What are the implications for big data in sales? Sales is a personnel dependent discipline, so big data may not be top of mind when it comes to improving sales outcomes. However, the possibility for data to direct a sales team’s effort is largely untapped but could create efficiencies in the sales process that will lead to more closings and thus more revenue for sales teams that make the effort to effectively analyze their data.
Imagine if you could look at data behind a prospect – the company size, the number of stakeholders, the types of solutions they’re looking at – and compare it to historical data you’ve collected from hundreds of past deals (both won and lost) to determine just how likely it is to close. Machine learning could open the door definitive deal scores, letting you more accurately predict how the deal will go, how long it will take, and the likelihood of it closing. You could tailor how you approach the deal to prime it for the win. Or, if it’s not looking so hot anymore, you could then realign your team to focus them on deals more likely to close. All without the need to rely on the intuitive gut decisions.
What about sales training? What if you could pair your new sales reps with a guided coach or assistant that could walk them through tasks one by one – reminding them when to reach out to a client or nurture a customer based on timelines that have worked in the past? And what if you could do this without having to have a second sales person there, when they could be off working on their own deals?
An accurate forecast
With this technology, sales leaders will be able to provide accurate forecast predictions at a macro level, to understand trends segmented by sales organizations, sales reps and sales stages. As more deals close, the system will relearn and evolve to improve its future forecasts. Since the machine has no vested interests other than improving its own accuracy, it is largely independent of management pressures, and removes sandbagging and gut feels from forecasts. Managers will have a clearer, more objective picture quarter-to-quarter of the health of the pipeline, and will be able to adjust in real time when needed.
Integrating data into the architecture of a sales team just shows the strength of data as a discipline and reveals yet another way that thorough data capturing and analysis can affect a company’s revenue when applied thoughtfully. This also emphasizes that having a team with the skills to analyze data will continue to be important as companies strive to effectively capitalize on the information they amass.
Want more info on how companies are innovating around big data? Read more here