Why Sales Should Care About Big Data [Infographic]

Lattice Engines, a sales intelligence software development company that integrates internal, external and proprietary data to identify customer patterns and trigger events that influence buying decisions, released a survey earlier this month conducted by partner research firm CSO Insights on the impact of Big Data on sales performance. The report, CSO Insights 2012 Impact of Data Access on Sales Performance Report: Why Big Data Should Be a Big Deal for Sales, surveyed 218 CEOs, CSOs, sales execs and managers during June 2012 in an online study.

The report suggests that the challenges facing sales teams today isn’t about data access, but rather what they can do with the data to drive sales growth.

The study found that sales reps struggle just to find the information they need to close deals. More than 80% of respondents feel challenged by the amount of data available and the time it takes to research prospects before making a call. Sales people may search as many as 15 different data sources including their CRM (customer relationship management) systems, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, search engines, and other business information providers to find information on customers and prospects.

Although 80% of respondents have implemented a CRM system, only 44% believe it is effective at helping them find internal information (what a CRM was designed to do!), and almost 80% find it ineffective at helping them find external company information. More than half of companies surveyed rely on their sales reps to do research themselves as they lack the capability to bring together internal AND external information. Given the reliance on sales reps to do their own research, perhaps not surprisingly 89% of reps feel they miss opportunities because they can’t keep up with an endless stream of information on sales prospects.

Big data for sales organizations isn’t simple

From the perspective of new technologies and capabilities, Andris A. Zoltners, Professor Emeritus of Marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, PK Sinha (co-founder with Zoltners of ZS Associates, a sales and marketing consulting firm) and Sally Lorimer recently suggested in a Harvard Business Review article that big data for sales forces may be overhyped. The trick isn’t simply gathering and mining big data, it’s what you do with it that’s really important.

According to Zoltners, Sinha and Lorimer, critical that companies use big data to provide insight on several types of customers that can help sales reps answer key questions such as ‘which customer to target’ or ‘which offers maximize value for each customer.’ Moreover, for big data to be successful for a salesforce, it must create customer-level insight that both provides salespeople with information and simultaneously helps sales leaders make decisions. Lastly, the processes of collecting, cleaning, organizing and maintaining big data shouldn’t be minimized; these are challenging and expensive tasks.

Big data has great potential for sales organizations. According to the CSO Insights report, 35% of respondents have implemented technology to bring both internal and external information to sales reps, and their win rates are almost 8% higher than companies without the technology.

Check out the infographic created by Lattice Engines showcasing why all sales departments should care about Big Data.
Why big data is a big deal for sales
Via: Why Big Data is a Big Deal for Sales

Walter Jessen is a digital strategist, writer, web developer and data scientist. You can typically find him behind the screen something with an internet connection.

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