You’ve heard about the importance of data-driven insights and you likely already use data to inform prospecting, but if you’re like most salespeople, you know you can take it one step further. Today, establishing relationships with customers and creating personalized experiences (hello account-based sales) is vital to winning their attention and money.
Successful account-based sales requires high-quality, updated data. Yet, 57 percent of sales organizations do not think they effectively use analytics, according to a recent McKinsey survey. They might be overwhelmed by the data deluge, or perhaps they simply don’t know what data to collect and what to do with it. But data doesn’t have to be — and shouldn’t be — intimidating.
In fact, data will make you better at your job and your life easier. It allows sales managers to understand a customer’s preferences and pain points — what gets them most excited and what keeps them up at night. The more specific the data, the better you’ll be able to segment and personalize.
Whether you’re looking to revamp how and what data you collect or you’re starting from scratch, here are four types of data that will help you build customer relationships and ultimately hit your numbers.
This demographic data is the nuts and bolts of the customer persona. It includes company size, number of employees, industry, funding and locations. To make sure you’re going after companies that align with your target customer, create an Ideal Customer Profile based on the criteria for a company that’s likely to convert into a successful customer. Salespeople should talk with marketers and product managers to make sure they have the same vision of the target customer. Evaluating companies based on firmographic information is an ongoing process. Even if a company is too small or not currently in an industry that you serve, revisit the company as you both continue to grow and scale.
While the company is your customer, it’s equally as important to get to know the individuals who you’ll interact with most. Once you have a grasp of their role and personal motivation for talking with you, find a way to connect with them personally to establish trust. Did you grow up in the same hometown or do you have similar non-profit interests? The more you can establish trust up front, the better off you’ll be when you’re ready to close the deal.
2. Technographic Data
Companies worldwide spend $3.54 trillion dollars on IT, according to Gartner, so prospective customers are likely investing in other solutions as well. Knowing a prospective customer’s current technology solutions will help you understand the company’s maturity and aptitude for investing in your solution. Some call this prospect fitness. You can learn a lot about a company’s stack and its gaps by looking at the current solutions. For instance, if a company uses Salesforce and Marketo, you can highlight how your offering compliments those solutions.
3. Behavior and Intent
Once you have a clear picture of the company profile and its current tech solutions, you’ll want to dig deeper into their purchasing intent. Consider what articles the customer contact reads, topics she engages with on forums, content she downloads, ads she clicks and her customer journey on your website. Does she click from the product page to pricing? Has she downloaded any whitepapers — and if so, which ones? What articles is she sharing on social media?
These data points will help indicate if a customer is in the market and hungry for a solution like yours. It will also provide insight into how she makes decisions and her deepest pain points.
Returning or current customers have a gold mine of information to help you personalize the sales journey. If a customer has bought a product or service from your company in the past, analyze how the customer has used the offering and talk to account reps to gauge the customer’s happiness and needs. If you have a good relationship with the customer, this is a prime upsell opportunity. If the account rep says the relationship isn’t in the green, make sure to work with the account rep to make the customer happy before engaging them again.
Each of these four data types holds a wealth of information on their own, but when combined, they empower sales managers to understand customers’ pain points, personalize the interactions and ultimately close the deal. As you have additional conversations with prospects and collect new information, you’ll be able to respond in a relevant, personalized way because you’ve done your homework and have firmographic, technographic, intent and engagement data at your fingertips. When married together and used correctly, data will help you be smarter about prospecting and hitting your numbers.
Also published on Medium.