With any luck, a sales team will have quality leads at their disposal. But having leads isn’t enough. To capitalize on the best sales opportunities, it’s imperative to let data drive your conversations with leads.
Fortunately, there are a number of data collection tools available, and sales teams can – and should – make them part of their operations. But collecting the data is just the beginning. Sales teams have to be able to turn that information into action, enabling them to connect with and convert the best leads in their pipelines.
Right now, this isn’t happening nearly enough.
Revise and Try Again
Data fluency is the key to thriving in a global economy, but too many companies today are far from data fluent. More than one-third of companies haven’t fully exploited the data in their arsenal, and fewer than half say they might put together a plan to use data analysis tools.
To be successful, your sales reps need to be armed with reams of quality, vetted, trustworthy, and relevant data. Generating leads is an ongoing process, and professionals thrive when they have access to well-honed datasets — which then gives them the freedom to improvise and make adjustments on the fly based on whatever their prospects need.
That’s where the magic happens. When sales reps know the product and understand the datasets, they’re ready to adjust and improvise based on what prospects want. Unfortunately, 42% aren’t confident that they have the right information to succeed when they reach out to their prospects.
One 2020 report from Seagate and IDC suggests that enterprise data collection will increase at a 42.2% annual growth rate through mid-2022. That’s a lot of data lying around that might not be put to use. That data needs to live, be analyzed, and be incorporated into lead generation efforts.
These are stark numbers for sales professionals everywhere, and the competition won’t wait for you to get ready. You’ll need to be proactive about data in sales if you hope to see lead generation success.
Lead Generation’s Pain Points
There seems to be little disagreement on the value of lead generation, but nearly 60% of business leaders say that actually achieving it is a real pain point. When you peel back the layers, you find two major complications.
The first is that sales teams are treading water in a virtual ocean of information and a connected economy, which means they’re vying with competitors all over the world. This greatly complicates the matter of identifying, engaging, and converting potential leads.
The other is the surge in costs for B2B advertising. This can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the competition for services and products to a degree we’ll be measuring for years to come. Many businesses are operating on lean budgets and with even leaner workforces — and trying to absorb the shock of those higher ad costs isn’t easy by any means.
Faced with those challenges, it’s understandable that many are looking for silver bullet fixes for sales. But following the lead of the other players or buying lists of low-quality leads essentially amounts to cashing in on a short-term sugar buzz. Your lead generation efforts won’t stand a chance if the approach boils down to garbage in, garbage out.
Best Practices to Follow
You can find a method for lead generation success that best serves your business. It involves careful planning, consideration, and an achievable strategy. Follow these three best practices to turn your process for data collection into positive lead generation outcomes:
Understand What You’re Measuring
Forget the hope that you’ll stumble across a method that works in all situations. Each business and prospect is different, and you must tailor your approach to whatever the circumstances demand.
Ask yourself: Where are your conversions coming from? Where does the buyer’s journey break down? Which pages on the website are the stickiest for prospects?
To acquire insights into your prospects’ behavior, consider audience segmentation. If you know the business questions that most need to be answered, you can determine which segments to highlight. For the newcomers here, you can take advantage of Google Analytics’ ready-made segments, which you can tweak and modify for your own specific needs.
The upshot is that you must be able to amass reliable data that’s unique to your organization. Track the visitors on your site or the social platforms they patronize. Gather feedback using forms. The key is streamlining the process through which they share data with you and using that data to keep them engaged. How good is your landing page? Are you offering content or free products in exchange for data? These tactics are proven to work time and again.
2. Know That Lead Scoring Is Everything
Analytics tools have given sales professionals the ability to assign values to indicate how far they think a prospect will make it through the sales process. These tools are ready and able to identify the components that’ll make your message stickier with prospects, heighten your wording’s relevance, and pinpoint those prospects most aligned with your ideal customer persona.
Also, seriously consider the presentation of your data. Visualizations win the day over dry reports and figures. When you can see the 360-degree view of your lead generation efforts, you can transform that into actionable business outcomes.
3. Scrub Your Data Constantly
Data in sales serves no one if it’s mired in silos of outdated customer information. You must organize and clean it up constantly. Eliminate duplicate data and highlight the inconsistencies and anomalies that stick out. Integrated data will supply the tools that can help turn a reservoir of vibrant prospects into conversions.
The amount of data in sales is on the rise — and the need to translate all that data into actionable intel that will close deals isn’t going away. Sales professionals can no longer simply eyeball situations and hope that they end up with a successful close. Once they understand the data, they’ll be on the path to measurable and sustainable business success.