As a B2B sales or marketing professional, you’ve got a simple, straightforward goal: to help the business grow. If you take a look outside in early summer, you’ll see buds opening, new leaves unfurling, and shoots stretching towards the sun. And, it’s tempting to think that all growth comes with ease.
To grow a business, however, you need to work hard and have the right processes in place to drive more revenue. And to do so efficiently, you’ll need to shorten the sales cycle and lower customer acquisition costs. Apart from developing your sales skills, you also have to learn about data science and visualization. Today’s sales reps are wasting too much time on research tasks. Oftentimes, their working hours are spent sourcing hard-to-find data, instead of using their carefully-honed skills to connect with prospects or build relationships with current and future customers.
The sheer volume of data that’s available today presents both risks and opportunities. If you’re acting on the wrong data, your overall marketing efficiency—and your organization’s ROI on its marketing spend—will be negatively impacted. Find the right data, and identify the strongest influencers earlier in the buying cycle, and you’ll soon reap the reward of increased sales.
Here are five things your business can do to leverage data in order to speed the sales cycle:
#1: Prioritize finding the right data and ensuring its quality.
To identify the most fertile soil in which to sow the seeds of your sales and marketing efforts, you need to prioritize at the account level. As thoroughly and accurately as possible, you want to be able to identify your ideal customer profile (ICP) and define your total addressable market (TAM). The better and deeper you understand who you’re trying to target, the more readily you can find them.
Doing so requires sourcing the right data at scale. Look for sources that combine contributions from artificial intelligence (AI) and humans to validate the data. Relying on AI alone will lead to too many false positives, while human data validation cannot be done at scale. No matter what, this shouldn’t be a task for your sales reps.
#2: Use clean data to save time and reduce frustration.
Far too many sales and marketing teams struggle with poor data quality. In fact, 56 percent of the respondents in Dun & Bradstreet’s recent Sales Acceleration Report listed “ensuring that they’re working with relevant and complete data” as their biggest challenge. And the hidden costs of bad data can add up quickly.
Are your marketers managing email campaigns with high bounce rates due to misspelled addresses? Or wasting money sending out direct mail that turns out to be undeliverable? How much time do your sales reps spend attempting to contact prospects with missing or incorrect phone numbers? Each of these activities consumes both time and money, and can introduce significant delays into the sales cycle.
#3: Today’s buyers are more elusive than ever before.
With so much information at their fingertips, your buyers are far more likely to conduct their preliminary research online before having any contact with the sales team. About 70 percent of this research will be complete before they reach out for that first conversation. And, by that point, they’ve probably connected with your closest competitors too.
You can gain the first-mover’s advantage with good quality data. Identifying these prospects before the competition does will let you get your foot in the door first. Finding them can be tricky, though. AI-driven solutions are too constrained by factors like job titles to be able to be both thorough and creative in their searches.
#4: Understand the need to scale quickly.
What sets the winners apart in today’s highly competitive business climate is their ability to scale very rapidly. From a sales and marketing perspective, this means having the ability to reach out to many thousands of businesses in a short time period. And the more relevant and personalized your outreach can be, the better.
Look for trigger events: did someone at a company just check out your website? Is an organization looking to expand its team? Have they posted multiple job openings online? When you have a team with the ability to look for these kinds of data points and find it efficiently and at scale, you have a way to operationalize data sourcing. With that in hand, you’ve set a firm foundation for rapid growth.
#5: Get personal. Very personal.
The inboxes of today’s B2B buyers are crowded. Nothing cuts through that clutter like highly relevant, personalized communication. But this personalization needs to be accurate, and able to address the right pain points. Your competitors are basing their communications on limited data sets. If your data is better, your personalization will be too.
By finding the right high-quality data, and developing processes for sourcing it at scale, you’ll provide your sales and marketing teams with the right tools to cultivate growth and profitability for many seasons to come.
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- Accelerate the B2B sales cycle with better data: Here’s how - June 29, 2019