Remember the early days of cold calling? Perhaps you’ve blocked it out of your memory and I don’t blame you—inefficient sales tactics scramble my brain, too. It’s hard to think that not too long ago, we would purchase a phone number list and call our prospective buyers with no idea if they even needed what we were selling.
Can you remember approaching these lists like an archeologist, uncovering a heap of dirt 10 feet deep before finding a little gem? You would get the voicemail treatment repeatedly, or if you did get through, you’d quickly be shut down with reasons like “we already have one,” or “we use an entirely different system.” And after finally making a sale, the jarring realization: You need to do all of that many more times before the end of the month!
The use of big data has improved the way we approach B2B sales by taking most of the guesswork out of the process. Here are some major improvements:
- Qualifying Leads. Using predictive marketing software, sales teams can tell which leads are most likely to buy a certain product. This can be based on a variety of data factors including company size, marketing habits, public HR information, past purchase history, etc. Of course, when you have access to these insights, you can contact leads more efficiently by asking the right questions.
- Tailoring the Funnel Experience. When customers are shopping for a particular product online, companies can use smart marketing technologies to tailor the online sales process to the prospective buyer. This way, they are more likely to move further down the funnel. By the time they reach a salesperson, they are much closer to being ready to buy.
- Nurturing the Pipeline. Most businesses sell more than one product. If you’ve already sold to a satisfied customer, they will be much more likely to buy additional offerings from you. With predictive marketing solutions that integrate with your CRM, you can keep track of which products a given customer has already purchased, and customize your next sales pitch to what they need now.
If you’re using older methods, you may be missing out on the benefits big data can offer. Worse yet, some companies think they already are taking full advantage of available data, when they aren’t. According to Tal Segalov, CTO at Mintigo, “It’s not about having the most data, it’s about having the right data. Some people think they’re data scientists, but they’re really just data janitors – sweeping data around.” On October 19, 2016, Oracle and Mintigo will be hosting Love Your Pipeline in New York City, an educational event that invites sales teams to nurture a stronger pipeline.
As you work on incorporating data management and analysis into your sales operations, here are a few goals to keep in mind:
- Identify your ideal customer. By spending sales time in front of customers that are most likely to buy, your sales ROI will increase dramatically. Most often, a given sales person will waste large amounts of time chasing prospects that will never become customers.
- Customize your sales approach to the entire group of buyers in a prospect company. One person rarely makes B2B purchase decisions. When deals are lost, it’s often because your sales intelligence failed to identify all of the key players on the prospect side. When you do understand everyone’s role, you can make the proper pitch to each of them. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the key to customization.
- Be transparent about how you score leads. In order for your team to improve the accuracy of your system over time, it is critical to have an understanding of why leads are scored the way they are. Everyone on the team should be able to offer insights and observations based on what they experience in the field.
When big data is applied to B2B sales strategy, it can be intimidating or it can be liberating. Which will you choose?
This article was written by Larry Myler from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.