The Value of Good Data

Making sales has never been as knowledge-driven as it is now. With the advent of big data, effective data capturing technology and the increasing sophistication of sales management systems, useful information is literally just a click away. So why do many organisations still struggle?


Although this is a complex problem with no single answer, I believe there are a few key points which have significant impacts on the effectiveness of sales, and which can be easily addressed by making good use of data.


Decide what is important

Having access to large amounts of data can be as precious as it can be useless. Call logs, time sheets, invoices, contact dates, times, visits etc. can be worth their weight in gold when analysed correctly, leading to valuable insights. However, what often happens is what’s called “analysis paralysis”, where the user is so inundated with data that it becomes meaningless. You need to decide early on what is important for your organisation to know, and then track it. Data is not useful if it is not relevant, which leads us to the following distinction:


Know the difference between data and information

In a nutshell, data is the raw product, the massive, unsorted set of text and numbers. Information is the processed part, where the data is given context, refined and translated into something everyone can understand (such as a table, graph or summary). You therefore need to ensure that your data is organised in such a way that it is easy to analyse. If this is not done automatically through a sales management system, you will struggle to stay on top of the massive and daily inflow of data to your business.


Sales management systems

A good sales management system should be as simple as possible, while delivering the maximum value and depth required for advanced data analysis. Investing in a system such as this will enable you to capture valuable data which will enable you to pinpoint inefficiencies, and also where to focus your efforts. This will lead you to the following point:


Gaining insights

After you have collected data and translated it into relevant information, you then need only to apply it. Information can pinpoint delays in your sales pipeline, highlight areas where your sales force need training, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, customer preferences etc. These insights will empower your sales force to focus its energies and exceed targets.


I have seen the effects of good data first-hand. Our sales force uses the Skynamo (formerly Honeybee) sales management system to govern their daily activities. Admin is greatly reduced and the quality data gathered while using the system has enabled us to track which lead sources were most productive, where the bottlenecks in our sales pipeline lie, and also where the sales executives get stuck before converting a sale. The valuable information we gather drives our entire marketing and operational strategy, empowering managers and sales forces alike.


We are currently in the information age and consumers have instant access to information via the internet and Google searches so it is only logical that your business should also make use of data to effectively reach consumers. Technology will only become more pervasive – and influential – as time moves on, and its effects can clearly be seen in the mobile sales force of today. If big data is not already driving your business strategy with substantiated facts and trends, it’s time to think of investing in a system that will provide you with one of the most valuable assets in a business: your own set of data.


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