The importance of data in sales work – a new perspective on solution sales and how to win more sales.
This blog series discusses B2B sales trends based on a Linkedin State of Sales survey. Linkedin conducts an annual State of Sales survey of its users. The latest study highlights in particular the need for change in sales processes, this change actually began even before the Covid19 pandemic. The corona pandemic has only further accelerated this change.
Our blog series highlights the key findings of Linkedin’s State of Sales survey in B2B commerce, and considers how B2B solution sales could be developed to better respond to changes in customer buying behavior. In our blog series, we specifically address the following themes:
Part 2: The importance of data in sales work – a new perspective on solution sales and how to win more sales.
The importance of data in business has grown tremendously in recent years. Naturally, the importance of data also increases in sales operations. The data needed for B2B sales comes roughly from three different domains:
• customer company (business, communications, organization and related people)
• customer needs (business objectives, plans and solution needs)
• customer purchasing behavior (the purchasing process, its actors, the customer’s procurement instructions and preferences)
Sales need data on customers’ current status and future goals despite it is a business or consumer purchasing processes. On this basis, the company can build a suitable sales process as well as an offering that can best meet the needs of customers.
According to Linkedin State of Sales survey, a sales organization with a data strategy makes about 10% more winning bids. In addition to a digital strategy, sales need their own data strategy. In order to sales succeed in improving their results, they need to better understand the data they receive from the customer, and how it can be utilized in sales work and winning sales.
Sales-related digital developments and solutions have been very technology-driven – what should be developed next in sales digitalization?
Sales technologies and data collection are currently heavily focused on operating and managing internal sales processes. CRM tools have focused on the ease of operating sales processes. Different service providers produce high-quality data on basic company-related information such as contacts, their role in the client company, and organizational responsibilities. The new sales tools will also be able to integrate the various services needed by sales into a single channel.
Companies also monitor customer activity with a variety of tools that examine customer behavior from different messages and stimulus. In recent years, there have also been analytical services that provide information on the company’s situation and trends based on communications and reports published by the company.
Communication automations have also evolved to be smarter and improved ability to respond to customer interests and information needs.
Companies have also invested in online shopping and especially in their intelligence. Online e-stores are better able to personalize their offerings, activate the customer to make purchases and strive to ensure customer satisfaction through transparency and smooth communication.
Companies have also invested in customer service processes that aim to serve more customer-oriented way as well as personalized approach.
As you can see, the development has been very technology-focused and focused on various stages of sales separately. The development of sales tools has been based on the improvement of analytics tools, communication tools and intelligent automation.
Considerable development has to be made in terms of a genuine understanding of actual customer needs. The customer’s possible need is now interpreted in terms of digital approach on the basis of the customer’s public communications and assessed on the basis of the customer’s behavior in the digital service channels. This is not enough in current business environment.
However, no significant investment has been made in the well-defined information obtained directly from the customer about the customer’s business needs and possible solutions related to them, and therefore the customer’s needs are not in reality collected directly from the customer. If some companies collect this kind of data from the customer, then the collection of this information is not systematic and is based on a predefined data model.
In order to make these different technologies used in sales to work better at the customer’s service during the purchasing process, the company is required to have a clear understanding of sales goals, sales strategy, and based on them, information needs. According to Linkedin’s State of Sales study, a sales organization with a data strategy makes about 10% more winning bids. A clear strategy will also help the company succeed in sales.
How can you invest in a genuine understanding of the customer’s need?
By knowing the customer accurately, the salesperson is sure to win more trade. The sales must understand their clients’ key business plans and competitive factors of the purchasing organization, the customer’s needs for which the purchase is being made, and the customer’s organization, its people and the procument process. The better you know your customers, the more likely you are to succeed.
The importance of analyzing a customer’s purchasing behavior is constantly growing, as customers’ purchasing processes evolve over time. The data can be used to better understand the customer’s needs, purchasing behavior and the situation of the purchasing process. Based on the analysis, it is possible to more accurately assess the situation of customers, make the right kind of sales measures, and lead the customer in the transaction.
The utilization of digital sales channels enables a better study of the customer’s purchasing behavior, and the effectiveness of various measures can be monitored much more accurately. The digital sales channel helps in data collection, structuring and analysis. Without a digital sales channel, information is collected manually on various media, leaving information scattered and incomplete. Obtaining information in such a situation is practically impossible because of the inconvenience and cost involved.
The customer is needed to collect the data. The customer must be able to determine the specific need directly with the supplier. Collecting and verifying the accuracy of the information provided by the customer should be made easy. This is aided by smart tools that easily collect data and document it transparently with customer.
Linkedin State of Sales survey states there is no going back to a time when sales were made more by intuition, and success in the future also requires extensive data about the customer, the customer’s needs, and the customer’s buying behavior. To succeed here, sales need the right tools. The digital sales channel offers both a solution to the customer’s service needs as well as accurate information about the customer for use in sales.
Sales must also increase their ability to process and analyze client information so that sales can integrate the data utilization into their operations and daily sales work. Without the ability to process client data efficiently, sales will face challenges in meeting the competition in B2B business in the 2020s.
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Link to Linkedin State of Sales -report: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/b2b-sales-strategy-guides/the-state-of-sales-2020-report