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S M T W T F S
     
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Syndication

Sellers that don’t have good data will struggle to repeat their success so we must recognize the importance of data in sales

 

Kyle Morris operates a company called SifData which features an application that sits on Salesforce to help companies track job changes.  

 

Defining data

Sales reps are very intuitive. They understand things well and many people assume that anecdotes and data are the same. They assume that, because they closed a deal with a company similar to the one they are interacting with, that constitutes data. Because a tactic worked previously, they may assume that they can use that information as data moving forward. 

In other words, they assume that if a tactic worked once, it’s solid and they should continue using it. 

Kyle points out that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. We must stay objective and make decisions based upon actual information rather than sticking our finger to the wind to determine which way it’s blowing. 

Data is  objective information about people, companies, or whatever your data set is that helps you make informed decisions. One of the easiest ways to identify the companies that could buy your product is by identifying the companies that have already bought your product. Figure out what’s common among them and then use that as a template to decide who to sell to in the future. If you’re selling to companies that are unique, you might find another market that also has that same commonality.  

Some data will get you pretty far but you must be able to fill in the gaps that data doesn’t cover. Having anecdotes that prove your point isn’t the same as having data. #SalesData

Data problems

The two biggest problems common to data are that companies use data sources that are inconsistent and that they have too much data that isn’t actually valuable. 

Consider Uber as an example. If you’re trying to sell to Uber, some sellers might consider it enterprise while others view it as mid-market since they only have a couple of thousand employees. LinkedIn might reflect that the company has 35,000 employees, including drivers. If companies aren’t careful about where they are choosing data, it can create confusion. 

Be consistent about where you get data, even if it isn’t perfect, because you’ll at least be consistently wrong. Limit the number of resources you use to make classifications, especially for things like territories or number of employees or revenue. 

Many CRMs have a full page of information that reps never use. It doesn’t add value and it actually becomes a burden to them. Approach this with the same mentality you use when designing your website: what’s above the fold is critically different than what’s below the fold.It’s impactful where things are placed, and if reps have a bunch of unnecessary information at the top of the form it burdens them. 

If the reps don’t absolutely need it, then remove it. Streamline your process. Develop a discipline around reducing the amount of noise that your reps see based on the information they need. If the data won’t actually impact how they work through the sales process, it should be removed since it won’t actually move the needle. 

Guesstimation

Donald Miller says that if you confuse, you lose. We cannot confuse our reps. If we do, they’ll likely go back to what they’ve always done before, which is guesstimation. 

Imagine driving a truck built in 1965 versus a fighter jet built in 2019. The truck likely haas a stick shift and like two buttons for the radio, so almost any person can use it to get from point A to point B. Put that same person in a fighter jet with a million buttons and they won’t understand how to move forward. 

Sales reps must be able to execute and they shouldn’t be asked to fly a fighter jet if all they really need is a 1965 Chevy. 

Additionally, more data points mean that some operator has to maintain those fields. You must make sure the information is accurate because inaccurate data will make your CRM less valuable. Again, if that happens, your reps will start using anecdotes to make decisions again. 

Cry wolf

All those unnecessary fields will prompt your reps to fill them in, which will become cumbersome. If it isn’t a useful data point, they may just plug something in to fill the blank so they can move on. Your reps must be able to trust the fields that are on the page. 

Make the process simple and easy to engage. Remove as much as you can from the page layout so that your reps are only interacting with data that moves the needle. 

Everything can’t be critical. You can’t have 10 tier-one problems with no tier-two problems. You cannot cry wolf and represent that everything is vital.  

Kyle recalls his operations team once telling him that they needed a new field to be added to the CRM. He insisted that the team could add one field if they could identify two that could be removed. He said that it forces them to be intentional about the information they gather. 

Words are currency. You must make sure the process is easy. Find ways to break down barriers.

Effective data

Kyle said he’s a fan of using very specific people in very specific roles. Sales reps are most effective at building rapport, identifying pain and need, and closing deals.If you’re using your sales reps to collect data, you’re probably spending more money for it than you need to. And just as you would never ask your data-entry person to close deals, you probably shouldn’t ask your sellers to crunch data. 

Businesses may think they are being efficient by asking sellers to multi-task. They may figure the seller is already going to be on the site anyway so he can just collect the data. Consider the brain change that must take place in that situation. Sales reps must change their entire thought process in order to shift gears into data collection.

Switching back and forth can be tedious because it requires different muscles. Allow the people who are better at data to handle data. 

Every minute your seller isn’t selling results in money down the drain. Keep your opportunity costs in mind. 

Refresh data

Establish a process to refresh your data. As your company continues to accumulate accounts, you must track which ones are good or bad. Make it part of your cadence and establish a date on which you’ll refresh data. 

Consider hiring a team overseas to log into your Salesforce and identify the accounts that haven’t been updated in the past year and then refresh the data. Then track when the fields were updated. 

Also monitor duplicate accounts in your CRM which pollute your database. But before you can start eliminating duplicate accounts, you must work to ensure that you’ve prevented the problem of new duplicates. Duplicates create more mental overhead for your reps because two reps may be unknowingly working on the same account at the same time. It’s wasted energy that could be focused toward closing. 

Don’t assume that anecdotes and data are the same thing. Be sure, too, that you pick a single source of truth and stick with it. There’s no perfect data source, but at least be consistently imperfect. Allow your sellers to trust what they are working on. 

Importance of Data in Sales” episode resources

You can connect with Kyle Morris on LinkedIn or send him an email at Kyle@sifdata.com.

You’re a savvy salesperson who wants to learn and grow. Check out audible for thousands of titles, plus a free 30-day trial, plus a free book. 

If you haven't connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I'm sharing there. I’m fairly easy to connect with. Just comment on something about my podcast. Send me an email.

You've heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we're offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we'd love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

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I truly appreciate you and appreciate your reviews and your subscription, and your willingness to tell your friends and anyone you know that's in sales about the podcast.

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Direct download: TSE_1131.mp3
Category:Data -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Sales is equal parts art and science and one of the keys to success is leveraging sales incentive data to increase performance and ROI. 

Jason Atkins is the founder of 360 Insights, a software platform that enables large brands to execute all of their channel incentive strategies. Jason’s company works with tens of thousands of salespeople who work for major brands and helps them get smarter and make data-driven decisions. 

Critical data

Many people believe that sellers must be born with the skillset to succeed. We believe that anyone with a desire to sell can succeed and get the proper training. Understanding data will help tremendously. 

The art of sales deals with the relationships, the conversation handling, and dealing with objections. The science of sales revolves around data and activities. 

Jason recalled hearing that we’ve created more data in the last year than in all of mankind combined. That kind of growth is exponential. Think about how much data that represents. 

So how do you mine through the data and leverage the insights contained within it? How do you make the data actionable?

Leveraging data

Many companies believe that consumers buy products become of promotions or rebates. Jason’s company doesn’t believe that’s always accurate. Their response to these situations is that they’ll track the data and the consumer purchase information, and they’ll figure out why the consumers bought what they did. 

What they found was that the promotion was the fourth reason the consumer purchased. The number one reason was “because the sales guy told me to buy it.” 

The question becomes why are you so focused on the promotion when you should be focused on the key drivers to the relationship?

Consider how you’re educating the buyer about your product? How are they ensured that you’re the trusted advisor?

Purchases are a big decision, and people often buy based upon advice from others. How are you leveraging that to ensure that you provide great advice?

Status quo

Many of us make choices based upon the status quo. Zig Ziglar tells a story that his wife always cut the ends off of the meatloaf without really knowing why. Turns out the meatloaf was always too big for the pan she had, but no one knew that’s why she did it. Zig’s wife just always cut the ends off. 

In sales, we often do things because that’s how our company has always done it. Instead, we should look at the data and determine what is actually most effective. 

Jason’s company always deals in context for the data. In the case of the meatloaf, no one had context for why the ends were cut off. 

Determine the context for decisions that were made in the past, then look at the hypothesis of what we should be doing in the future. Then we can execute against that and then measure it. 

Executing sales incentives

One of the first keys is to understand why people sell what they sell. Jason’s company started by interviewing 1,500 sales reps to determine why they sell what they sell. They determined that sellers do so because of quality, because of price point, because of brand, because they’ve been educated, to ensure happy customers, because they want to know what’s in it for them, and because they of the relationship they have with the brand. 

People don’t want to sell something that isn’t great. They like to buy something they’ve heard of before, so new brands often struggle. 

Creating sales incentive

Focus on building data around the data you have, and building context so you can get to better decisions. 

Start by understanding the customer journey and the decisions that are made throughout that journey. Then align the incentives across the journey. At the end of the day, an incentive is just a motivation tactic to get to a specific action. 

Incentives might include rebates that are perceived as price discounts, sales incentives that motivate a seller to keep a specific brand top of mind, or volume incentives to drive sales into locations. 

If you want to run an incentive program, don’t think about the incentive. Instead, think about the customer journey and identify opportunities to use incentives to drive actions. 

Customer journey

Many silos exist in larger companies. Certain teams in the company understand different components of the buyer’s journey. It’s really important to bring all those silos together to understand the complete journey. 

In the early days of incentives, many companies intentionally made rebates difficult to submit in hopes that consumers wouldn’t actually send them in. But in a digital and social age, that kind of program is problematic. Brands realized that this kind of program could backfire. 

Jason’s company saw a huge opportunity to step in and create an unbelievable experience for the consumer. Instead of a rebate being the last touch point a brand had with its consumers, the rebate should now be the basis of the next journey they have with you. 

Many organizations have people now that understand all of the customer touch points so they can actually start to map them out. 

Looking back and forward

Think about insights and data in terms of looking backward and looking forward. Most companies look backward on a monthly or weekly basis. Jason’s goal is to encourage companies to forecast so they can start to optimize as a company. 

If someone comes to us with $1 million we can help them figure out what to do with it to drive sales. 

Then imagine being a salesperson who has a conversation where you’re talking to your customer about what’s happening in his competitors’ businesses. You can demonstrate the results the competitor is getting and the things they are doing. That’s unbelievable data that can help your clients make better decisions. 

You make money based on what you sell, so you can leverage data to sell more so your customers sell more. Everyone makes more money. #SalesData

Model the masters

There’s plenty of material to read about leveraging data. Attend webinars and then model the masters. Find the people who are doing this the best and then model the activity they are doing. 

When Jason launched his company, he discovered that there was one seller who earned more than $1 million in sales incentives from about five or six different brands over the course of a year. The person was crushing it because he saw a huge opportunity to move traditionally brick-and-mortar sales to online selling. 

Look at the people who are doing things differently. Find those who are challenging the status quo. It takes tenacity to be successful as a seller. 

Understand the customer journey from beginning to end. Understand the data that happens through the journey and then figure out how to leverage that. 

"Leveraging Sales Incentive Data to Increase Performance and ROI" episode resources

You can connect with Jason at 360Insights.com. He and his team love to talk to people and have great conversations about sales.
 
If you haven't connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I'm sharing there.

You've heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we're offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.
If you and your team are interested in learning more, we'd love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You'll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound. 

Direct download: TSE_1113.mp3
Category:Data -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Sales Enablement means different things to different people, and though the definition varies widely, it’s one of the fastest growing trends in the world of B2B selling. More than 59 percent of organizations report having a devoted sales enablement effort, but only 34 percent are achieving their goals. It’s vital, then, that organizations develop a […]

The post TSE 891: Sales Enablement – A Master Framework to Build, Coach, and Lead Your Most Productive Sales Team appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_891.mp3
Category:Data -- posted at: 9:31am EDT

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