In sales, the ultimate winning feeling is turning that prospective lead into a closed one. When you analyze the battlefield to truly understand your competition, the victory is that much sweeter; it sparks that already lively competitive gene all great salespeople have.
When data is in a vacuum, it strips away that thrill. Having a wealth of information at your fingertips heightens that enjoyment. In sales, another company is likely going to be on your heels or just outside your reach in an attempt to grab a piece of your target market.
If you’re that salesperson trying to outsmart the competition, properly using data to close a deal boils down to two tactics.
First and foremost, break the information down to figure out how it applies to your competitors and how you can use that knowledge to your advantage. Recognize opposing tendencies and address them beforehand.
Second, use data to paint a clearer picture of your prospects. Before the first meeting, utilize these numbers in specifically tailoring a pitch to a prospect. Pay attention to what’s top of mind for that organization, which can put you ahead of rival salespeople if accounted for.
Going into any contest without a game plan is a recipe for disaster. In sales, the more current, applicable information you have at your disposal, the healthier your sales pipeline will be. It’s just a matter of knowing how to use what you have.
Deciphering the Data
In its traditional sense, empirical evidence is immeasurably helpful. As vital as it is in marking your own progression, data used to track those around you helps assess your sales course at every turn.
It’s useful to utilize data to understand where your company stacks up against your competitive set, how your CEOs are rated, and what the estimated revenue is for each organization. But what should you as a salesperson use as a guide?
- Real-time updates: Getting news about prospects might seem easy, but there’s a lot of noise out there. There are more venues for keeping up than ever, so it’s important to filter out any distractions in order to understand your prospects. Checking in daily with news alerts, blog posts, and other such updates allows you to properly comprehend what’s top of mind for your prospect’s business.
The sales industry is built on trust. Regularly scanning a company’s blog posts or its headlines for noteworthy items shows prospects you’re in the know. Keeping his industry knowledge updated allows a salesperson to shift his pitch to an evolving market and continue to make the audience feel valued.
- Accurate data points: Data points are structured pieces of information that every salesperson needs to know about a company. Having numbers like your annual revenue or company size in relation to your opposition gives salespeople a clear, unbiased view of market trends, both within their consumer base and amongst rival sales teams.
Real-time updates flow into accurate data points because company data isn’t static; it’s always changing. Having information first is critical because the salesperson who is first to understand market changes can react the quickest and have the most success.
We help our users by packaging raw data into structured news and alerts in a digestible, fun manner, allowing users to keep a pulse on their competitors and prospects.
You know the who — the people you are selling to. But because the number of sales messages each person receives will only continue to accelerate, you have to rise above the noise.
How Data Can Close the Door
It’s not just being the first salesperson on the scene; it’s about being the best. Understanding the competitive environment, having accurate data, following the news, and being alerted to changes helps you understand a company’s business and close more deals.
So how can a salesperson put those numbers to good use? These three tactics are a good start:
1. Solidify the base. Standing on top of a crumbling set of numbers is the surest way to tumble. Most CRMs are a rat’s nest of the killer three D’s: duplicate records, dirty records, and dead records.
Stay disciplined about maintaining your foundational data set. Stray away from it, and scaling properly becomes that much more difficult.
2. Stay on the scent. You must keep your finger on the pulse of your customers and prospects. This is an absolute requirement. When you diligently follow your existing customers, you can identify upsell opportunities.
3. Do your homework. The “Mad Men” era of sales is over. Before walking into a sales opportunity, know what you’re walking into. Never book a meeting with customers, prospects, or partners without researching the company and the people.
Winning is the most thrilling part of sales. The best game plans involve sizing up the competition and filling in the gaps they don’t account for. Data helps you do that — but only if you have a thorough understanding of how it works and what you’re doing.