Analyze Yourself

I don’t need to espouse the importance of data analytics to you. It might as well be Sales 101, right?

But what was once a fad is now a necessity. The facts are the facts: If you can’t use “big data” analytics effectively, your productivity and profitability will suffer (by as much as 6 percent or more. Ouch.)

Of course, this isn’t lost on most companies, least of all the successful ones. (That would be your competitors). But here’s the problem. If you’re all using the same analytics the same way, how can you differentiate yourself for a competitive advantage?

Take a look at your current practices, for instance. How often do you analyze what you are analyzing? Do you pull from enough sources? Do you have any “outside the box” sources?

Maybe you feel comfortable with your company’s data analytic strategy. Maybe you think the team is doing just fine. But our world moves fast – which means that doing business as usual and “keeping pace” can quickly lead to falling behind.

That might not be what you want to hear, but don’t worry. The information you need is out there. And it gets even better – chances are that you already have it. You just need to look at your existing data through a different lens.

Consider the following:

You need more than one source to see the whole picture.

Sales are not a one-dimensional transaction. They can be complex, involving a range of factors like pain points and nurture sequences and lead sources. So why wouldn’t you look at them from different angles – or in this case, different data sources?

How are customers buying? What time (of the day, of the year) do they seem to like to buy the most? Do you need to rev up the sales cycle shortly before or can you just swoop in? Where do your most profitable customers originate and how are they hearing about your brand? When you combine data points from multiple sources, you’ll see a multi-dimensional picture that reveals deeper insights that can sharpen your strategies.

Understand how your clients interact with their virtual world and with you. You might be sick of hearing about our “multichannel” world but the fact is, clients have options – and a smart sales team will dig into their preferences and cater to them.

Let’s say your analytics show clients access the Internet more via their phones than their laptops and desktops. Are you making it harder for them to give you their money because your sales portals are not optimized for mobile?

Don’t live in a bubble. Research what your competitors do well (and what they do poorly.)

You might pride yourself in not being that nebulous “them.” Oh, they don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what’s good for clients long-term… You might believe this. And hey, maybe it’s true. But your competitors are staying in business for a reason. Something they’re doing is working for clients and it doesn’t hurt to analyze what that is.

Conversely, when they go out of business, you definitely want to look at what they did wrong.

The data is out there – and it matters.

Your customers are telling you about themselves. Listen to them. By understanding every aspect of their habits and psychology, you can predict their needs. That means if you’re not capturing data about your customers outside of what’s needed for the sale, you are throwing away potential relationship currency. Which is akin to throwing away actual currency.

Learn their wants, needs, and long-term goals. Find out their avenues of access and when they prefer to do business. (This is not always time-zone dependent). Then be the business they’re looking for. True, sometimes relationships just don’t work out. They may take their business elsewhere. But if they do leave for a competitor, you’ll want to know why. And if you’ve been listening to your customers, you will.