Sales teams use data from a wide variety of sources to identify leads and close deals, but few sales teams can be considered completely data-driven. Despite the availability of detailed analytics and sophisticated CRM systems, approximately 60% of companies still use gut instinct and experience to make decisions. In the face of rising competition, sales teams must evolve beyond this and become fully data-driven. Here is what it means to be a data-driven sales team and the benefits of building such a team.

What Is a Data-Driven Sales Team?

Businesses are collecting, storing, and analyzing data more than ever before, whether in CRMs, marketing automation software, or otherwise. Data-driven sales teams leverage information collected during every sales interaction to personalize customer outreach, predict customer needs, and improve conversion rates. 

This approach allows teams to optimize their sales processes instead of adopting a spray-and-pray approach. The benefits of having a data-driven sales team range from financial to operational. It can help businesses establish stronger relationships with its customers. Here are the top three benefits of building a data-driven sales team.

3 Benefits of Having a Data-Driven Sales Team

1. Standardized Processes Help Improve Operational Efficiency

Each customer is unique and needs to be approached as an individual. However, once contact is established, sales processes are highly repetitive and primed for standardization and automation. To maximize productivity, teams must standardize processes across different product lines and types of customer outreach. The data points collected during customer outreach also become easier to organize if the collection processes are standardized for all sales personnel. 

2. Empower Sales Teams to Personalize Customer Outreach

Customers respond to sales outreach methods according to their needs. Younger customers might prefer outreach through social media or text, while an older audience might prefer more traditional methods of outreach such as phone calls or email. The timing of outreach and the messaging used can also have a significant impact on sales numbers and customer relationships. Personalized customer data can help sales teams reach customers using methods and messages that are most effective for their unique needs and preferences. Recent research confirms this: 83% of marketing teams that exceeded their revenue goals used some kind of personalization technique. This often involves segmenting your audience into categories within a company’s CRM using one or more segmentation models and developing custom communication strategies for each.

3. Build Information Sharing Pipelines That Improve Reporting

Sales figures are of crucial importance to internal and external stakeholders in businesses. Growing teams must use this sales data to prove their sustainability and viability to investors and business partners. Business leaders can also use this data to improve strategic decision-making at the top levels. Data-driven sales teams are perfectly positioned to collect this data, organize it in useful ways, and report to business leaders. Modern technology has made it easy for organizations to build and maintain information sharing pipelines that provide sales and financial data to business leaders in real time.

How to Build a Data-Driven Sales Team

Achieve Buy-in From Every Team Member

Data collection systems only work if every member of the team actively participates in the process. Crucial customer information is often stored in silos spread across the organization and sales teams only have a partial understanding of their customers’ needs. Business leaders must communicate the importance of customer data and make it easy for team members across the organization to collect and share. These processes also have to be standardized and accessible to team members who might not have a background in data management. 

Evaluate Existing Data Processes

Every business, regardless of the extent of its digital transformation efforts, collects and stores customer data, often in CRMs and other platforms. Sales teams that want to use this data must first evaluate the volume and quality of the data they already have. Evolving sales teams don’t need to start from scratch if their existing data collection pipelines already deliver important information to the right personnel. However, cleaning this data and modernizing existing data processes can help sales teams leverage specific data points more effectively while improving customer satisfaction. Modern data management tools also help business leaders highlight important data points and receive a holistic view of their business’s financial performance. 

Determine Where Automation Can Optimize Processes

When working toward data-driven sales teams, business leaders often focus on processes that can directly impact data collection, storage, or analysis. However, it’s important to empower sales teams to make full use of the analytical tools offered to them by freeing them from low-value tasks. Repetitive and time-consuming tasks can distract sales personnel from high-value tasks that generate revenue for the business. Automation can help to ensure that these processes are still completed properly and on time while allowing sales personnel to spend more time interacting with existing and potential customers. 

Create a Consistent Feedback Loop

The data gathered by modern sales teams can help businesses improve efficiency and increase conversions. In addition to these benefits, business leaders can also use this data to consistently evaluate the effectiveness of sales and marketing activities. The information gathered by data-driven sales teams can act as feedback for business leaders who might choose to adjust their strategy to maximize profitability. This feedback loop can also improve data collection processes, with data teams working with sales teams to optimize the information that is collected and shared within the organization.

Sales teams form an important part of any business. It is, therefore, important for their operational processes to be effective and efficient. Every sales interaction for growth-stage companies represents an opportunity for continued engagement with their customers. Sales and marketing data can help sales teams understand the needs of their customers and optimize their outreach to maximize the possibility of conversion. As more companies embrace data-driven sales strategies, information gathering and personalized outreach will become essential for businesses operating in saturated and competitive markets.

Author Bio: 

Loretta Jones is VP growth at Acceldata.io with extensive experience marketing to SMBs, mid market companies and enterprise organizations.  She is a self proclaimed ‘startup junkie’ and enjoys growing early stage startups. She studied Psychology at Brown University and credits this major to successful marketing as well as navigating a career in Silicon Valley. She’s a nature lover and typically schedules her vacations around the migratory patterns of whales and large ocean creatures.