By Stephanie Walters, Amorphous New Media
The data you collect is hiding all sorts of insights that could be very valuable if you know how to use it. Unfortunately, a large percentage of this veritable treasure trove of data collected by businesses in South Africa isn’t used effectively or to its full potential.
Making sense of this information can be overwhelming due to the common mistakes that people tend to make when dealing with their data. For instance, putting their data in the wrong hands, having the incorrect data or too much data, or even relying on old or dirty data. However, when it comes to sales, data is your key to making more money.
So, what’s the magical formula? How do you use your own data collection to drive sales and increase profitability? Truthfully, there’s no single solution. Instead, there are multiple tips that you can assess and apply to your specific business and use as part of your sales strategy to achieve your goals and improve your bottom line.
- Find gaps in your data.
You can’t use what you don’t have – or what you didn’t know that you had. One of the most common mistakes that people make with their data is not identifying gaps or inconsistencies that they have. In fact, according to a study done by Lattice Engines, 9 in 10 companies feel that they have missed opportunities due to not being able to leverage all the information that is and should be available to them.
They’re right. Gaps in your data lead to losses which could result in the end of your business. That’s why it’s far better to invest in second- or third-party data to flag inconsistencies, fill in these gaps, and help you increase sales effectiveness. This approach includes training your sales teams to be proactive and deliberate in gathering and inputting relevant information.
- Centralise your data information to a single point.
Whether it’s from sales forecasting program or CRM, you need a consolidated view of your data collection if you want to improve sales. Many companies face the issue of data overload, with information pouring in from different sources, making it harder to get a single view of the data – and of their customer. A fractured, incomplete view is one of the leading causes of diminished ROI, longer sales cycles, and missed opportunities.
While some systems don’t ‘talk’ to each other, insofar as possible you should push for a holistic, single view so that you can see what’s missing, what can be leveraged, and direct your sales teams and budget accordingly.
- Refine your messaging.
Your data contains specific details about your customers, including their geographic location, age, sex, and marital status. You can use this information to identify how to speak to these customers and tailor your messaging to their specific needs, preferences, and desires.
More than that, you can refine your messaging so that you can talk the kind of talk that your customer is guaranteed to understand and trust and better match people to your products, services, and deals.
- It’s all in the timing.
Not only is it important how you talk to your customers, but it’s vital that you know when to talk to them.
Just imagine how much more fruitful your sales efforts would be if you talked to your customers at the right time. Contained within your data collection are unique insights into when your customers are making their purchases, which you can then use to influence their buying-decisions. Pick ’n Pay is one of the companies in South Africa that has leveraged this data particularly well through their Smart Shopper rewards programme. By tracking what shoppers bought and when they could use the data to feed customers promotions and offers that are specific to their needs.
- Use what you’ve got.
Before you cleanse your data, you may as well suck all the value out of it and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales efforts. After all, you’ve already paid for. That’s why it’s worth going through past leads, previous opportunities, old sales transactions, and all your other historical data to identify high-value targets, spot which sales tactics worked and which failed (and why), and gradually refine your sales approach and improve sales forecasts.
- Visualise your data.
Raw data is like an untamed beast. Dangerous, confusing, and unusable.
The best approach to your raw data is to view this information through centralised dashboards, which will provide you with a constant stream of intel that is overall easier to comprehend as it is presented in a holistic viewpoint. This allows you to make informed, strategic sales decisions on which opportunities are pivotal to your success, where your leads exist, and which leads are worth pursuing.
- Predict your sales future.
It’s important to identify the value of your customer and what their value will be in the future. This means exactly what it sounds like. You need to use your data collection to predict how much money a single customer will provide before they die. Harsh though this may sound, this information is vital to calculating how much you should spend on each lead. You don’t want to overcapitalise and spend more on acquiring a customer than what their worth will be to you.
Ultimately, you can exploit your data in a number of ways to revolutionise your sales strategy and unlock your sales potential in a way that very few other expensive marketing tools can.