SellingBrew

Insights & Tips

Already a subscriber? Login

Become a subscriber and unlock an information arsenal focused on making your sales operation more effective.

5 Tips for Building Data-Driven Sales Operations

In a webinar for Playbook subscribers called Exceptional Sales Ops Teams, we exposed many of the traits, behaviors, and priorities that the most successful teams have in common. Among the common threads we discussed was the fact that these teams tend to be extremely analytical and data-driven.

Makes sense, right? Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? I mean, who wouldn’t want to replace all the subjective guesswork with a more fact-based approach?

But building a data-driven sales operation where anecdotes and opinions have ruled for years is no easy task. And infusing “science” into something that many have long-considered to be an “art” is challenging to say the least.

Here are five tips gleaned from those who’ve already made the transition:

  1. Make sure you have the right people in the right places. Most pundits talk about how you need to have more analytical people on your sales operations team. But what’s often glossed-over is that these people need to be in positions of authority and influence. After all, what good is it to have data-driven analysts working a couple of levels below managers who prefer to just go with their gut?
  2. Get in the habit of expecting data for important decisions. “Show me the data,” can be a powerful phrase for setting new expectations and changing behaviors. Used on a regular basis, phrases like this can teach people that anecdotes and opinions aren’t going to fly anymore. But don’t get carried away. Insisting on having supporting data for every little thing…things that are immaterial…can be paralyzing.
  3. Educate everyone about the data that’s available to them. People sometimes rely on anecdotes and opinions because they’re simply unaware of the existence of data that could help them make more informed decisions. So take an inventory of all of your various data sources and repositories. Then, make sure everyone knows about them and what kinds of information can be found within them.
  4. Support various ways to gather or create supporting data. You can’t let the absence of data become a valid justification for using guesswork or intuition to make important decisions. If the data doesn’t exist, you want your people to be thinking about how to gather or create it. Encourage and support things like conducting research, running small pilot programs, and using split-runs or multivariate testing.
  5. Leverage quick wins as broader educational opportunities. With transitions like this, it’s always important to rack up some quick wins to maintain momentum. But as the results are so timely, using quick wins as mini case studies is a great way to maximize the relevance of the analytical approaches you’re trying to instill, while connecting the dots to the real-world results and impacts.

As we’ve said many times before, the status quo is a formidable and alluring opponent. And unfortunately, the status quo for many sales operations is the very antithesis of being data-driven.

But you shouldn’t let the fact that it can’t happen overnight discourage you. After all, the “exceptional” sales operations teams we discuss in the webinar weren’t always paragons of analytical thinking. They had to work at it, too!

Get Immediate Access To Everything In The SellingBrew Playbook

Related Resources

  • Getting Serious About Sales Effectiveness

    Serious Sales Effectiveness Nar Splash

    What does it take to make your sales operation more effective? This on-demand webinar provides insights into what other sales operations are doing and the areas to focus your energies if you're serious about sales effectiveness.

    View This Webinar
  • Attracting and Capturing Better Leads

    better-leads-nar-splash

    Isn't it frustrating when sales gets the blame for poor performance when the quality of leads is the real problem. In this on-demand webinar, learn about a number of strategies and tactics for maximizing the quantity, quality, and value of your sales leads.

    View This Webinar
  • Leading Edge Account & Territory Planning

    Territory Account Planning Nar Splash

    Sales planning is often perceived as not much more than tactical busywork. In this on-demand training session, you'll learn how innovative sales operations are taking a radically different approach to identify untapped growth opportunities and develop prescriptive account and territory plans.

    View This Webinar
  • Designing Sales Comp Plans That Actually Work

    guide_designing sales comp plans that actually work

    For driving salesperson behavior, your sales comp plan is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. But any incentive you offer can have disastrous unintended consequences. In this guide, learn about four pitfalls to avoid and ten things to consider when designing your comp plan.

    View This Guide