Big Data, Small Data and Relevant Data for Your Inside Sales Team

According to a Northeastern University article, “Every day hundreds of millions of people take photos, make videos and send texts. Across the globe businesses collect data on consumer preferences, purchases and trends. … The total amount of data in the world was 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. That is set to rise steeply to 44 zettabytes by 2020. To put that in perspective, one zettabyte is equivalent to 44 trillion gigabytes. This sharp rise in data will be driven by rapidly growing daily production of data. But how much data is produced everyday today?”[1]

Inside Sales teams generate significant amounts of data too—customer data, marketing data, follow-up data, sales data and more. The key question is: From the immense amounts of data collected – “Big Data” – what is really relevant to you? This question was posed by a client of mine during a recent engagement.

The answer to this dilemma is presented by how we ask the question. If we want a better answer, ask a better question. Instead, we might phrase the question like: What aspect of my sales process do I want to improve in order to get better results? What operational adjustments should I address to improve conversions? Where do I want to go? How do I get to where I want to go? With a wealth of data available, it is important to focus on relevant data or metrics that will help you get there.

Leading Indicators as Inputs and Lagging Indicators as Outputs

Here are six strategies to leverage data that can be useful to improve your Inside Sales Team.

1.      Select the Area of Your Business You Want to Improve. The lead flow process, e.g., marketing lead-gen effectiveness, the effectiveness of your Sales Development Team (SDR), the performance of your Inside Sales – Account Executives.

2.      Focus on Leading Data Points. There are several data points that you can focus on. These data points will work best when you look at them in pairs. For example:

– Number of calls to connects and Connects to meetings

– New opportunities created in the pipeline and advanced to next step in the cycle

– Opportunities created and lost

– Number of meetings created and number of meetings converted to opportunities

– Number of marketing-qualified leads and number of sales-accepted leads

The list can go on and on.

3.      Select KPIs That Matter to You. The important aspect for your team is to select those KPI’s and the associated metrics you want to measure. You can look at them in pairs and track conversions and efficiency ratios. The important element here is to select KPIs and a few metrics and to be consistent each time period.

4.      Involve Your Team and Share The Metrics with Them.  Ensure you share with your team your metrics. Sharing the goals will foster teamwork—everyone will be rowing in the same direction.

5.      Inspect What You Expect. Inspect with each member their performance and how they influence the team. This simple exercise will lead to improvement. Most individuals want to meet and exceed expectations.

6.      Measure and Improve. Finally, once you have shared with the team and reviewed data points during your Weekly Business Reviews (one-on-one), leverage this data as a way to coach each team members on a regular basis. The data will allow you to pinpoint specific areas of improvement, foster a culture of accountability and competition.

In an era of big data being collected, it’s important to focus on the relevant data for your team. Have fun implementing these strategies, please let me know if you have questions or if I can be of help.

Ivan Gomez is the President of NextStage, LLC, a consulting company specializing in all aspects of sales development and Inside Sales implementation and optimization. Now an entrepreneur, he advises companies on best go-to-market strategies, leveraging the power of Inside Sales. You can find Ivan, via LinkedIn, and on Twitter@1Ivango1.