- How is the pipeline looking this quarter?
- Are sales cycles getting shorter like we’ve planned for?
- Which reps aren’t on track to hit their quota this month?
Questions like these are common ones to ask in any sales organization. Of course, the answers to them are useful for measuring performance, forecasting and ensuring there aren’t any big surprises. Better yet, it’s become easier than ever to interrogate data and have the answers quickly.
But, in some ways, questions like these are stuck in the past. They’re looking for answers about what has already happened. That doesn’t mean they’re not important–especially when it comes to measuring and monitoring performance. But they’re often quite lacking when you’re trying to help the sales team sell more next quarter.
Chances are, your sales team is rarely looking at the past when they’re trying to close a deal tomorrow. That means that they’re asking very different questions…questions like:
- Which prospects are most likely to buy?
- Could this customer be buying more volume?
- What is this customer really willing to pay?
- What other products could this customer buy?
- Which of my customers are starting to defect?
Imagine how much it would help your sales team (and the quarterly numbers) if your sales data could provide answers to questions like these? Chances are that prospecting would be more efficient, deals would close faster and revenue, wallet-share and margin would improve.
Our research team has been hearing from more and more companies that are successfully uncovering answers to questions like these. It sounds a bit far-fetched at first…but when they start asking new questions and wondering how they can find the answers, they discover some creative ways to interrogate their data.
Trying to find customers that can buy more? Analysis can reveal who isn’t buying all of the different types of products they really could be when compared to their peers. Trying to find customers that are at-risk of defecting? See what your data shows about customers who have changed their buying trends recently.
Of course, the actual ways in which these companies are getting to the answers are all a bit different. But one thing seems to be very common across everyone that we talked to: They started by asking new questions and it let them see the data they’re sitting on in a new light.
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