164 Integrating your data into a powerful knowledge base

Integrating your data into a powerful knowledge base

 

Integrating new data sources and enriching existing data that resides in sales systems can form the basis of a comprehensive knowledge base. Preparing and integrating this data for later analysis is a critical step. The success of these projects is often highly dependent on the availability of, access to, and the cleanliness of relevant data. 

 

Data analyst personnel can collaborate with sales analyst personnel to comb through external data using data analysis tools to deeply examine the data, searching for hidden patterns and trends. They can mine “golden nuggets” in the data to better understand their customer’s needs, characteristics of sales teams, and key solution attributes. These “golden nuggets” can be incorporated into intelligent data sets and used to deliver insights that were not previously available. 

 

Here are three tips for sales organizations wanting to harness this explosion of data: 

1) Data no longer needs to be aggregated into a single data store for processing. With the advancements in data access technology, information can reside in multiple places, can be stored in multiple formats, and can come from multiple sources. This greatly speeds the downstream benefits you will achieve when performing analysis.

 

2) Never wait until the data is perfect; if you do, nothing will ever get done. You can gain immediate benefit even from imperfect or incomplete new data. Focus on what you do have, not what is missing. 

 

3) This should be an iterative process. Break the data integration process up into logical steps. Never try to “boil the ocean.”

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 

 

163 Enriching Customer and Sales Data

Enriching Customer and Sales Data

 

Data Analytics is an important component of AI and can help your sales organization enrich your existing customer and sales data so you can derive more intelligence from that data. 

 

First, How you can enrich Customer Data

 

Buying Segment – Classification of customers who exhibit similar buying characteristics in terms of their buying habits, management vision, level of risk acceptance, or demographics. 

 

Propensity – How likely the customer is to:

– Buy your solution 

– Respond to a targeted marketing campaign

– Become or remain a loyal customer, and

– Accept a recommendation for next steps.

 

Customer Alignment – How well the customer is aligned with your organization: 

– How the customer aligns with your company mission and values; 

– How strongly the customer needs your solution, and

– How closely the customer buying process can be integrated with your organization’s selling process. 

 

Second, how you can enrich Sales Data

 

Sales Rep Performance – Tracking their performance in terms of their ability to: 

  • Create and qualify new sales opportunities
  • Effectively advance customers through the sales process and effectively win business
  • Accurately forecast deals and
  • Efficiently utilize sales team resources.

 

Sales Rep Profiles – Understanding their current skillset and where they need further development:

  • Establish mutually beneficial relationships with customers 
  • Follow established sales processes
  • Distinguish types of customers/deals where they succeed or have challenges and
  • Provide visibility to management on deal status and roadblocks. 

 

Opportunity Profiles – Understanding the distribution and characteristics of sales opportunities:

– Types of opportunities that most likely advance to winning deals 

– Sales process steps that are key to winning deals, and 

– The most common factors that lead to roadblocks, stalled deals, and lost deals. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 

 

162 Harnessing the Explosion of Data

Harnessing the Explosion of Data

 

Society today is faced with both a blessing and a curse: the continual explosion of data that is now available. While all this data can be overwhelming and consume massive amounts of time and energy, it can also be leveraged rather quickly to produce additional important knowledge. Sales organizations that learn to skillfully harness this explosion of data will be able to derive extensive and continuous business benefits. Here are three examples:

 

Extended Customer Profile

– Information about the company’s mission: its top customers, its key strategies, and how they position their offerings to their customers. 

– Their financial statements provide details about their brands, markets, competitive positions, their key risks and business challenges the company faces and must address. 

– Reports from industry analysts. These provide insights on the company’s outlook, industry direction, and buying preferences. 

 

Using this information can help your sales teams better define their account targets and pursuit strategies. 

 

Social Media 

– Press releases and social media feeds that your customer uses to announce news about new products, solutions, and services. 

– Sentiment from consumers and other business customers and whether any service issues can be identified as major problems. 

 

Using this information can help your sales teams better understand the competitive nature of your customers and can help formulate specific approaches for prospecting and in preparation for upcoming meetings. 

 

Competitor Positioning

– Information regarding your customer’s key competitors and how they position their company and their solutions. 

– Information regarding your wins and losses versus your specific competitors can help you establish winning strategies in competitive deals.

 

Building a competitor repository can help you gain an edge when it comes to better positioning your company and your solutions against your competitors in the marketplace. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 

 

161 How AI will lead the Selling Revolution

How AI will lead the Selling Revolution

 

In Prior briefings, we introduced the subject of applying Artificial Intelligence (or AI) to enhance sales functions. 

 

This next series of briefings will describe how AI will lead the Selling Revolution.

 

The late Steve Jobs, who served as chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Apple, Inc. said this: 

 

“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.”

 

AI technology has advanced to the point where it is now possible to simulate cognitive functions in the human brain, including reasoning and recalling facts as well as handling computing and communication tasks. Our own human cognitive reasoning could infer that this is precisely what visionary Steve Jobs meant when he said biology and technology are now intersecting to create impressive innovations. 

 

The adoption of these cognitive functions is the basis of the Selling Revolution, which will occur in distinct phases as it advances over time. This is based on emerging trends such as the way customers buy, how people communicate socially, the way sales productivity is being affected, and on the increased availability of advanced AI technologies.

 

There will certainly be transitional adjustments that sales professionals will need to make to continue prospering in their selling careers.

 

This transformation of sales functions will not happen overnight, but many corporations are already implementing early phases of such a transformation. The progression of automated capabilities will advance in phases of increasing functionality, complexity, and, of course, impact on the sales force. These phases will likely proceed as follows: 

  • First, powerful analytical reporting and monitoring tools for the sales manager
  • Then, intelligent chat and voice communications
  • Then, inside sales automation
  • Finally, a powerful virtual sales advisor.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 

 

160 Cultivating The Elite

Cultivating The Elite

 

In a prior briefing, we laid out some disturbing stats about the sales force: 

 

  • The average turnover for salespeople is nearly 35% per year. 
  • The average tenure of a salesperson at a company is only one and a half years. 
  • The percentage of sales reps achieving quota is just 54%
  • The average tenure for a vice-president of sales at a company is just nineteen months.

 

It’s difficult to create a great culture and foster loyalty with stats like these.  

 

It’s imperative that sales leadership fosters a team culture that nurtures the organization’s top performers, rewards them, and helps develop future elite performers. 

 

Your challenge as a sales professional is to develop your skills so you can be a part of the next generation of elite sales performers. 

 

The commitment and drive exhibited by top athletes is the perfect example of what elite performers provide their sales teams in the world of selling. Unlike sales slugs and below-average performers, they never settle for being average. Elite performers and solid producers do not even want to be around “average.” They know that as a salesperson you are either pushing yourself to get better or you are regressing and getting worse.

 

The pride, accomplishment, success, and rewards of becoming an elite sales performer are what makes taking on all the challenges of a sales career worth all the risks. Never settle for average; go for the best that you can possibly be and see what exciting places that can take you.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com