What Big Data Means for your Sales Pipeline

Posted by Matthew Fradette

Feb 20, 2013, 8:59 AM

 

Big data is a hot topic. In 2012 it was a $3.2 billion dollar industry and is set up for tremendous growth in the coming years. Big data refers to data sets that are typically too large to be processed by basic database management tools or traditional data processing applications.


What does this mean for salespeople? 

 
The growth of big data is colliding with the 
explosion of sales and marketing solutions. We all know today’s consumers (your buyers) shop and  learn much differently than they did 20 years ago.  Think about Amazon.com or Netflix. When you go to these sites the experience is personalized. They know who you are, your past history and what you like. The products you see are personalized for you. Big data makes this possible. The way Amazon learns about their consumers is becoming very possible for smaller organizations. There are now marketing platforms that make collecting these data points possible for SMB and B2B organizations. Subsequently, our sales and marketing approach has shifted to adapt. 
 

The inspiration for this post actually came from an article I stumbled across recently where Eron Kelly, a SQL Server Manager at Microsoft was quoted saying “In the next 5 years , we’ll generate more data as humankind as we did in the previous 5,000 years.” This really got me thinking as a salesperson. If we can align the intelligence we have access to with sales organizations in the right way it will be a dangerous combination. To be honest, we are just scratching the surface when it comes to the data we can provide a salesperson. These new possibilities will present salespeople tremendous opportunity. When opportunity is presented so is a challenge and the integration of big data into our sales process is no exception. Below are some opportunities and challenges that access to new kinds of data will have on salespeople and also the impact it can have on sales pipeline management.

Opportunities:


• Competitive advantage:

Because the buying process has changed we are now able to collect more data about the behaviors of the buyer. This intelligence can be passed to sales reps so you can be better informed about the interests and stage of the buying process your prospects are in.

• Sales is engaging with prospects much later:

Advances in technology have led to a naturally more educated buyer. With more data about buyer behavior and prospects interests, organizations can now market to prospects at earlier stages of the buying process until they are deeper into the decision making process. This means salespeople can spend less time educating on features of your product or service and focus on providing a solution to the buyer’s problem.


• Personalized data:

Collecting data does not have to be limited to the consumer or prospect. In the coming years we are bound to see smarter solutions that learn about individual salespeople and provide analysis that will allow us to be more efficient and close more business.


Challenges:


• Making use of it:

 A lot of data can be overwhelming. The real challenge for individual salespeople and organizations alike is going to be finding the solutions that help them put it to good use.


• Analysis Paralysis:

As salespeople our main job is to sell. The art of selling by nature has not changed with all of these advancements in technology. Good salespeople in this day in age will be faced with a lot of intelligence and will need to gain valuable insight needed to close business and build a larger sales pipeline, as opposed to being weighed down.

• Over relying on marketing:

Even though marketing can now learn more about your prospects and nurture them based on the stage of the buying process they are in, salespeople will run the risk of over relying on marketing to present them only sales qualified leads.


It will certainly be interesting and exciting to see what is to come in the world of sales and marketing tools leveraging big data. I know we have some pretty ambitious plans with atQuota and are on a mission to create an intelligent sales tool that will help you learn more about you and your prospects to close more deals.


What data do you want access to that you currently don’t have as a sales rep?

 

                                               

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