You collect a lot of data from your sales team, but are you really getting the most out of it? Does the data help you make better decisions for your business and can those decisions be tracked to see how they affect future performance?

One study found that 43% of companies gain nothing from their data, and 23% get no benefit at all. The key is to collect clean data and then use it for insights.

It is important to rely on data and not intuition when determining your company’s sales process optimization. This will help you maximize revenue.

Here are 10 ways you can improve your sales process optimization process by utilizing data from the CRM system.

CRM is changing, and it’s going to be a big focuses in the future.

1. Key drivers

The key to successful sales cycle optimization is understanding your company’s needs and goals.

A great way to measure your sales performance is by looking at the three major KPIs. These are volume, conversion, and time.

Looking at the data from different perspectives, such as by industry or source of leads can help you to improve your sales process.

As the sales optimization manager, you can segment data by many factors, such as:

  • Lead source
  • Industry
  • Product
  • Sales rep or sales team
  • Deal size
  • Sales region / territory

Ask yourself which deals take longer, have higher conversion rates, and more volume. Then work with these metrics across your CRM data to find trends.

When you pinpoint trends, it’s easier to see what your company needs. It also helps you know how to deal with different types of people in the workplace.

2. Lead data

Gleanster Research shows that only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales.

 In order to have a successful lead generation campaign, the sales optimization manager need to pay attention to the channels that are producing most of your leads.

Audience

For example, you might want to track audience data in the CRM and then segment it by industry or job title. Then see which of these audiences is bringing in the most positive KPIs.

Message

Your marketing teams will test out different messaging for ads, content, campaigns and other details. They all have a pain point or value prop that brought in the lead. When you segment the data from these messages it shows which ones resonate with certain audiences.

Channel

The channel is where your audience exists. Maybe they spend their time on certain social media networks or hang out in community forums, and if so it’s valuable to know because you can tell what kind of marketing efforts are working and which ones need more investment.

Asset

When a lead visits your website, it’s the perfect time to get them interested in what you offer. When they contact sales about an inquiry or sign up for something like a free trial, referencing that information is helpful.

For sales managers, this allows you to see which strategies are best at converting and help focus marketing efforts.

3. Contact data

According to Salesforce, high-performing sales teams are 2.8x more likely than to say their organizations has focused on personalizing customer interactions over the past 12-18 months.

One way to increase the likelihood of a customer replying is by personalizing messages. The problem with many sales organizations, though, is that they fail to track lead personas.

The more you know about the buying center, the better your sales conversations will be.  The better they are, the easier it is to sell.

It is important to keep good contact data and roles in order. This will help sales leaders know who they are contacting, as well as when it comes time for personalized messages.

4. Activity

Introhive reports that CRM users spend 5.5 hours each week on logging their activities and updating contacts, costing companies $13,200 each year per user.

Managers need the data that sales reps input into their CRM to understand what they are doing. But tasks like this take up too much of a rep’s time (if they even have the time for it). Automation can help with these problems.

You can use automation tools or a power dialer to automatically track the data of your sales reps.

Automation takes away tedious tasks that salespeople dislike doing and gives them more time to spend with their customers.

The key to success is finding the right patterns in sales rep activities. Ask yourself: Which email templates worked best? Which sales pitches? How many follow-up calls did successful reps make, and how often do they call a prospect after their initial contact with them? When should you send an email or phone call, and what sequence of events works best for your company’s prospects?”

Sales process tools like Gong.io can analyze your sales conversations to improve conversion rates.

After collecting enough data you will find patterns. Maybe plumbers do better work in the evening and bankers during their lunch breaks? Once you know these trends, adjust your call times so that there is a higher chance of connecting with the right person.

There are many data entry jobs, but they don’t pay as well or make you feel like your work is appreciated.

5. Content

According to a DemandGen report, 95% of customers choose solution providers that offer relevant content at every stage of the buying process.

Content is an effective way to track where a lead may be in their buying decision. This can help you understand what content they are interested in and how far along the person might already be.

The content you use to attract, educate and make a decision can be divided into three categories: ToFu (top of the funnel), MoFu (middle of the funnel) and BoFu (bottom of the funnel). A piece that offers general industry knowledge is considered ToFU. Content that helps push someone towards purchasing your product falls under BoF.

When people come to your website and read blog posts or download white papers, you’ll be able to see how “ready” they are. Track the asset in a CRM so that you can use it later.

6. Conversation

A survey by Accenture found that 89% of customers get frustrated repeating themselves to multiple representatives.

Sales reps are very busy. They have to work on many conversations each week and because of this, they need a CRM system that will help them keep all their contacts organized.

When a deal needs to be handed off, logging conversations makes it easier. If someone leaves the company or an SDR-AE handoff is needed, whoever takes over that deal will have all of the information and know how far along they are.

Salespeople often overestimate or underestimate the number of deals they will close, which can skew sales forecasts.

If a salesperson is telling you that their deal will close soon but they haven’t spoken to anyone from the account in two weeks, it’s probably not true. You should also see who is contacting whom as deals are about to close- there’ll be more contact with those accounts instead of just one way.

These days, manually tracking this data is not necessary. With SalesHero or other sales automation tools, all the important information can be recorded and accurately predicted.

7. Length of the sales stages  

Salesforce’s State of Sales Report found that 25% of sales teams consider reducing the length of the sales cycle to be one of their most important objectives in the coming year.

You want to shorten your sales cycle, so you need a better understanding of where in the process conversion rates are dropping.

Consider automating your processes so that they are quicker. For example, if you have a long closing stage, try implementing an automation tool to make it easier for the sales reps.

Then break down your reps by sales stage. If a rep is taking longer than others in one particular stage, look at their weaknesses and give them more training to shorten the cycle for each of them.

Pay attention to the conversion rate. See how many leads convert for each rep per stage and where they fall out in the sales process. Consider whether or not these are good quality leads.

Speed is important, but don’t let that be a substitute for due diligence. While it may seem like shorter means better in some cases, they could also mean un-qualifying leads which would have been the right fit if given more time to nurture them.

In order to have a successful CRM implementation, there are four key areas that must be considered.

8. Deal size

A Pacific Crest Securities survey shows that the typical customer acquisition cost for companies to earn $1 is $1.18.

There’s no universal answer. It depends on the company and its goals.

The strike zone is an advanced sales measurement that compares the dollar value of a deal to how long it took you or your team. It tells if you are spending too much time on low-value deals, for example.

Small deals are easier to close, but they don’t bring in as much revenue.

The longer one of your sales reps spends working a deal, the more it costs them. It’s like gambling high stakes with their time.

Once you’ve found your sweet spot, tailor the sales process to that size and optimize for it. Encourage reps to pursue deals within this range while trying not to take on too many outside of their strike zone.

9. Lost reason

The Bridge Group 2018 SDR Metrics & Compensation Report shows that the average ramp time (from hire to full productivity) sits at 3.2 months.

When a deal is moved to “close – lost,” be sure that the reason for not buying your product is captured. This data could lead to major improvements in your sales process and development of new products.

Look at the reasons why people said no. Is it mostly pricing objections? Or did they not need your product in general? Compare this with other data points to see if there’s a pattern.

You can segment your data by sales rep, which will show you where they may need more training should they be getting too many objections in a certain area. Or by industry, which shows where to scale back efforts if the closed-lost reason is always no need for a product or service that tells you to stop targeting those industries. You could also try segments based on company size, location and budget.

When data is segmented, it’s easier to see what doesn’t work and improve on that.

10. Forecasting

According to CSO Insights, 60% of forecasted deals do not close.

Don’t rely on your salespeople for accurate sales forecasts. My last company had a great team, but they were terrible at predicting whether deals would close.

Sales reps are confident when it comes to their predictions, but they don’t always deliver on what they promise. So I turned to my CRM data for an accurate forecast of how many deals would close.

I started out my forecasting model with the reps predictions. I would estimate that only 10% of what they predicted at the beginning of a quarter closed, and as time went on their probability for this to happen got lower. On week 3 or 4, their numbers had an accuracy rate of 80%.

With my company, we always met in the middle and were great at predicting. With historical data from your sales reps, you can build a model that solves for their terrible predictions.

Data collection problems

ESNA reports that 79% of opportunity-related data that sales reps gather are never updated in the CRM system.

When you’re a salesperson, it’s hard to spend time on anything other than talking to customers. Manual data tracking is the biggest waste of their time and your company really needs that information.

Managers should consider using an AI automation platform to collect data from their sales reps.

Automation gives sales reps more time to sell, improves efficiency in the company and ensures accurate information is obtained.

The key to a successful sales process is implementing tools that make it more efficient rather than hinder the selling of products.

Iterate, iterate, iterate

Don’t try to overhaul your sales process all at once. Start by getting feedback on one part of the process, then focus on being better than you were yesterday and making small improvements.

The best way to optimize sales is by improving productivity and driving revenue. Good luck on your journey.


 

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Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was written by Content at Scale, a solution that uses AI + a team of optimization specialists to publish hundreds of high quality, SEO optimized content straight to your blog. It’s the first and only solution that allows you to truly scale content marketing.