Sales data holds a wealth of insight that can help guide your initiatives and sales campaigns, if you wield it strategically. Data-driven sales strategies are essential for optimizing sales performance and achieving long-term goals. If you’re a B2B sales leader looking to embrace a data-centric approach, we’re covering 8 steps to get you there.
1. Define Objectives and Key Metrics
Begin by identifying the specific objectives you’re striving to achieve with data-driven sales implementation. Some common goals include:
- Increasing lead conversions
- Reducing sales cycles
- Growing revenue by a specific percentage
- Increasing upsells
Once the objectives are clear, pinpoint key metrics that align with these goals. These might include:
- Customer lifetime value (CLTV)
- Average deal size
- Lead-to-close ratio
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Sales cycle length
Depending on your business type, different metrics and objectives may make more sense for you.
Action Item: Conduct a team meeting to discuss objectives and finalize key metrics that align with them.
2. Audit Existing Data
Take inventory of all the data sources you currently have. This could include things like:
- CRM system
- Website analytics tool(s)
- Website visitor tracking tool
- Customer feedback surveys
- Win-loss data
- Email marketing platforms
- Sales intelligence tools
An important part of this step is to examine the quality of your existing data. Look for outdated information, duplicate entries, and any inconsistencies.
Action Item: Assign someone on the team to clean up the data, removing any discrepancies.
3. Set Up Sales Data Collection Methods
Based on the sales objectives and metrics you decided on above, figure out what types of sales data you’ll need to collect to track every metric successfully. This could include:
- Behavioral data – Customer behaviors and interactions, from website behavior to email engagement
- Qualitative data – Including customer feedback and reviews, and sales call notes
- Financial data – Metrics like average deal size and customer lifetime value (CLTV)
- Time-related data – From sales cycle length to average response time
- Competitor data – Up-to-date information around market position and competitor pricing
- Performance data – Individual sales rep performance, plus channel performance
- Technological data – Success metrics from your different tools/platforms
If you’ve identified a gap during step 2 or based on the data types listed here, now’s the time to invest in robust tools that will help you collect and analyze data. Platforms like Salesforce or HubSpot for CRM, Tableau for data visualization, and LeadLander for website visitor identification can be invaluable. Set up any new systems you need to start gathering all the data to effectively track your metrics.
Action Item: Create a sales data collection plan aligning each objective with a metric and tool. Share it with your team.
4. Train the Team
Training is often the linchpin in the successful implementation of a data-driven sales plan for many reasons, including:
- Ensures Data Accuracy. Proper training helps team members understand the importance of entering sales data accurately and consistently, which is vital for reliable analysis later on.
- Tool Utilization. Knowing how to use analytics and CRM tools effectively can mean the difference between a sales team that’s merely “busy” and one that’s productive.
- Team Alignment and Standardization. A well-trained team is more likely to be on the same page, using the same metrics, language, and methodologies. This will help you become a more unified and efficient unit.
Types of Training
Consider implementing multiple types of training, like:
- Onboarding Training – As soon as a new tool is introduced or a new data-driven strategy is formulated, an initial comprehensive training session should be held to get everyone up to speed.
- Ongoing Training – Tools update, features get added, and sales data best practices evolve. Ongoing training will help your team adapt to these changes.
- Specialized Workshops – Consider periodic workshops focusing on specific skills, like data analytics, report interpretation, or best practices for data collection.
Action Item: Schedule regular refresher training sessions to keep everyone updated.
5. Implement Data Tracking
Establish standardized processes for how each team member will input and track their sales data. This ensures consistency and reliability. To keep everyone on track, set up weekly or bi-weekly checkpoints either with your entire team or with each employee to monitor data collection.
Action Item: Schedule regular team and/or 1:1 meetings for data tracking updates.
6. Analyze and Interpret Your Sales Data
Following your sales data collection plan, use an analytics tool to convert your data into actionable insights. From there, you can identify trends or anomalies that need attention. Make sure to generate and review regular reports that summarize key metrics, trends, and insights for the team.
Action Item: Schedule quarterly review meetings with your executive team to review recent sales data reports and the progress your team is making.
7. Make Data-Driven Decisions
Use your team meetings to discuss the insights gleaned from data analysis. This will enable you to make small and big changes as appropriate based on what the data tells you.
Say your sales analytics dashboard reveals that leads generated from webinars have a conversion rate of 45%. This is significantly higher than leads coming from other channels like social media or email marketing, with conversion rates of around 20%. You decide that you want to take full advantage of your webinars for lead generation. So you:
- Cut back on email campaigns and reallocate resources to create more webinars.
- Develop a new webinar schedule that includes monthly educational webinars targeting high-value prospects.
- Assign two sales team members with prior experience in webinar management to handle webinar planning and execution.
- Collaborate closely with the marketing department to promote the webinars more heavily on social media platforms and through targeted PPC campaigns.
Action Item: Based on any changes your team agrees to make, create an action plan with clearly defined responsibilities and deadlines.
8. A/B Test and Adjust
As you become more comfortable with sales data collection and analysis and making small adjustments based on the insights you’ve gleaned, now comes the fun part. Run small A/B experiments to test any hypotheses or assumptions that your team has made during the data interpretation phase.
For example, your team thinks that email subject lines that contain data around results have higher click-through rates (CTRs), but you can’t be sure based on so many other factors in your email campaigns. So you run an A/B test to compare the results of the same email using two different subject lines. You discover that the CTR is 10% higher with data-oriented subject lines, proving your hypothesis. This insight will inform your subject line copy moving forward.
Action Item: Document the outcomes of each A/B test for future reference. You never know when it might come in handy.
Find Results with Data-Driven Sales Implementation
Implementing a data-driven sales strategy might seem daunting, but with the right approach and systematic implementation, it’s entirely achievable—and incredibly rewarding. By following this guide, you’re well on your way to establishing a culture of informed decision-making.
If you’re looking to add a website visitor tracking tool to your sales data toolbox, LeadLander might be a fit. Try it free for 14 days, no credit card needed.