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How to Use Sales Data to Accelerate Revenue

Vy Dang
11/11/19 11:33 AM

Us doing sales in the 21st century enjoy a very significant advantage - digital technologies. Companies have Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to store data, track sales performance and do monthly sales forecasting. Almost anything nowadays has a digital footprint. Before we can talk to our clients, we already know which pages they clicked on.

But way too often, we fail to utilize that advantage, baffled at the massive amount of sales data, while doubting its accuracy.

This week, we tackle the key game-changing question: How do you successfully take advantage of the sales data, without putting on the Data Scientist hat?

Start with your organization’s goals

One of the reasons why we struggle with sales data analytics is lack of clarity towards what we want to gain from this. Your sales team made 100 calls this month, so what?

After all, all the pie charts and line graphs are just meaningless numbers, if they don’t fit in your company’s stories.

Marshal how i met your mother describing charts

Now before you start to slice and dice your sales data, keep an eye on your ultimate goal when formulating a data-driven sales strategy.

Say, if your annual goal is to achieve a 200% increase in revenue, you have to translate that goal into specific types of sales data, using the reverse-engineer approach we talked about earlier.

Does that mean salespeople need 2.5x more opportunities? If it’s not possible, does that mean we need X more sales people?

Download KPIs Calculator in Excel to automatically calculate your KPIs

Once you’ve set your mind on the specific sales metrics you want to obtain data on, it’s time to communicate your KPIs with the whole team.

Are everyone on the same page?

The importance of transparent KPIs is just equivalent to being able to stick to your goal. Ideally, everyone would strive towards the same goal and intentionally try to get more sales data.

However, for different departments, the set KPIs have different implications.

  • For Salesforce Admin: The company’s wishes about sales data affects the setup of Salesforce views, reports and properties on the lead / contact / opportunity level.
  • For Marketing: Marketing plays an important role at the top of the sales funnel. Most likely, your sales team rely on marketing efforts to generate leads. Then it’s relevant for marketers to know what their piece is in the whole sales data picture. For example, here at Salestrail, sales data includes the contribution of marketing-generated opportunities and its ROI.
  • For Salespeople: Needless to say, clearly understanding what and why sales data is needed helps getting that data easier.

Circumvent the faults in your sales data

There are a lot of roadblocks in your way to using sales data to accelerate revenue growth. The most common one - that most of us might not be aware of - is the quality of sales data.

To cut the explanation short, high-quality data contains these elements:

  • Up-to-date: Good sales data is supposed to reflect the reality of your sales performance, and things change all the time, in a blink of an eye. For some companies, up-to-date isn’t enough. Real-time data keeps you in the loop and intervenes for course-correcting.
  • Accurate: Whenever your sales reps have to manually log their activities, there are always chances that they'll postpone or forget. Use automation to gain real-time, accurate sales data on calls, meetings and opportunity stage. 
  • Actionable: If your sales data is not actionable, perhaps you're looking at the wrong numbers. When faced with such an obstacle, revisit your sales goals and assess the alignment between your goal and what's being tracked. 

Track progress and analyze

This is way too obvious, but I feel like not enough people can bother to follow up. You’ve done the hard work of setting KPIs, creating dashboards and reports, then waste all of that time and effort by just not following up at all.

Pro tips:

  • Book a time block in your calendar to analyze your sales data weekly and monthly
  • Create a checklist of what questions you need to answer after looking at the data. For example, how far away we are from the goal?
  • Use different filters to create different report views to understand better one specific area
  • Make sure the time frame is matched when doing comparison
  • Visualize your data into graphs and charts
  • Keep your personal bias out of the picture when looking at the reports

Develop a tech stack that supports your initiatives

Now’s the time for the hardware part. When looking for the sales software that fits your purpose, it’s like a jungle out there. There are way too many options, and you're easily stuck with analysis paralysis. 

That's why we’ve gathered a full list of sales enablement software with built-in filters in an Excel sheet here. 

screenshot of sales enablement software in excel sheet

In the information age, it’s easy to hop on the data-driven strategy without really understanding the ins and outs of it. With this guide, we hope you’ll have a better picture of how sales data could be used to accelerate your revenue.

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