Joey’s a closer.
Every quarter he’s above quota, well above, while the rest of his teams inconsistent at best with only a few guys getting it done in most quarters. An occasional rep lands a huge deal they’ve been working on forever, but nothing so consistent as Joey and his ability to land net new deals, grow existing ones and do it month over month.
His sales manager thinks it’s his delivery style and his VITO letters, his VP thinks he knows how to describe value better and find pain faster than them all, and the marketing manager thinks he is just a born hustler that follows up with every lead and networks with every customer. His co-workers think it’s his amazing territory and getting the best leads and referrals.
Joey has grown consistently important in the sales organization, so important that the team starts to worry that they need to find his magic and reproduce it to the other reps or they could get into trouble. Joey makes up allot of their revenue. Too much. Should they give him more territory, or farm it out to other reps and hedge? How do they reproduce the magic that is Joey? Should they bring that sales trainer back, maybe bottle a little of the magic and spread it to the other reps, regions, and territories? Get on the other reps backs again, monitor and enforce deeper metrics? Maybe they should just promote him to a manager, keep him in the coup…
Sales management is worried because they know that they can count on Joey every quarter, but they ask each rep repeatedly what their gut is, what their commit number is in their forecast, and how confident they are the deals they committed will land. What they can pull in early from next quarter, and ask them to follow up on those dead leads.
Anything, everything to get to that number at the end of the quarter. Hustle. Heads down. Sell.
They’re also stumped because they’ve listened to calls, been with all the reps on field calls, and monitored every metric that’s important. Calls, visits, lead conversion, touch points, Joey’s consistent but not nearly at the top of the metrics board, not even close actually. How does this guy do it when everyone else is inconsistent?
They worry about the product, they worry about competition, and they worry about the new startups entering their realm and a new generation of buyer.
They’re also worried because they have to add weighted averages on each rep, sales manager, region, and territory because everyone is different and closes different percentages of their overall forecast. Some reps and regions forecast little and sandbag, bringing deals in on the 11th hour other reps have huge forecasts and close little.
The board knows by the time the numbers come up to the CEO and executive management it’s pretty much an aggregation of gut feel, commit, historical averages and hoping they get that one or two big deals to push them over. Nothing the CEO feels comfortable going to the board with, and nothing board feels comfortable advising on and investing in. But, what else can they do?
Standard fare and gut wrenching.
For everyone except Joey. He’s not sitting by the phone or sending last minute emails slashing prices on the last day of the quarter. He’s home talking to Oracle finalizing the management position he’s going to tell you about on Monday, all his deals are in…
This is the Great Data Divide in Sales
Joey’s gifted, without a doubt, but his natural ability to talk to people and his hustle only took him so far. What Joey found out that everyone missed was how to effectively use data to his advantage. That’s right data.
So What’s his Secret?
It turns out while everyone else was worried about the number of phone calls, field visits, emails sent, gut feel, and all the traditional metrics, Joey was applying data science to his sales process. He would routinely run reports and look at close type by industry, isolate past wins and see how many touch points the CUSTOMER made to the website, analyze optimum discount percentage and stand by that, and focus on the verticals that were actively buying.
He would look at percentages of leads that are most likely to close and build a confidence models for this prediction based on data he could readily find from his CRM, Marketing system, and Historical data. He had data no one else was looking at.
This type of deep analyzation of data helped Joey determine when a lead was dead, and where to focus his energy. He also understood while everyone else was running around the country, he could concentrate on the customer base the data told him were most likely to buy.
While everyone else was writing VITO letters to every prospect, he was actively looking at communication tracked from past wins to determine what the prospects were saying, and combined this with industry specific newsletters to concentrate on hot button issues. He would then just reverse engineer what they wanted into his email pitch. He kept it simple, focused, and concentrated on data driven sales, and closed sales.
His customer was happy, his management was happy, and he was happy.
Welcome to the New Data Driven Sales Organization.
If the above situation sounds familiar it’s because it is. It happens every day in every sales organization across the country. Most organization struggle with the same data driven sales problem, which is, we haven’t historically used data in the most optimized way to extract the value we need to predict better sales outcomes.
Sales, and to that extension sales management is still driven on gut, feel, and passion. After all, sales is a people business, and people are fickle, indecisive and hard to predict. This methodology has molded our sales training and sales processes for the greater part of our history, where gut and feel still rule over data and analytics.
Most often sales use data for tracking purposes, calls, win loss%, reason codes, etc. Most of this data goes in, but very little is extracted from it. And by the time someone cares enough to look, we are on to the next quarter. Sales is a short sighted business.
Management is forced to use weighted averages, historical data, and a bit of hope and luck to guide them on revenue predictions. Not the best process when what everyone wants is consistent and accurate sales predictions.
As the world unfolds into a digital transformation the sales profession will have to catch up to keep up and actively transform or get lost to competition.
Where metrics of traditional CRM and sales training have ruled before, sales organizations now need greater insight into the what, why’s and how’s than ever before. It must be assumed that every organization needs to be a specialized, know their product and customer, and know how to solution sell and speak the customer’s language, this is the new fundamentals of the professional. We must know their map of the world.
Beyond the fundamentals, sales organization now need to know how to capture and understand data, and then implement that in the sales process. Just like Joey, sales organizations need to understand data from a rep level and be able to communicate and validate this data all the way through and up the sales and revenue pipeline. Things like aggregation of data from sales, marketing, support, and historical records, predictive selling, using outside variables like economic data, should now be the new normal.
This is Big Data and IoT re-imagining the sales process.
Welcome to the new Data Driven Buyer
Buyers are able to walk themselves through most of the sales process without any interaction or sales input, only reaching out when they have already reviewed and researched you and your competitors. How do you sell to an educated buyer?
This new type of interaction requires a different approach. Gone are the times when sales introduced, educated, and controlled the entire sales process from beginning to end and were able to keep out competition based on a relationship. Most buyers are used to multiple proofs of concepts, educating themselves on the players and deep diving into as much information as they consume before they ever contact you.
This new buyer requires sales organizations to think differently and use data in a way that has not previously been deployed. Just as they are going in knowing about your product and service as well as all of your competitors, you now need to know exactly why your customer buy, and then be able to apply data science to actively predict who is the best use of time, the best fit, and dedicate yourself to focusing on those customers first. They will appreciate it, your reps will close more, and you will have better visibility into the sales cycle.
The good news is!
The great news is we are at the tip of this transformation, and we’ve been collecting the data we need for a long time. Most organizations have more data than they know how to analyze and are just now putting analysis against this data to see what value they can extract. The sales organizations, along with marketing product and support can actively aggregate and extract value from data and apply it to the sale process very quickly. We can become a data driven sales force very easily.
It’s time for our sales teams to become less metric was driven and more data driven
About Omniom and OmniomIQ
Omniom is an end to end consulting company that helps companies improve their revenue streams by becoming more data driven and designing more efficient sales and channel plans.
Omniom IQ is an end to end consulting and services solution that can help transform sales teams into modern data driven sales forces.
For more information on OmniomIQ and transforming the sales force, visit https://omniom.io/datadrivensales/ or Contact Omniom at Sales@omniom.io