A few weeks ago I received a phone call from the sales department of a bank I recently opened an account in. Quite typical of any sales person, the sales representative I spoke with asked how I’m enjoying their services and then moved on to ask more personal questions like:
“What are your educational goals?
Do you own a car?
Do you live far away from work?”
As an analytical person, I immediately understood the principle. This young lady was trying to gather enough information that would aid her in recommending additional services to me.
Understanding your customer is vital for the progress of any salesperson. In doing this you become aware of suitable products or services to offer to your cherished clients. According to a study by IBM, nearly 80% of consumers stated that brands really don’t know them.
The recent rise in big data and technology has even gone a step farther to empower salespeople to be more productive and successful in relating with customers. For example Capital One – a leading banking institution in America – uses big data and technology to determine the optimal time to present various offers to clients, this often leads to a higher positive feedback and generates greater revenue. Netflix – a successful entertainment company- makes targeted adverts to their customers by analysing the genre of movies they had previously watched.
Virtually all activities within the sales department, from forecasting future sales to developing budgets and implementing sales strategies, can be enhanced with data analytics. I am going to list two core operations of a typical sales team and highlight how data contributes to their success:
Promoting long-term customer relationships:
McKinsey & Company reports that 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Bain & Company also reports that a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related, rather than price or product related. The fact is customers crave for services that are tailored to their needs and well timed. That is why successful sales personnel go the extra mile in ensuring their customers get the right information before they ask and also get personalised offers before they discover their need for it. I once got an email alert from an online job portal of a new opportunity for a cook in a certain ‘chop bar’. I got so irritated by that message because my qualifications had nothing to do with cooking and I immediately stopped that website from sending me any further notification. This is just a simple example of how many businesses have turned themselves into a nuisance to their customers.
By analysing historical sales data and customer’s website usage patterns, sales personnel can make a data-driven decision on what kind of services and promotions to offer their customers, which deals and discounts would appeal to them and many more data-centered questions to drive sales. These create a more rewarding customer experience. You can also promote long-term relationship by quickly attending to customers on the verge of leaving. Your historical data can show you the general characteristics of customers who churned in the past. If leveraged upon properly, this information will enable you to give special attention to unhappy customers before they leave.
In addition, special discounts and incentives should be offered to loyal customers in appreciation of their repeat purchases. These programs help foster a feeling of appreciation and encourage even greater loyalty. According to Gartner group statistics, 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. First segment your customers into groups and through data analysis rank the groups’ loyalty and then create a targeted program for the most rewarding groups.
Generating Sales Leads
Your sales department should be at the forefront of initiating a person or company’s interest into your product or service. Much has changed in the way businesses are being run because the modern consumer is empowered through the advent of social media and the digital space, so instead of just hunting around for prospect and throwing around cold emails and adverts, businesses are now putting more effort on being found or rather capturing the interest of potential customers. A study reports that 57% of buying decision are completed before they speak to a sales rep.
How do you capture consumer interest? Offer relevant content on your website that relates well with your target audience. Test how users respond to the content, measure the result and decide on which works best for your business. A 2010 study of B2B buyers found that 95% of buyers chose a solution provider that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” After creating powerful content, you must also decide on which channel to distribute your contents through, based on an analysis of where your target audience spends more time.
Do you manage a sales team or are you a member of the sales department of your company, kindly share your thoughts on how data contributes to your daily assignments. Leave your comments and thoughts below…
DO Data Science