A sales strategy is 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. When you create a data-driven sales strategy, data plays an integral role in defining the elements that make up your strategy.
Why is using data valuable 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.
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 to base decisions on to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
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.
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. Using sales forecasts, market data, and competitor analysis, you can prepare for potential challenges to ensure you still hit your targets.
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 in this way enables you to continually improve your results.
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.
What data can you use when creating your sales strategy?
You can use a wide variety of data types to inform your sales strategy. Here are some of the most valuable:
Data about interactions with prospects, leads, and customers
Competitor and market analysis data
Sales data such as sales volume, lead volume, and win rate
Data about customer demographics, preferences, interests, and other characteristics
How can you use data in your sales strategy?
How do you actually use data when creating your sales strategy? There are lots of possibilities, but here are some of the most common examples:
Determining your audience
When creating your sales strategy, you need to know who your audience and ideal customers are. The best way to determine who you’re targeting with your sales strategy is to use your customer data.
Reviewing data about your customers’ demographic, firmographic, behavioral, and other characteristics can help you determine who your ideal customers are.
Analyzing this data can reveal trends in who is most likely to convert and become a loyal customer. You can then focus your outreach on these types of leads, increasing efficiency and win rates.
Additionally, you can use your customer data to segment your customers into groups and use different methods for selling to them. For example, you might pitch different products to companies of different sizes. You might also find that video call demos work well for larger companies, while email outreach gets the best results for smaller ones.
Positioning your company against competitors
Another way to use data to inform your sales strategy is to analyze your competition and use that information to inform your positioning and the sales techniques you use.
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.
It can also be helpful to research your competitors’ sales processes and methods. While this information can be hard to track down, you can use sources such as:
Competitors’ websites may include sales information such as whether the company uses a partner program for sales and how to contact a salesperson
For publicly held companies, you can find information such as revenue and employee count
If you have competitors who switched from or considered a competitor, you can ask them for their opinions on the company
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.
You can analyze many aspects of your sales strategy, including pipelines, tactics, channels, messaging, and much more. You can also look at which sales reps closed the more 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 led to increased wins. Or perhaps 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.
Setting more impactful goals
Data is also important for setting and tracking sales goals—a key part of a sales strategy. In order to choose realistic, meaningful goals, you’ll need to look back at past sales data and use sales forecasts, which help you to 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.
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.
A crucial first step to creating a data-driven sales strategy is setting goals and making sure your whole team is on the same page with them.
Setting goals helps you determine which data to track. When you choose which data you’re tracking based on the objectives that matter to you, you’re better able to 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.
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.
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. CRMs also enable you to organize and manage your sales process and automate repetitive tasks.
Make sure you choose a CRM that’s easy to use, offers excellent customer support, and has the right features for your business’s needs.
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It’s also beneficial to establish standards and processes for how your team manages data. This is called data governance and helps you keep your data accurate, improves organization, and promotes privacy and security.
Track your progress
Lastly, 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 continually refine your data processes and sales strategy.
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