The challenges sales reps face in obtaining the data to inform these insights are tough. Sales reps often struggle to understand their prospects’ target customer and, without detailed knowledge of their demographics and behaviors, stand to lose commission.
The software used by sales teams is also often out of date. Research by technology insight experts Gartner found that 80 percent of sales analytics functions are only capable of descriptive and diagnostic data analytics. They can find out what happened historically and the reasons why, however, they’re are unable to take the next steps: predictive analytics (what will happen) and, crucially, prescriptive analytics (what to do about it).
But why are these steps so important? For C-suite executives, predictive and prescriptive analytics influence their top-level company strategy moving forward. Business decision-makers have been crying out for this sort of data analytics for years, so it’s up to sales reps to provide it.
There’s Hope for Sales and Marketing Teams
Recently, GetApp, a business app discovery marketplace, surveyed almost 500 U.S. SMBs and found that there is still work to be done to provide this level of analysis.
The research was spread over five different industries, finding that those working in marketing were most likely to have the right data and insights to make decisions. On the flipside, sales were the least likely. While over half of sales reps (55 percent) used Google Analytics to source real-time insights, sales teams were the least likely to employ data scientists, severely limiting their ability to make data-driven big decisions.
Therefore, one of the key findings was that marketing and sales teams need to collaborate more closely to use data more effectively. So how can they do this?
Top Tips for Collaborating Between Sales and Marketing
- Use the Same Data
Firstly, it’s of paramount importance that sales and marketing teams use the same data. This means employing the same CRM software across both departments to link up sales figures to marketing activity, for example, providing more future insight for both teams.
The discovery that the two teams who should be intrinsically interlinked are at opposite ends of the data analytics spectrum shows that they are currently too siloed. Both teams will inevitably have their own internal databases, which need to be uploaded to a central CRM tool to allow them to be viewed simultaneously. Utilizing the same dataset helps integrate the teams, improve individual performance and tie up analytics more effectively.
- Utilize Data Scientists Across Both Teams
The research also found a positive correlation between confidence in using data and the impact it has on a business. With that in mind, the fact that sales teams were the least likely to utilize data scientists is a real concern.
Once an integrated CRM is in place, linking the sales and marketing teams together with shared data, the next logical step is employing a data scientist to help dissect and understand this data, and then to turn it into actionable insights.
An annual study of big data trends by Wikibon predicted that big data analytics will be worth $103 billion by 2027, which illustrates just how crucial investing in quality data science has become. Sales reps simply cannot afford to be left behind in this industry.
- Use Real-Time Data
Once you’ve got a consistent CRM in place across the sales and marketing teams, and a data scientist in place to extrapolate maximum value from it, it’s of vital importance you make sure you’re using real-time data.
Having access to real-time data across the two teams allows them to react without delay and ensure, for example, that sales leads are kept completely up to date. This means that the whole process throughout the sales and marketing funnel can be measured and analyzed alongside thousands of others within the CRM dataset.
92 percent of businesses already use or are planning to use a CRM of some kind, so making sure that the CRM is consistent between sales and marketing teams, and that you’re using its full suite of business intelligence features to their full potential, is crucial.
The challenges associated with collaborating effectively to utilize big data are considerable. However, the reward of having a fully integrated sales and marketing team singing from the same CRM hymn sheet, data scientists to make the most of the data your business is collecting, and real-time insight into sales leads and their target market, mean that it is 100% worth investing in a solution.