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How to Create a Data-Driven Sales Strategy

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Using data to inform sales strategies is essential for today’s sales teams. A data-driven sales approach enables you to make better-informed decisions, stay on track toward goals, and ultimately, win more sales.

How can you use data when creating your sales strategy? Just keep reading to find out.

What is a data-driven sales strategy?

A data-driven sales strategy uses relevant data to create a detailed plan describing how a sales team will approach the sales process and achieve its goals. It describes elements such as target markets, positioning, sales processes, techniques, and goals.

8 benefits of using data when creating your sales strategy

Data plays a vital role in modern sales strategies. Here are some of the benefits incorporating data into your sales strategy can provide.

1. Making better-informed decisions

Leveraging data takes the guesswork out of defining your sales strategy. Of course, you’ll retain the human element in your strategy, but data gives you something concrete on which to base decisions to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.

2. Determining your audience

Reviewing data about your customers’ demographic, firmographic, behavioral, and other characteristics can help you determine your ideal customers. Analyzing this data can reveal trends in who is most likely to convert and become a loyal customer. You can then use customer segmentation to focus your outreach on these types of leads, increasing efficiency and win rates.

3. Positioning your company against competitors

Another benefit of using data to inform your sales strategy is the ability to analyze your competition to inform your positioning and sales techniques. When you understand who your competitors are and how your product or service differs from theirs, you can use that information to enhance your sales messaging.

4. Refining your sales processes and methods

Looking back at past sales data can help you determine which elements of your strategies have worked best for you in the past. You can then use this information to optimize your sales tactics moving forward.

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5. Increasing efficiency

A data-driven strategy significantly improves efficiency as it enables you to focus on your best opportunities and get results faster. For example, by analyzing the characteristics of the leads that are most likely to become loyal customers, you can focus your time on those leads.

6. Better preparation for challenges 

Utilizing data helps you to be better prepared for challenges such as seasonal sales fluctuations, changes in the market, and increased competition. You can prepare for potential challenges using sales forecasts, market data, and competitor analysis to ensure you still hit your targets.

7. Setting more impactful goals

Data is also important for setting and tracking sales goals, which are a key part of a sales strategy. To choose realistic, meaningful goals, you’ll need to look back at past sales data and use sales forecasts, which help you predict demand and potential challenges. These data-backed goals can help you keep your strategy on track.

You’ll also need to choose which metrics you want to use to track your progress toward your goals. Keeping a close eye on these metrics helps keep your sales team on pace with targets and helps them make the most of their time.

8. Increased sales and revenue

Ultimately, the data-driven approach to sales strategy enables you to hit your goals and drive more revenue. It keeps you focused on the best opportunities and increases efficiency and effectiveness.

Types of data to use when creating your sales strategy

You can use various data types to inform your sales strategy. Here are some of the most valuable: 

  • Data about interactions with prospects, leads, and customers: Every interaction with a prospect is a source of valuable information, whether or not they become a customer. 
  • Competitor and market analysis data: Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors can provide valuable insights about your company’s place in the market. 
  • Sales data such as sales volume, lead volume, and win rate: These sales metrics show you where your sales, marketing, and customer success efforts are succeeding and where they may need improvement.
  • Data about customer demographics, preferences, interests, and other characteristics: How do prospects perceive your business and products versus those of your competitors? What problems do they have, and do they believe you offer a solution?
  • Sales forecasts: Using your historical sales data to forecast future sales can help your team make improvements proactively for periods of lower sales.
  • Sales per prior activity: Data from sales activity reports can uncover how many and what types of activities, like phone calls, emails, and meetings, your team has to complete to make a sale.
  • Customer lifetime value, retention, and churn rate: Understanding your customers’ value and what percentage of them are staying with your business for the long haul provides great insight into where your team can direct their efforts.

How to get started with creating a data-driven sales strategy

How do you get started with incorporating data into your sales strategy? Here are some essential steps to set yourself up for success.

1. Establish goals

A crucial first step in creating a data-driven sales strategy is setting goals and ensuring that the whole team is on the same page concerning them.

Setting goals helps you determine which data to track. By choosing which data to track based on the objectives that matter to you, you can better prevent data overwhelm.

It’s important for the whole team to understand the goals and why the data you’re tracking matters so that they can use that data more effectively.

2. Choose the right tools

To effectively use data for your sales strategy moving forward, you’ll need a reliable method for collecting and managing it. Here are some of the most efficient tools for gathering and managing your customer data:

  • Competitor web traffic tracking tools: Tools like CompetitorIQ help you determine where your competitors’ web traffic is coming from so you can optimize your marketing efforts and close the gap in your marketing channels.
  • A customer relationship management (CRM) system: Your CRM enables you to store your sales data all in one place, along with marketing and other data. It helps you to organize your data and easily analyze it through reporting. CRMs also enable you to organize and manage your sales process and automate repetitive tasks.
  • A CRM company tracker: Want to know more information about the people working for your customers? A CRM company and people tracker like Nutshell’s PeopleIQ can help you find the contact information of the people employed by the companies you have in your CRM so you can quickly reach the right point of contact.

3. Gather existing data

Next, you’ll want to collect existing data so that you can use it as a basis for your strategy. The insights your existing data provides can be invaluable.

Depending on your business goals, the following sources of existing data may be helpful to your team: 

  • Interactions with prospects
  • Metrics from your current marketing channels
  • Past sales data
  • The competitors you lose leads to
  • Your current sales processes

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4. Determine the next best action 

    Knowing the best action to take to move a lead closer to a sale is critical for developing a data-driven sales approach that works consistently. And certain kinds of data can help you develop an action-based sales strategy.

    You can analyze many aspects of your sales strategy to determine your company’s ideal sales process, including pipelines, tactics, channels, messaging, and much more. You can also look at which sales reps closed the most leads and then train other sales reps to use the tactics your best-performing reps do.

    For example, you might find that emphasizing certain features in your messaging or placing a sales call more quickly after a new lead entered your funnel led to increased wins.

    To get the best results from using data to improve your sales techniques, review your data regularly and test new processes to find what performs best.

    5. Establish standards for data management

    Establishing standards and processes for how your team manages data is also beneficial. This is called data governance and helps keep data accurate, improve organization, and promote privacy and security.

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    6. Track your progress

    Ensure you establish a plan for tracking your sales data and your improvements over time. This will help you determine what’s working and what isn’t and enable you to refine your data processes and sales strategy continually.

    Reporting and analytics tools can help you measure data like lead conversions, sales metrics, team productivity, lead volume and channel, and more.  Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can also help you interpret the data you collect and determine the prospects that are most valuable to your business.

    7. Continue optimizing your approach

      Closely tracking your sales data enables you to spot potential opportunities to improve your strategy and try out new tactics. If you see a tactic is working particularly well, you can apply it to more aspects of your process. If a technique isn’t driving the expected results, you can test a new approach. Analyzing, testing, and improving your sales strategy enables you to continually improve your results.

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