Maybe some of you predicted it. Maybe you realized that the birth of the internet would eventually allow for seemingly infinite quantities of sales insight – like which prospects read which pieces of sales collateral for how long at what times, or even where your client spent last Saturday night.
But did anyone predict how overwhelming it would be? That business leaders would have so much data they wouldn’t know what to do with it all? That companies would come into existence with the sole purpose of managing all of these facts and predictions and statistics?
An Oracle study revealed that up to 14 percent of a company’s revenue is lost due to challenges in managing and analyzing data. That was a year ago. Since then, Stanford suggests that humanity has produced roughly 1,200 exabytes of data – or enough to fill the number of iPhones it would take to, when laid down end to end, circle the earth over 100 times.
So the question stands: Which data serves as most deserving of a sales leader’s focus? Or: How, in this day of data overload, can one understand what will move their business forward? We asked a few leaders just that. Then, using common themes in their responses, we developed questions that you can answer to ensure you’re tapping into this “future” for all it’s worth.
1. Can you list your data focuses?
- Pipeline value by stage of the sales process
- Performance to quota
- Number of opportunities that convert into the pipeline
- Number of opportunities that convert to revenue
- Time in each stage of the pipeline
- Loss analysis
Your focuses may vary, but it’s the fact that you can actually compile the list that makes a difference.
2. Is each data point’s success determined by the success of other important behaviors?
Second, comes the number of opportunities pending final contract approval. “At this point, the customer’s needs are understood, the solution has been scoped, the preliminary vendor process is complete and much of the negotiation is complete,” he added.
3. Does the information captured affect your larger goals?
You can encompass both of the guidelines established above, but if your focal data isn’t contributing to your business’ bottom line, you’re wasting time.
4. Do you have one set location to house the data and a plan for how often you’ll visit it?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that in managing big data, there’s no big solution; the information deserving your focus probably won’t be the same as that for other companies, even including competitors. What’s important is your ability to define those data points and then actually do something with them to better your business. Oh — and you should probably start today. Then when we hit a whole new level of sales “future” you’ll be ready for it.