The Quest for the Holy Grail (of Sales Data)

How your call data can unlock growth and change the way you sell.

We are living in a very unique time where business models have changed, and customers are acquired and managed in entirely different ways. In 1955, the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company was 80 years! Studies today estimate that in the next 10 years, more than 75% of the S&P 500 will be made up of companies that we haven’t even heard of yet. So how are new models emerging, and where is the shift happening? Many of the top analysts and business minds all point to data. Data is a key factor in how companies have been able to shift to a more customer-centric business model and change the game.

So, where do big data and all of the well-known themes of machine learning, predictive analytics, and A.I. come into play for sales? Salespeople need to use data to create value and constantly initiate interactions. Predictive analytics and big data have helped us come a long way in creating better customer experiences and sales strategies – but not all companies are using these capabilities to their full potential, and many are looking at only a fraction of the whole picture.

Did you know that 90% of customer interactions occur over the phone? Key information and data points from phone calls and conversations are incredibly important in developing a winning sales process. As leaders, we have chased digital interactions for the past decade — web traffic, link clicks, etc. — but there are key data points that we are missing. That data is the measurement of what is created through the phone and personal, human interactions. Digital interactions, by their nature, are easy; however, there is a phenomenal depth of information locked in your phone conversations across both sales and service teams just waiting to help drive your growth strategy.

What to Know About All That Call Data

It’s no huge revelation that rapport-building conversations are a fantastic way to earn sales. Outbound sales calls are a great opportunity to establish a foundation for a great relationship—and conversions—with your prospects. This can even be found in initial sales outreach campaigns, where it takes an average of 16 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Prospecting by phone is hard, which is why salespeople these days often shy away from it. Yet if you are persistent and determined, you can see huge success in your efforts. This is especially true when you couple these efforts with your digital interactions.

Yet, many organizations find that their online efforts have undermined the focus on human interactions. However, those phone-based interactions continue to be just as important as ever. Saleshacker reports that the average call time for sales calls increased 113% from 2016 to 2017, showing that customers are embracing longer offline conversations to learn about and purchase products. Even with the recent growth in chat and email capabilities, complex questions and ultimately trust is best solved and built over the phone.

Let’s face it – the phone plays a large role in all aspects of the sales and service process. Yet, as salespeople, we are sometimes hesitant to pick up the phone until it’s too late. Gong’s data science team analyzed 15 months of data and found average salespeople made far more calls in the last month of the quarter than the first two. And the success rate of those “eleventh-hour” calls was usually lower than any other month. Maintain your phone cadence as a consistent workflow and the sales, and the data you capture will pay off.

Why It’s Important to Standardize Data

Data can be extremely valuable – but not if it is only being stored in a haphazard fashion or not analyzed in the right way. That’s why data needs to be standardized so that it becomes less of a giant mess of confusing numbers and more a set of accessible and easily digestible analytics with meaningful value to your organization. Managing your data in a standardized way takes numbers sets from activities performed and logged at random and turns them into predictive insights that can help your sales team understand how best to convert a prospect into a customer. Having a standardized process when it comes to your sales activity tracking and recording the data in a standardized format adds structure and accountability to your sales activities. Long term, this can lead to a higher win rate and a shorter sales cycle.

Standardized data and record-keeping should matter if you are in the role of CIO, CTO, VP of Sales or Sales Manager. The predictive analytics that can be derived from a quality data set will help you form a strategy and better understand your sales team’s performance and pain points. Having analytics to support your sales process helps with training future sales leaders in your organization. A Forrester study found that 44% of B2C marketers are using big data and analytics to improve responsiveness to 36% are actively using analytics and data mining to gain greater insights to plan more relationship-driven strategies. Yet, are these organizations capturing all of the data that exists in a phone call?

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, it’s important to take advantage of your call data—now more than ever.

Find out how to kickstart your digital transformation and make the shift to intelligent selling