For many sales people, data and administrative tasks are merely a distraction from the job at hand – selling. With sales people typically spending just a third of their day talking to prospects, the rest of their time is spent writing emails, entering data, researching leads and performing internal tasks. Competitive, goal-oriented sales people may want to spend more time speaking to prospects and less time tracking and analysing their performance, but is this the most effective approach for their sales cycle – and for your business?

In reality, collecting, analysing and implementing the right data can be incredibly useful in reducing sales time and improving the sales cycle. Find out why, and how your sales team can use data and technology to boost sales.

Administration matters

No matter how large your sales team is and how much support there is available, almost every sales role involves administrative and customer service aspects. And while many sales people may not enjoy this part of the job, administrative tasks are part and parcel of the sales process. Activities such as scheduling follow-up calls, noting down details of contact with potential leads, vetting prospects and updating customer details are all crucial sales tasks. Keeping detailed records of conversations and other sales activities can make or break a deal down the line, and while it may seem hard at the time, a lack of focus on administration can result in a more prolonged sales cycle.

Thankfully, many of these activities can now be streamlined with the help of modern technologies and tools. There are a variety of smart software and apps on the market that can help you to record and track interactions, log time and ultimately be more productive with your efforts. Encourage your sales people to keep on top of their admin by providing them with the best tools – such as an industry-leading CRM and sales force automation software. Start with sales prospecting: This can be automated with the help of a dynamic B2B database and lead generation tool. Email templates can help to save time when composing messages you send on a repeat basis, while social media platforms can increase networking speed and efficiency.

Analyse the right data

In an industry that’s all about numbers, it’s no surprise that data plays a significant part in the world of sales. Indeed, of those sales organisations that rate themselves as “high performing”, 53% rate themselves as effective users of analytics. Analysing and understanding the right data sets can lead to top-line and margin growth as it allows your sales teams to make more informed decisions – the key is knowing the areas where analytics create the most value.

For most sales teams, the primary sales areas to focus on include lead generation, customer retention and pricing. Past and current sales data can help sales people to identify the right customers at the right time. Teams can then go one step further and employ algorithms to predict which factors are most important in lead conversion, and therefore which leads are likely to close. Data can also help to inform sales people about underserved and discontented customers, using algorithms and machine learning to probe patterns and identify which customers could benefit from cross-selling.

Encourage your sales people to get to grips with all the data that’s at their disposal, and ensure they can access it in an efficient, effective way. Data should be organised, structured and accessible throughout your business, updated regularly and inclusive of first- and third-party sets. Consider tools and technologies that can help to mine and organise data, and ensure all sales people are confident in using these insights to their advantage. Ultimately, data should help sales people allocate the right amount of time on the right activities, giving them crucial evidence on the best ways to execute tasks.

Recruit the best talent

Even with the cleanest data, the newest technologies and most effective sales tools on the planet, if you don’t have the right team behind you, you’ll struggle to meet your target. At BMS, we meet the best sales people on a daily basis. We know who they are, what motivates them and how they can benefit your business. Let us help you improve your sales function. For more information, contact us here or take a look at our latest blogs for industry insights and advice.