Uses Microsoft Dynamics. Has had the solution for three years. Likes the Detroit Tigers.
You may be wondering what these pieces of information are all about. You may be asking yourself why I’ve listed off facts about someone or some company. I’ll tell you – the reason is to show you that without context, information is nothing more than noise.
Just like listening to a conversation in a language you don’t know, without context, information is simply various data points – which means the silos of Big Data you’ve purchased or harvested, waiting to be leveraged by some brave salesperson or marketer, are just silos full of noise. Culled from the innumerable daily activities of your prospects, you collect it all, hoping that something will click and your salesperson will stumble upon the golden ticket he or she needs to propel a deal. But there’s too much noise today, and your marketers and salespeople are plugging their ears.
Turn Down the Volume
Like most other TV owners, I have cable. But on top of the basics, I have premium channels and the infinite variations of those premium channels. Most of the time, I turn on the television and browse. I think, “Something has to be on that I’ll want to watch.” I begin to scroll through the countless stations at my disposal, but none of the many channel offerings fill my need. They’re all just derivative sitcoms, reality TV and talking heads − put there by networks, for the most part, with good intentions towards fulfilling our desire for entertainment (and generating revenue), but without the situational context that’s required to meet people’s needs.
TV networks are just like the marketing resources and sales support at your company: they provide you with sales content, such as presentations and data – and do so with the best of intentions – but don’t offer the framework necessary to be valuable for meeting your sales goals. Big Data is too much noise with too much responsibility placed on the receiver, which is most often a sales rep.
This is a two-way analogy. Prospects have too many voices leveraging multitudes of content vying for their attention (and still have all the decision-making power), while salespeople have too much content and data to know which piece of content is relevant to which data point, (and still it’s up to them to make their message stick − to sell the solution).
In sales and marketing (and life in general), knowledge is everything. Most people, at one time or another, have received emails that were clearly written to an entire organization by some rep hoping that one would land on the lucky mark. And we’ve all received sales calls where we’ve been addressed by the wrong name – possibly the wrong company – and pitched a product we’ve never heard of, let alone considered purchasing.
Data can make the difference between these mistakes and well-executed campaigns with clear visions of target personas, which can lead to successful first calls or meetings.
Back to Big Data
So back to the monolith we all reluctantly embrace, composed of industries, activities, phone numbers, email addresses, work history, tweets, Facebook posts, favorite colors, family dog names, first crushes – all the relevant information a salesperson or marketer needs to win a deal. There’s just so much of it, and like the TV channels I glaze across time and time again, it’s almost impossible to find the right pieces of information for each particular selling scenario, each piece of information that’s of interest to your buyer or prospect.
So what can you do? How do you turn this noise into value? I suggest taking the following three steps:
- Identify relevant data by stages – From the lead at the edge of your funnel to the prospect signing on the dotted line, understand each step of your sales system and what information is relevant for your marketing and sales reps engaging with prospects at these stages.
- Create content aligned with both your target persona and your selling system – Design and tailor your resources to the needs of your prospects, but also to the needs of your marketing and sales reps at each step of the sales cycle. Have candid conversations with your prospects, and use the feedback to determine what questions they generally need answers to − and when.
- Analyze-repeat-improve – Take a step back and look at your system holistically. Use the trail of data to reverse engineer your successful sales cycles so they can be replicated and refined. Big Data is a powerful tool when looked at in the proper context. Always strive to tighten the frame through which your company considers it.
Many thanks to our guest blogger today, Kurt Andersen. Kurt is the executive vice president of sales enablement and marketing for SAVO, the market leader in sales enablement. With more than 15 years of experience across sales, marketing, solution strategy and business development, he helps clients develop their strategic vision for sales enablement and close more deals.