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April 26, 2016
Turn Data Into Deals: Sales Methodology at EXCEED
Does more data mean more visibility?
Raw data won’t get you anywhere. Data will bring visibility only if it’s consumable. Time and again, I’ve heard Sales Ops executives at our customers talk about all the data they had — but it didn’t mean anything to them. It was just a bunch of numbers, yet another cause for analysis paralysis.
Enter sales methodology and process.
Any company can sell through sheer grit and determination. Any company can have a sales process. It’s not until a company decides to take it to the next level and scale that they combine methodology with process. Sales methodologies come in all shapes and sizes; that’s a topic for another day. Instead, I’ll focus on how sales methodology can help us find answers to the three big questions.
Question #1: How do you get the right data from your sales teams while maximizing efficiency?
When you implement a sales methodology, think about how it will flow through the organization. As a manager, you set the tone. Your interactions with reps, your management of expectations, your meeting cadence — a sales methodology will influence all of these, but only you can control how it is implemented within your organization.
You also want to be sensitive to the needs of sales reps. Reps don’t want to spend their nights logging data about calls and email exchanges. They don’t want to document every single interaction, good or bad, with a customer. But at the same time, your reps are your eyes and ears in the field. They are the best source of data for your organization.
Question #2: How do you find the right balance between process for your organization and autonomy for your reps?
In our own and in our customers’ experiences, we’ve found that the ideal solution is to automate the processes that are most cumbersome for sales reps — like tracking email and calendar activity. Think about how to empower your reps to do that work better, faster, more efficiently. Can you configure your tools and systems to help them? Could you proactively prompt reps to do data entry without disrupting their day? (You could always add headcount for data entry help — but life happens, people take vacations, get sick. Systems don’t.)
Question #3: How can metrics work to your advantage and drive better performance?
Once you have that data, you’re not done yet. Visibility is about how you consume that data — not just about getting it. No more ‘gut instincts,’ no more ‘sixth sense,’ unless you can back it up.
Visibility can either be reactive or proactive. BI tools capture data, but it’s reactive data. It responds to events that have already happened, and makes the past clearer. Predictive analytics enable proactive visibility. They allow you to be prescriptive with your team: to guide them toward the right deals at the right times.
But this is just the beginning — let’s keep talking about how to make your sales methodology better and your sales team more productive. We’ll delve further into these three questions, along with other topics in sales methodology and data analytics at EXCEED, the first-ever event for sales operations and enablement on May 4-5 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Join a select group of sales visionaries at EXCEED to share your team’s experiences, learn from one another, and continue the conversation.