Big data is one of the most underutilized resources available to businesses today.

Only 0.5% of data available is used, as the sheer amount and complexity of the data intimidates companies.

Many believe that only large enterprises have the resources to utilize big data, yet small businesses can easily take advantage of it as well.  

Making sense of this information can be overwhelming, but once you discover a way to integrate it into your own decision-making process, you’ll quickly realize the myriad of new sales opportunities that are now at your disposal. 

1. Analyze old data

Your historical sales data holds valuable information that can be leveraged to improve sales efforts at each stage of the funnel.

By identifying which sales tactics work best, you’ll be able to gradually refine your approach and improve conversion rates each time.

In order to do this, gather all of your data from past leads, opportunities and sales transactions and input them into a CRM software.

With all of your historical data stored and organized in one place, you’ll be able to analyze which strategies worked best for each customer or product segment.

Historical data can also be used to improve sales forecasts, allowing you to identify high-value targets and better allocate potential opportunities and new leads.

Having your sales team concentrate on only the most promising opportunities will rapidly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales efforts.

2. Optimize pricing

Pricing can be one of the biggest challenges of introducing a new product.

Pricing too high can drive customers away, yet pricing too low can erode your profit margins and even customer perception.

In addition to external research (e.g. tracking the competitive landscape and market opportunity), carefully analyze past transactions and your customer base.

Using data from your CRM (or similar analytics software), segment your customers by different price points to help narrow down the ideal price range based on each group’s price tolerance, behavior and demand.

Combining both internal and external data points arms you with the necessary insights needed to determine an optimal pricing structure for maximum sales potential.

3. Refine your messaging

Customers have their own set of attributes and require communications that are tailored to their specific needs, preferences and desires.

Most businesses do this by creating customer segments based on a wide range of attributes such as geographic location, age, sex, marital status, etc.

But how do you determine which message works best for each customer segment?

By A/B testing the various elements of each message, you can analyze how customers respond to different headlines, offers, images and copy to find that works best.

4. Visualize the data

Raw data can be confusing to interpret and time-consuming to sift through, especially when you have a large amount of it.

Instead, visualize the data through centralized dashboards that provide a constant stream of information.

One example is Geckoboard, a dashboard app that displays real-time data in a visual and dynamic manner, making it simpler for teams to reference relevant data when making critical decisions.

Sales teams can easily use this visual data to track progress and monitor any relevant metrics.

5. Create compelling case studies  

Case studies are an effective way to inform potential customers of your capabilities and recent accomplishments; they highlight real world examples and serve as facilitators when closing new deals.

Web apps such as SketchDeck can pull specific data points into case studies to effectively communicate value to your customers.

Beyond incorporating core data points, be sure to include visual elements such as charts and graphs that clearly highlight the key points and benefits.

Keeping your case studies brief and concise with visual data will help you create impactful selling points.

Extracting value from your data takes some time and effort, but once you do, the benefits are endless.

Regardless of the size of your business, learning to incorporate data into your sales processes will not only help you become a much better decision maker but also drive revenue growth.

To learn more, check out Econsultancy’s range of data and analytics training courses.

Shaun Haase

Published 26 August, 2016 by Shaun Haase

Shaun is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProsperWorks, and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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