The Sales Signals We’re Ignoring Could Be Worth Millions

We’ve all heard the line, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It typically leads to discussion on observations and perception, and the idea that if something is not heard, is it even there?

Now, let’s apply it to sales. “If data about your customers and prospects isn’t entered into your CRM, does it even exist?”

I asked this question recently to a handful of sales executives and the answer was, “we have mandated that all info needs to be entered into the CRM, but quite frankly, the reps aren’t doing it.” But that was far from the end of the conversation. What quickly evolved was a deeper conversation about how ineffective the CRM insights are if all the info and activity captured isn’t understood and utilized.

Getting More Out of Your Tools and Processes

If you’re like most enterprise sales organizations you’ve invested in processes, tools, personnel, market research….and that’s just the start. You likely have 10+ SalesTech apps your sales team is balancing. Even more if you include email, calendars, text messages, phone, etc.

All of these tools — the ones mentioned above, as well as automated emails, dialers, content management systems, help desk apps, you name it — are producing a massive amount of “digital exhaust.” Data and insights. Reactions and responses that are sometimes quick, sometimes delayed, and at times, non existent.

We’ve always tracked “Records” using traditional, structured databases. But today with emerging Systems of Intelligence, we can move beyond these simple static data points (was an emailed opened or did they register for a webinar) to gather deep insights that are being referred to as “Signals” (that digital exhaust I mentioned). We can now analyze, measure, and monitor — everything from intent to speed, sentiment to intensity, and so much more.

Each of these “Sales Signals” can impact your sales cycle. They are critical to understanding the buyer’s journey as well as a prospect’s buying intentions. And they can help you weed out the bad leads, know where to focus your time and ultimately close deals faster.

Here are three ways to get the most out of your Sales Signals:

  1. Understand what digital Signals are being produced. Every Signal. From every sales and marketing application. And even better, understand those signals sent from IT support, finance, or other divisions in your company that may be communicating with your prospects. Yes they downloaded that white paper, but NO that does not automatically mean they want a phone call and to be put into a cadence for email outreach campaigns. The intent matters. And ignoring it can lead to a very negative customer experience.
  2. Automate signal and data capture. For decades, we’ve required reps to manually enter in the details of their deal engagements. And it hasn’t worked. They do it reluctantly, entering the bare minimum. The result is sales management has limited visibility into the pipeline. Get your reps out of the data clerk business using the many automated tools available and finally fill your CRM with complete and accurate customer information.
  3. Know how each signal, and the combination of multiple signals, impact pipeline movement. Each customer journey is different. Just because two prospects end up at the same point, does not make them the same. They likely made the purchasing decision at different stages, with different budgets, different decision makers, and were motivated by different triggers. And yet, we’ve always grouped them as the same — simply as WINS or LOSSES. With Signals, we can finally piece together each individual puzzle to take the right action at the right time.

Just like the trees falling in the forest, “Sales Signals” are happening — whether someone is there to hear them or not. Innovative sales organizations are putting strategies in place to capture and understand them, and they are being rewarded. The results are not only increased pipeline velocity and improved quota attainment, but also an overall better customer experience which will deliver returns for many years to come.

This week’s post is by guest author, Larry Warnock, President and CEO of Olono, your sales sidekick. A SaaS-based solution, Olono changes the way sales professionals work, combining universal data integration, big data, machine learning, and predictive analytics to analyze every touch point related to the sales process.

You can meet Olono at the  TOPO Summit  in San Francisco, CA  March 20-21