Data Science: The Trendiest Two Words in Enterprise Sales

Andy Byrne

Andy Byrne
CEO, Clari

Data Science: The Trendiest Two Words in Enterprise Sales

This post was first published by Xactly on April 26, 2016.

Last November, I made a bet: Data science will transform the enterprise.

Before I made my bet, I thought about when Salesforce and Netflix made their big bets way back in 2002. When Marc Benioff kicked off “No software” at Salesforce, people hated it at first. It was negative. It would turn off their software-producing customers.

What naysayers missed was that “No software” really said: “As of today, the software world is different. Trust us to lead, and we’ll take you where you need to go.” It worked out nicely.

Over at Netflix, Reed Hastings made a bold bet that effectively put video giant Blockbuster out of business. Reed and Netflix said: “No DVDs.” Pundits said customers would drop their subscriptions. And what happened? We might even say “No DVDs” saved the company.

With competitors like Hulu and Amazon Prime, Netflix had to earn the right to say, as Salesforce did, 

“Trust us to lead, and we’ll take you where you need to go.”

So What Does the Future Hold?

Data science isn’t a feature. It’s a future. Companies focused on data science don’t want to replace people. They want to make people — us — better through data. It won’t be long before every enterprise software company is weaving data science into its technology. It’s already started to happen.

Sales is a good example because many people see it a black box. Sales teams need answers to a lot of hard questions. From rep to manager to executive, that’s what selling is all about. It’s a team sport that relies on relationships and trust — in team members and in data. It all comes down to these questions:

  • Will my deal close or not?
  • Which deals are high-risk, and which are no-brainers?
  • Will I hit my number this quarter?
  • How much commission will I make this quarter?
  • How accurate is my forecast?

Data Science Can Solve the Mystery — Let Me Tell You Exactly How:

  • Make it action oriented — predict the future and offers advice to take action.
  • Bring on the death of data entry — find meaning by incorporating new sources of truth, like email and calendar. And if you need human input, make it easy.
  • No more gurus — change can’t happen until “it just works” for end users.
  • Deliver instant value — well-designed systems wake up, connect to data sources, and go to work in minutes, not weeks.

Since I made my bet in November, enterprise sales technology has already seen enormous changes—my prediction is coming true. Sales leaders will either ignore the huge amount of data and be left behind, or fully adopt the new opportunity and thrive. If the future of sales and data-driven selling interests you, join the exclusive community of sales visionaries at EXCEED, the first-ever event dedicated to sales operations enablement on May 4-5 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. And bring your bets. We’re only getting started.

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