In the race to grow your company, defeat your competition, and dominate the marketplace, it can sometimes feel like the most important parts of the SWOT analysis lie in the externally-focused quadrants: Opportunities and Threats. Your ability to leverage OPM, OPT, and OPE (Other People’s Money, Other People’s Time, and Other People’s Effort) can define your success.
But there’s one commonly overlooked (and simple) weakness that, if cultivated, can be converted into invincible, hulk-like strength — the quality of your data.
High quality intelligence can give you massive leverage across multiple departments, in ways you might’ve never even considered. Throughout the life of a lead, from Marketing to Sales Development to Sales to Customer Success, good data facilitates and maximizes growth. Bonus: your competitors are probably oblivious to its power.
Marketing: Better Leads, Higher ROI
First, let’s take a look at Marketing. Compelling messaging is best produced using effective segmentation. For highly targeted segmentation, your team needs more than just a job title — they need job responsibilities, seniority level, perhaps even technology stack or company size.
To reach those prospects, they need contact information: verified email addresses, at a minimum. Marketers fight a constant battle against bounces, and their success depends heavily on inbox placement and the integrity of their email lists.
Does your marketing team engage in progressive profiling using forms? When several site visits are required to get complete data on a prospect, proper segmentation is put on hold, and you run the risk of intentionally incorrect form fills from those who dislike providing their contact info. Having extensive (and reliably correct) data up front eliminates the time and expense of this “courting” phase.
Direct mail is hot in B2B right now, for good reason: it can be extremely effective. It’s also expensive. If you’re sending to prospects with multiple locations, have some duplicates in your database, or some of your contacts are likely outdated, watch out — you can easily rack up six figure cost overruns due to inaccurate data. If you can ensure your campaign is sent only to recently vetted contacts with verified addresses, you’ll reach the right people, with low waste and high ROI. But the benefits don’t end there — they keep extending through the sales cycle.
Sales Development: More Momentum, More Meetings
I’m guessing your SDRs log A LOT of call time. You probably don’t need me to explain the value of direct dials, but just in case, two words: circumventing gatekeepers. Saving time is reason enough to invest in data that contains direct dials, but calling a high-level decision maker on their direct line also increases credibility. The more direct dials your SDRs have access to, the better. According to InsideSales.com and Vorsight, if you double the number of accurate direct lines available to your team, you’ll triple the number of appointments set per week, per rep. Do the math on that one.
Reporting structures and details on individual roles within prospect organizations can be elusive. With an intelligence solution that provides job responsibilities, reps can contact the appropriate person on the first attempt. When your SDRs inevitably run into roadblocks, they can make use of reporting hierarchy data to find additional points of entry. Accessing other stakeholders and influencers (especially your contact’s boss or direct reports) can present opportunities to build groundswell and internal pressure within prospect organizations — so getting the meeting becomes less of a challenge.
Sales: Close the Deal & Streamline Management
Once the meeting is set, high quality data keeps working for you. Imagine increasing close rates and average account value by anywhere from 20% to 250%. Your sales team can leverage the same intelligence used by Marketing and Sales Development to open up new markets, shorten sales cycles, maximize the number of reps making quota, and increase sales productivity.
This is where the depth of your intelligence solution matters most. Your account execs can multiply the effectiveness of their efforts when they have ready access to detailed company profiles. Armed with information on budgets & purchase cycles, ongoing projects, hiring initiatives, and tech stacks, an AE can use tailored messaging to transform a mildly interested lead into someone clamoring for your product.
The success of your sales team is supported by data in another way — for your managers, measuring performance becomes more efficient, accurate, and standardized. Say the team is evaluated on three main metrics: close rates, total revenue closed, and volume of activity (call time, emails sent, etc). When AEs are responsible for gathering their own intelligence, time spent networking, leveraging LinkedIn, or navigating phone trees has to be part of the equation. If they have all the data they need up front (so they can do what they do best: engage with prospects), you can forget the nebulous measure of “activity” and focus on the first two metrics — your true growth drivers.
One more benefit: accurate and valuable data integrated into your workflow will drive CRM adoption by the sales team. As a result, Sales Operations will gain greater regulation and standardization of data management.
Want to take the temperature of your data?
Try this quick exercise. Take a stroll through your sales department at several different times during the day. If two-thirds or more of your team members are on the phone & engaged in active sales conversations, you probably have a good data source. If less than 66% are engaged in direct selling at any given time, they’re probably trying to track down the info necessary to do their job. That means you likely have bad data — which could be costing you 6 to 9 figures per year in topline revenues.
Other Departmental Points of Leverage
The benefits of quality intelligence go well beyond marketing and sales and touch many corners of your enterprise.
Human Resources can help Sales hire more skilled people, more quickly, who need less training — just add the words “qualified leads provided” to your job listing and take your pick of competitive closers. HR can also recruit passive candidates for other departments by leveraging intelligence to find the most qualified, relevant workers.
Finance benefits from the boost in CRM adoption — their resulting data and the analysis of that data will be more accurate and more credible when everyone’s following process.
Customer Success can start off on the right foot with customers when they have org charts, job titles & responsibilities, and verified email addresses and phone numbers for client stakeholders.
Unlike many variables in your organization, data is a single, manageable point of leverage — a relatively easy “tweak” that’s almost guaranteed to multiply returns. While bad information can cost you, accurate & comprehensive intelligence can streamline workflows, increase marketing effectiveness, shorten sales cycles, and launch you past your competition. So next time you’re doing that SWOT analysis, how about making sure “data” belongs in the Strength quadrant?
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