Data holds tremendous power for sales teams to shatter sales forecasts. For many teams, data is a sleeping giant, whose power remains unwoken and inactive. But that’s not true for all — high performing sales teams understand and use data to identify market opportunities and be the first to take advantage of those openings.
These high performing teams use data to fine-tune their prospect targeting and improve their reps’ approach with messaging that takes advantage of market and account-level research. High performing teams even use data to help reps address performance issues and skill deficits, making them more effective with each passing month.
So we’ve identified 4 different types of sales data along with the strategies that these top performing sales teams utilize to transform these types of data into sales conversions. They’re yours to steal for your own sales team, so let’s get to it…
1. Market data
Market data can help sales managers direct their teams, like battleships, to the most advantageous segments of the market with the best opportunities to source and close deals.
Market data defined
Market data is an overarching category of data points that are used to determine your sales strategies; things like industry trends and health, industry purchasing insights, competitor behaviors, and positioning, etc. These are all data points in your market landscape that, when analyzed in unison, can create rich constellations of information about the big picture into which your organization and products or services fit into.
Best practices of highly efficient sales teams using market data
Highly efficient sales teams use market data to find unmet customer needs and use that information to increase revenue and satisfaction rates by meeting those needs in their sales process. Market data is often used by successful sales teams to create highly accurate sales forecasts based on market health and industry trends — better allowing the team to pivot and focus on the most promising campaigns or products. It also allows sales managers to set the course for who to target with what messaging.
How to use market data to yield higher conversions
Use market and sales analytics to identify your competitor’s selling points, price points, market activity, potential threats, and opportunities for ethical exploitation. Your competitors do matter, and by operating with this simple fact in mind, your organization will be better poised to capitalize within the market.
Non-customer analytics is also a great market data set to mention. You’ve already focused in on your customer — now use your market data to identify the people who are not your customer, aka your non-customers. By using market data to identify why these customers are not buying from you, and what they think of your brand/product, you’ll be in a great position to expand your prospect pool.
2. Prospecting data
Prospecting data can help sales teams locate and hone in on their target persona prospects with laser accuracy. Prospecting data is, in its purest essence, contact data.
Prospecting data defined
To put it simply, prospecting data is all of the information available for a customer’s profile during the onboarding process. This kind of data takes the form of purchased or rented lists, purchase history, retargeting cookies, onboarding efficiencies, and data scraping — to name a select few. Prospect data provides both a way to identify a potential customer as well as a route (organization name, individuals’ first and last names, email addresses, mailing addresses, etc.) to get in touch with that prospect.
Best practices of highly efficient sales teams using prospecting data
Sales teams that close efficiently on a consistent basis tend to focus on hyper-specific types of prospecting data to build a holistic customer profile before even beginning the initial reach-out.
The specific forms of prospecting data you use depend on the product(s) you sell, your target audience, and a continually evolving definition of what works for your organization. One thing is consistent across the board, though — specific data is needed.
Sourcing and validating this kind of data at scale is a highly complex machine to master, so you might consider outsourcing your data mining efforts. The data outsourcing market is expected to more than double in size by 2025; it’s a difficult focus, and agencies set up specifically to conduct these efforts consistently yield better results.
How to use prospecting data to yield higher conversions
Efficient sales teams don’t opt in for generic forms of prospecting data like industry, job title, or location.
Rather, they focus on hyper-specific traits such as prospects who’ve previously purchased competitors’ solutions, prospects operating within a certain segment of the market, prospects whose organizations reflect a specific employee headcount, etc.
Lasering in on these very specific ‘slices’ of your target market can help to create an extremely targeted, compelling pitch for your product or service, much more so than a bland, generalized pitch.
3. Enrichment data
Once you have an idea of the kind of prospecting data you need to reach your target market, now is the time to enrich your data set — enrichment is just like turbo-charging your data. Enriched data can equip reps with enhanced dossier-like information, beyond simple contact information, about who they’re talking to and provide insights into those prospects’ needs and pains.
What if we told you that from as little information as possible — such as a business email address, you could enrich a prospect’s contact record with all sorts of additional data points like market data about their organization, technologies their website uses, social profiles, and press mentions?
Welcome to enrichment data.
Consider the impact that all of this additional context and knowledge can make for how a rep steers a sales dialogue, making it easier to surface pains and drive towards a prescribed solution.
Enrichment data defined
Enrichment data is information that is pulled in from third-party databases using a similar data-point to improve data quality.
This allows your organization to take bare-bones data and turn it into a gold mine rich with all the information you need to successfully appeal to a prospect.
Best practices of highly efficient sales teams using enrichment data
The CRM market is ripe with enrichment integrations that ‘plug into’ your CRM and automatically enrich newly-entered records, removing the human element of research and speeding up the sales process. Some options include FullContact, Clearbit, and DataFox.
Enrichment data can be used to automate lead scoring and routing. If you have a customer that uses their personal email in your lead form, your system may give them a low lead score. However, with data enrichment, your system could then automatically run their personal address through another database to find their business email and mark them as a high-priority target.
How to use enrichment data to yield higher conversions
Enriched data means better insight into your target prospects — which means more opportunities to customize your pitch as well as to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of their market. Sales managers should coach reps on how to use their beefed-up data to not just personalize messaging but to use it as a jumping off point for even more in-depth research on the prospect during the discovery phase.
And don’t forget about retention and expansion within your existing customer base: you can use enrichment data to identify potential churn signals, or on the flip side, upsell opportunities within your customer database.
4. Performance data
Performance data is the inside-view of your sales team. It can help sales managers (and the reps themselves) identify and address gaps in reps’ performance while their skills and providing feedback. Performance data is the foundation of objective coaching.
Performance data defined
Performance data is every metric recorded in regards to your sales team or an individual rep’s performance. This can include things like closing rates, time-to-close averages, email outreach metrics, etc.
Best practices of highly efficient sales teams using performance data
The most efficient sales teams use performance data to uncover insights about what works and what doesn’t work and then make continuous adjustments based on those learnings. This is true at both the macro (team-wide) and micro (individual rep’s) levels.
You can use all sorts of performance data to track a wide range of metrics. Some tools you might use in collecting and analyzing sales rep performance might include your CRM’s reporting functionality, call tracking like CallRail, outbound email platforms like SalesLoft, and of course, document automation like PandaDoc.
How to use performance data to yield higher conversions
First, it’s critical that you determine meaningful metrics to track. Tracking and adjusting to the wrong metrics is a waste of time for both sales managers and reps. Isolate the key points in your sales process where reps’ messaging, behaviors, and tactics have a significant impact on outcomes.
Then pay close attention to those specific points in the process. Are there data metrics that can be used as signals to quantify performance or flag potential issues at those points in the buyer’s journey?
It’s up to sales leaders analyze the collected data and translate it into tactical adjustments for the team or worthwhile coaching moments. Performance data is a necessity for impactful coaching because it creates objectivity for both the sales manager and the sales rep… rather than anecdotes about what’s going well and what needs work.
Sales managers need to invest time and budgeting to provide the proper tools and training on how those tools are utilized in the strategy-creation process but even more so, they need to lead the team toward a cultural norm of making decisions and improving outcomes with data.
Individual team members should have a healthy understanding of how data works in relation to their function, the expectation of their adoption and usage of that data and their stewardship over data fidelity and analysis. This should be true of every single person within the sales organization, whether they’re sales reps, sales ops managers, account managers, etc.
By cultivating the importance of data within your sales organization, sales leaders can give ownership and understanding of the potentially ambiguous concept of ‘embracing the data.’