Transforming Sales: Why Sales Organizations Will Have to Consider Their Data Strategy

In this series, we ask SalesTech Executives to describe how their solution can transform sales in a significant way.

This week I interview Henry Schuck, CEO of DiscoverOrg & Zoominfo.

NANCY: WHAT ARE THE TOP AREAS OF FOCUS IN THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS FOR ORGANIZATIONS THAT WANT TO TRANSFORM THEIR SALES ORGANIZATIONS?

HENRY: Think about your tech stack: You have a CRM, probably some kind of marketing automation system, maybe sales enablement and engagement tools like auto-dialers and content-asset tracking. What’s the common thread? You need data in your CRM, data informing your marketing automation, data flowing between engagement thinking about how they work together.

People want to talk about AI and Predictive and machine learning, but the truth of the matter is that most organizations haven’t gotten the fundamental layer of accurate company and prospect information down right in their core systems.

To participate in the next generation of SalesTech, sales organizations will have to consider their data strategy. High-growth teams who want to keep a competitive advantage and continue to drive efficiency need to take a good hard look at where their data is coming from. It’s going to have to be accurate, or the next generation of tools won’t work, and any advantage is gone.

NANCY: HOW SHOULD COMPANIES DECIDE WHICH APPROACHES TO SALES TRANSFORMATION ARE RIGHT FOR THEM?

HENRY: We think a lot about our customers’ level of sophistication: A company with a small sales team sharing inbound leads doesn’t have the same problems as an enterprise organization with teams dedicated to inbound, outbound, field sales. What would a small, account-based team do with a complex lead-routing engine? There is a natural trajectory of technology adoption – “inflection points” – where growing pains prompt adoption of a new solution, and the organization transforms as a result. Don’t waste your money trying to preempt problems that don’t exist for you yet. But if you’re NOT spending money on places where your sales reps are wasting time, you’re missing a chance to transform.

It’s easy to identify these areas too – just walk down the sales hallway, sit with a sales rep – it won’t take but a few minutes to identify all of the bottlenecks and time killers to their day. Identify them, prioritize them, and find solutions for them.

Wanna bet access to accurate prospecting and customer data is at the top of that?

NANCY: WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR ENSURING THAT TECHNOLOGIES CONTRIBUTE TO SALES TRANSFORMATION IN A MEASURABLE AND IMPACTFUL WAY?

HENRY: Keep your eye on two metrics: adoption rate and impact. My sales team used to send multiple emails to get our inbound leads booked for a demo – it was a lot of back-and-forth and great prospects were dropping off before we could get them booked. We were leaving money on the table. We finally bought Outreach, an automated demo-scheduling tool that integrates into webforms. Our reps were excited to use the new tool and boost their own numbers. Our investors were excited about the net-new increase in demos booked – our conversion rate went from 17% to over 40%! – and that translated to the bottom line. There’s no question this new technology gave my team time to focus on other revenue-generating activities. We were transformed. As sales leaders we now need to make sure that the extra time is ACTUALLY spent on revenue-generating activities though, don’t take your eyes off the metrics you care about.

Companies at all stages of growth will struggle with adoption if the team isn’t ready or if the right stakeholders aren’t sold. As you’re considering solutions for sales efficiency problems, don’t forget what it’s going to take to get your team to use it. Shiny tools won’t change anything if your adoption rate sucks.

NANCY: HOW IS YOUR SOLUTION TRANSFORMING YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SALES ORGANIZATIONS?

HENRY: Our customers say it best:

Direct contact information for specific decision-makers: “Without DiscoverOrg + ZoomInfo, I’d have to dig up potentially outdated information in my CRM or manually guess what the email address format is for each prospect. Now I am able to find the direct, accurate contact info and not waste time doing research, or going through gatekeepers to get the runaround. The fact that email and phone numbers of individuals are included is a massive help when attempting to reach out. I can just focus on my messaging and selling things instead of compiling contact information.”

Sales enablement: “I like the ability to look into companies and see what technology tools they are currently using, where they are spending their money and whether they are a good fit for your product while seeing who the decision makers are. But my favorite tool within DiscoverOrg + ZoomInfo is their “Scoops” functionality where they share real-time updates on employee changes and upcoming or completed projects.”

Integrations: “The plug-in with other systems like Salesforce is very helpful. With this feature, I avoid a large and boring step during my campaigns. Before, I used to get all the contacts in the CSV file and then upload to Salesforce to be able to run a campaign. Now I can do it directly from DiscoverOrg and it really reduces time.”