Define your needs, start small, and build from there. Pull in experts who understand the ins and outs of making data work. They can be someone from another department that’s making analytics work for their needs, a new hire with the right expertise – or an external managed services analytics team who can plug into your operations and get things up to speed fast.
We are all working in an incredibly competitive landscape – using data effectively can give you a real advantage. With the right expertise and processes, customer data can become accurate, accessible, timely and repeatable – offering genuinely useful analytics and actionable insights that will help you compete, grow and succeed.