4 Steps to Master Your Sales Operations Data

June 19, 2017

B2B sales teams today have access to more data than ever before. Thanks to increasingly connected businesses, and in-depth lead generation activities, the sheer amount of incoming data can be overwhelming.

But beyond simply gathering data, sales teams need to be able to effectively organize and analyze that information in order to make it actionable. That’s where the true value lies, because what use is data if it doesn’t tell you anything?

So where do you start? How do you manage incoming data and use it to equip and benefit your B2B salesforce? Here are four tips for mastering your sales operations data.

1. Assess the Data you Have

Before you can make the most of your data, you need to wrap your arms around what you already have. Identify current databases within your sales platform to see if there are any holes in the collection process. Work with your sales team to identify what the most valuable information is, and evaluate if it is being collected and recorded correctly. Starting with an organized foundation will set you up for success down the road.

Here’s what you need to evaluate within your sales platform:

  • Lead & Account Data: Evaluate your organization’s lead and account data. Remove fields that aren’t being used and add any custom fields your team needs.
  • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): Develop your ICP with personality traits and characteristics that fit your product or service. Detail industry, profession, age, sex, interests and hobbies.
  • Lead Grading: Filter leads based on your ICP, grading them on a scale of “A-F” so you can drill down into the leads that are more valuable to your business.

2. Make Data Accessible to both Marketing & Sales

Smart sales and marketing teams are constantly on the go, pursuing the next opportunity. Most teams simply don’t have the time and resources to dig through reports and data to find what they need, let alone communicate with one another about every project or need that pops up. They need a data management platform that is as easy to use as it is accessible.

Enabling access to real-time data means sales and marketing teams can work together to make informed decisions. Find a data collection and reporting platform that is easy to use, with customizable dashboards that help sales and marketing reps stay in constant contact.

Never let one team gather data that the other team doesn’t have access to. While yes, some sales data is irrelevant to marketing and vice versa, you’d be surprised at how much insight one team can provide to the other. Don’t put restrictions on what teams share with each other, including access to recently-produced content.

Content should be easily accessible from the CRM tool you’re using. Through collaboration, these teams should come up with a tagging and folder structure for content that makes it simple for them to find what they need, no matter which customer they’re targeting.

3. Make Data Actionable

Specialized reporting and analytics help sales teams optimize processes, improve productivity and continually improve their results. Meaningful data pulled into easy-to-use reports makes prospecting and nurturing sales more effective overall. After you’ve collected your data, you need to make it actionable by reporting on work done and implementing future goals.

In order to make your data actionable, first you need to develop an accurate forecast that’s based on your sales team’s accomplishments and/or failures. Take the current sales numbers and extend them into the future – how does your growth look overall? If you’re shrinking instead, you may want to adjust your strategy, or let your weakest performers go.

Next, you need to understand what’s making your target audience connect with you as a brand to define the most effective messaging. Use data to tweak the message of your emails, websites, blogs and any other data-tracked asset. Try A/B testing different messaging against your most sought-after ICPs to find out who’s responding and who isn’t.

Finally, you need to segment your accounts into separate groups, sorted by importance. This way, you can personalize your outreach efforts to the top accounts and limit efforts on those that aren’t interested in buying.

4. Keep Track

Nurturing a lead successfully is all about tracking past touchpoints. By having a centralized platform for tracking account activity, your team can better personalize their touchpoints and maximize their future prospecting efforts.

Keeping a log of historical touchpoints and account activity can identify best practices and help with forecasting. Within most sales platforms, you can assign data to the best reps suited for the job. You can integrate rules so your salespeople know which account is assigned to whom and avoid infighting over the lead pool.

Use your data to track correspondences and give your reps the power to have informed conversations with their leads. Additionally, give your sales manager the data they need to understand best email templates, call times and activity logging so they can provide better leadership to the reps.

With businesses that are increasingly connected and lead generation activities that are becoming more and more complex, B2B sales teams need to harness the capabilities of their data like never before. Try out these four tips and master your sales operations data once and for all.

Marketing Associate

Tim Brown is a marketing associate for Oppsource, a sales engagement platform. He is passionate about sales development and helping people do their best work by leveraging smart tools.