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Big Data is revolutionizing modern business.  Access to more information provides both companies and individual managers with the means to make more informed decisions and the potential to increase profits.  One key area where big data is having an impact is in marketing and sales.

The average company spends a significant portion of their revenue on sales, whether it be in efforts to attract new clients or retain existing customers.  What frustrates many businesses is that those efforts aren’t focused, and the investment can be wasted if it doesn’t translate to the company’s bottom line.

Enter Big Data, a potent new tool for companies looking to focus their sales efforts and create a culture of sales excellence.

Sales Excellence is More Than a Buzz Word

Too many companies view sales excellence as something that they just need to “try harder” at to be successful.  Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works.  In recent years, the balance of power between buyers and sellers has shifted dramatically, largely due to the availability of data. The prevalence of web sites, blogs, and other digital media have made vendor organizations more visible and transparent to potential buyers than ever before.

Where sellers once held a large portion of the cards, this is no longer the case.

Buyers now have access to so much data about price, features, and competitors, that sellers must find another way to make their case.  This again comes down to the proper use of data.  By leveraging Big Data, sellers can stack the deck back in their favor, and achieve sales excellence in a variety of ways.

Using Big Data to Achieve Sales Excellence

Big Data is just that – big.  There’s a lot of data to analyze and some reports suggest that most organizations only use about 0.5% of all available data.  Making sense of the vast amounts of data is complex and challenging. However, here are several ways in which leading sales organizations are overcoming those challenges and leveraging the power of Big Data:

  • Historical data analysis.  Years of old data can provide valuable insight into seasonal trends and the validity of sales forecasts.
  • Pricing optimization.  Pricing can be a company’s biggest challenge whether it be for a product launch or staying competitive with existing products.  Big Data helps analyze customer segments to find the optimum price for maximum sales and profit potential.
  • Perfecting the message.  As mentioned early, today’s customer now has access to vast amounts of information.  In many cases, companies now must tailor their message to each customer segment to be the most effective.  Big data also allows A/B testing to find the best message for each demographic segment.

Companies That Are Leveraging Big Data to Optimize Sales

Several mainstream companies already use Big Data analytics to drive sales excellence in their organizations.  Amazon is a perfect example.  Have you ever viewed an item on Amazon.com and found other “recommended” products either on the same page or later in your data stream?  This is Big Data at work and a result of their data mining and analysis of your activity and preferences.

Walmart also relies heavily on Big Data to increase sales.  They’ve instituted what they call a Social Genome, which is a constantly updated knowledge base that puts “the right product” in front of customers at the moment that they need the item. A recent post on Datafloq expands on how these retailers use Big Data not just as a recommendation engine for existing customers, but as a tool to optimize everything from supply chains to marketing initiatives:

“Analyzing sales data from local stores across the globe can help organizations accurately select the best selling products at product and/or store level. This information will help organizations determine which products to sell at what location and to make real-time adjustments if necessary. This will ensure for example that a store is not out-of-stock of a certain product when the product suddenly goes viral in a certain area, as Big Data analytics could have predicted it.”

On the B2B side, companies ranging from software to biotech today also use predictive analytics and Big Data solutions to identify their best prospects, improve conversion rates, and shorten the length of the sales cycle.

Big data is now providing many opportunities for businesses to drive sales excellence.  By making use of these valuable tools, sales become more effective and bottom line results continue to improve.

 

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