Sales and marketing share the same business goals -- shouldn't they share the data that helps achieve them?
According to the Teradata Data-Driven Marketing Survey 2013 -- a survey of more than 2,200 marketers on the use of data to drive marketing -- 71% of respondents reported they plan to use a Big Data analytics solution within the next couple years. Fewer than 10% of companies, however, actually use Big Data in a systematic way today.
It’s clear that most marketers understand the value of Big Data, but a good majority don't know what to do with this massive amount of information right now. What’s a well-meaning modern marketer to do? Well, it’d help to consider the end-goal in collecting all of this data and gaining all of this insight to begin with: sales.
Big Data can help you generate targeted marketing campaigns -- there’s no doubt about that -- but the benefits don’t have to stop there. Why keep all of this enlightening information to yourself when you could pass it on to those with direct access to buyers? What better way to actually influence buyers and generate sales than to share the most relevant data you collect with sales reps themselves?
Supplied with relevant data on a regular basis, your sales reps can connect with today’s buyer and boost revenue. If there ever was a good, systematic use of Big Data, that’d have to be one of them.
Here are four reasons why you should share the data you have at your disposal with your sales force:
1. Big Data Can Help Sales Reps Keep Up with Today’s Astute Buyer
To call today’s buyer well-informed is a dramatic understatement. The Internet and social media have made it incredibly easy for the modern buyer to gain a thorough understanding of the array of products and services that are out there, whether he obtains it by engaging with peers in LinkedIn Groups or reading blog posts like this one.
In order to convince and convert in the Information Age, sales reps need to be just as, if not more informed than today’s buyer. It doesn't matter what you’re selling -- the modern buyer won’t listen to a sales rep that can’t speak with authority or talk on the same level about the subject in question as he.
By providing your sales team with data you collect to drive your marketing campaigns, you’ll put your reps on equal footing with today’s buyer and give them that much more power to make the sale.
2. Big Data Can Help Sales Reps Deliver the Right Message at the Right Time
In order to connect with buyers, the modern sales rep needs to follow him on the Buyer’s Journey, which consists of the following three stages:
- Trigger -- Something sparks the buyer’s attention and interest in finding a new solution to a problem
- Research -- The buyer gathers information to make an informed decision
- Purchase -- The buyer makes the decision to buy.
You can help your sales team meet the buyer at all three of these stages by providing them with the most relevant data you have amassed. Armed with this data, your sales reps will be able to 1. provide the buyer with info meant to spark his attention 2. catch up on all of the same info as the buyer and 3. convince the buyer at the Purchase stage.
Share the right data at the right time and your sales team will be able to connect with the buyer at all the right times. You’ll not only increase the likelihood of a sale but help improve the customer experience overall.
3. Big Data Can Help Position Sales Reps as Trusted Advisors
The last thing you want is for the buyer to see your reps as uninformed and only in it for the sale. If your reps are knowledge-deprived and unable to provide buyers with actionable advice, they’ll appear deficient at best and untrustworthy at worst.
Equip your sales reps with the right kind of information, and buyers will see them as knowledgeable and trusted advisors. Armed with the right data, your sales reps will gain a deeper understanding of the buyer: what he wants, how he behaves, what he’s interested in, etc. With this knowledge, your sales reps can establish thought leadership by providing the buyer with information that matters most to them.
With a team of trusted advisors in direct contact with your buyers, you’ll create a favorable impression of your brand overall. And, as you know, it’s much easier to engage buyers when they see you as a helpful, informative and valuable brand.
4. Your Sales Team Will Help You in Turn
This Big Data sharing can not only help your sales reps do their job better but can help marketing gain more insight in the process. Look at it like this: You provide your sales team with selective and relevant components of the Big Data you have. In order to get the most relevant, buyer-centric data available, your sales reps need to provide you with an in-depth look at the buyer’s pain points: his objections, his worries, etc.
This exchange of information is a win for both departments. Sales gets the information it needs to convince and convert, and you get a more in-depth look at the frustrations and issues that are relevant within the Big Data available to you. The only way this can work, however, is if you start sharing data with sales to begin with. Work together and both of you will see benefits.
Use Your Big Data Wisely
If you want to use Big Data in a systemic way, don’t silo it. Funnel this information to your sales team and stop playing guessing games.
As you can see, it’s a fool’s game to gather all of this precious data and only use it for your marketing efforts. You and your sales team are not mutually exclusive. Share data and help them do their job better. In doing so, you’ll boost revenue and help achieve the objectives of your entire organization.
Title image courtesy of VLADGRIN (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: Read more articles on this month's focus here.