The engine that drives any brand is its sales operation and, in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, sales acceleration is crucial when it comes to standing out, making an impression, and converting leads to closed sales.
If the past year has taught anything, it’s that sales acceleration is always possible – even amid a pandemic. But it’s not enough to just grow quickly; growth needs to be strategic and smart if it’s going to be sustainable.
In 2021 and beyond, the most successful brands will be those that harness the power of data to hone their sales team tactics, better understand their customers, and set the stage for fast growth.
Dig Into the Data
Data and insights play a key role in accelerating sales by providing one huge benefit: they decrease the time it takes to find prospects and opportunities and, more importantly, move them through the sales pipeline. Customers want quick and effortless transactions, and the brands that can deliver them will be the ones to come out on top.
Data should be at the forefront when it comes to assessing what works, and what doesn’t, in a sales team’s approach. Examining the actions and attributes of a call center’s best sales reps – not just what they are doing, but why it is working – can play a critical role in accelerating sales.
“We very much want to look at what is making a successful rep successful, and how we can duplicate that and replicate that,” says Barb Wingle, TTEC’s executive director of data and analytics.
Data points, such as how many calls those reps make and how long those calls last, can help shape team strategies, training, and ultimately outcomes. “It’s giving them the insights of what’s causing the trend, not just ‘Here’s what happened,’” says Wingle.
Data can speed up the overall sales process by making teams more efficient, says Ryan Adams, TTEC’s vice president of sales operations. Using data and insights brings benefits at the employee level as well as the team level, and helps identify any gaps in the sales process, he said.
With efficiency comes improved customer experience, better employee engagement and faster sales growth.
Know Your Customer
The other huge advantage data and insights brings is a better understanding of the customer.
Using the right data, brands can reduce the time it takes to get the right message to the right customer at the right time, in the way they want to receive it. This is increasingly crucial these days, when response time is so important to customers that it can influence their buying decisions. Why spend time (and money) targeting the wrong prospects when the keys to success likely lie in the data?
Even before you reach that target audience, the sales funnel starts with leads, and a surefire way to accelerate sales is to develop high-quality leads. Data can help here, too.
There are several ways to leverage data regarding leads. AI and other data platforms for business intelligence allow brands to get to decision makers. Predictive modeling and surge data can effectively target customers or companies in the market for your product and service. These tools let sales teams work smarter, not harder, and focus their time and energy on the most valuable leads.
With those leads in hand, data can help brands optimize buying journeys for acquiring new customers, leverage technology to deliver personal experience, and optimize digital marketing strategies to increase sales.
Data can really help sales teams understand the voice of their customers, a key to accelerating sales, says Wingle. Voice analytics, for instance, is a valuable tool that can be done in real-time. Automation can transcribe recorded sales calls into text, which can subsequently be filtered through keyword searches, she said.
Those types of real-time insights produce valuable feedback regarding what customers are saying about products, prices, image and experience, Wingle says. They also help assess the voice of the agent to better gauge what is working or failing during sales calls, she adds.
This is essential, she says, because rather than merely assess what’s working on successful sales calls, it delves deeper into the “why.” Is the optimal time for a call 5 minutes? Is it 3 minutes? Is there a certain call length after which results diminish? Once this information is gleaned from the data, it can be given to the sales team to better inform their strategies and processes.
One other way brands can get to know their customers better is through intent mapping, yet another process that relies on strong data. Successful brands are ones that can gauge what their customers are going to do, why they’re going to do it, and what it will spur them to do next. It’s not enough to react to customers' needs and wants; brands have to be proactive. Data provides the information that can make that happen.
Analytics can come from many sources: phone calls, emails, chats and messaging, and even web visits and downloads can yield beneficial nuggets. Customers engage with brands in a growing number of channels; a successful data-mining strategy will be omnichannel as well.
The more data points a sales team has access to, the better prepared it is to identify gaps in the sales pipeline, assess its sales acceleration tactics, and impact overall revenue.