Getting Selling Down to a Science – Data Science, That Is

data-driven selling

With the rise of corporate governance and risk management, sellers face a more challenging environment than ever. Companies have become increasingly rigorous about decision-making processes. More people and structures are involved in researching alternatives, which makes the seller’s job increasingly tricky, wildly challenging, and exceptionally exciting.

The upside of this increased hurdle usually equates to increased commitment. Data- and diagnosis-driven selling will help you put clients’ needs and relationships first. Once a group of decision-makers spends a great deal of time and resources making a decision, that decision tends to stick. In conducting due diligence, decision-makers become more connected to you, your team and your value proposition. Just as we see in our personal lives, the more invested one is in a relationship, the more loyal they are likely to be.

Winning as a data-enabled sales leader or rep requires a deep understanding of what drives your prospect to make a change. How does each individual decision-maker process the situation and their place in the bigger picture? The seller who genuinely understands their client wins consistently. Doing this in a systematic, repeatable and predictable way is what separates the best from the rest.

Measuring the Trends and Impact

Measuring the efficacy of a data- and diagnosis-driven sales process includes understanding both effectiveness and efficiency. Here are the critical metrics involved:

Outbound Sales Activity Efficiency Metrics

  • Activity to conversation
  • Conversation to scheduled meetings
  • Schedule meetings to qualified leads
  • Qualified leads to qualified opportunities

Sales Process Effectiveness Metrics

  • Win rate
  • Stage-by-stage conversion rate
  • Average contract value
  • New revenue per sales representative
  • Overall team quota achievement
  • Sales representative time to productivity

Sales Process Efficiency Metrics

  • Opportunity conversion rate by stage
  • Sales cycle time by stage
  • Sales efficiency ratio
  • Percent of sales representatives hitting quota
  • Forecast accuracy

In today’s customer-buying, journey-centric world, which inherently requires integrated collaboration between sales, marketing and customer success, it’s essential to go beyond sales process efficacy measurements. Your team should also measure customer acquisition, retention and expansion metrics directly impacting company value.

Customer Journey Efficacy Metrics

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Customer acquisition cost payback period (CPP)
  • Customer acquisition cost ratio (CAC Ratio)
  • Customer lifetime value (CLTV)
  • CLTV to CAC ratio
  • Gross revenue retention rate (GRR)
  • Net revenue retention rate (NRR)

What a Difference Data Makes

Data- and diagnosis-driven selling is scalable, repeatable and measurable. It creates a shared framework for your company to win clients with the highest probability of long-term success. Note: this sales process does not replace the traditional selling methodologies you love. It is entirely complementary and in sync.

Data can help you determine where to focus your precious resources.

Diagnosis can help you maximize and focus your EQ on improving your probability of closing a deal. It can also help you understand, in specific terms, how your decision-makers feel about the business problems they are describing to you.

The additional value in the data- and diagnosis-driven selling approach includes the clarity of flow from step to step and the improved detail in the diagnosis as a basis for solution design.

By focusing on client relationships, deals offer improved longevity and stability in addition to monetary value. This takes your relationship-building skills and adds a more systematic, scientific approach.

By controlling everything that’s able to be controlled, you increase the probability of winning a deal.

When you exude confidence in your process, the prospective client is more likely to feel secure that your process has value. This should increase their commitment and lead to better real business success.

Process Makes Perfect

Once you master this, you’ll know how to help them at every stage. You’ll build deeper relationships with your prospects and start to create symbiotic business engagements. These relationships have longevity, are often much more profitable, and are certainly more impactful. As process-oriented people like to say, process makes perfect!

The authors are co-authors of “Data- & Diagnosis-Driven Selling.” Learn More at


  • Paul Melchiorre

    Paul Melchiorre has 30 years of experience in enterprise software sales and business leadership, including senior vice president of global accounts at SAP and president and chief revenue officer at Anaplan, a leading SaaS platform to facilitate financial planning and management.

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  • Mark Petruzzi

    Mark Petruzzi has worked in the enterprise and cloud software ecosystem for 25 years. He has held senior leadership positions at Oracle, UKG (Ultimate Software), HCL, Accenture, and Deloitte. He is co-author with Paul Melchiorre of “Selling the Cloud: A Playbook for Success in Cloud Software and Enterprise Sales. Learn more at

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  • Ray Rike

    Ray Rike has over 30 years of experience in subscription software leadership and has led go-to-market teams across marketing, sales, customer success and professional services at multiple SaaS companies.

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  • Bob Scarperi

    Bob Scarperi has been a leader in professional services, SaaS, financial services, ad tech, martech and management consulting for 32 years, His company, Revenue Vision Partners, is the industry’s leading data-driven revenue growth consulting firm.

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