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Accelerating B2B Sales Cycles with Data

How can data empower sales and marketing teams to shorten sales cycles? Josh Mueller, Global Head of Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet, explains:

In today’s B2B sales and marketing world, the landscape is constantly changing thanks to a huge influx of data at the fingertips of the B2B professional. Data should be informing an organization on the best customer prospects. Data should be turning leads into wins. Data should be a sales and marketing professional’s best friend.

Yet, despite the massive wealth of information available, many are still struggling to put it to good use.

Data does away with cold calls

Historically, the sales professional relied heavily on cold calling without any real information on which specific buyer to contact or when to contact them. Cold calling, if not backed by useful information, can be a fruitless effort. According to The State of Sales Acceleration Report, buyers receive as many as 32 calls a week and are in no rush to answer.

The problem when the customer does pick up is that the data in front of the sales professional is incomplete. This is proving to be very irritating to the buyer; they rank the failure of the seller to do basic research (29%) and being contacted at the wrong time (also 29%) as their biggest frustrations.

The research also found that, on average, a salesperson spends over two hours (128 minutes) looking into an individual prospect before contacting them. This is clearly far too much time for one potential customer. Nearly a quarter (24%) of sales professionals admitted they didn’t have enough time to research, with a further 35% admitting to pressures on providing value above and beyond what is ordinarily found online.

So how is it that B2B teams can save time and abandon the cold-calling culture? The answer lies in having the right data in the right place at the right time.

Accelerating the path from prospect to paying customer

Having the right data and insights enables marketing teams to only pass the best leads to sales and allows sales teams to more quickly turn those leads into paying customers. To realize this “sales acceleration” phenomenon, there are several things sales and marketing teams need to do:

Organize the data – there’s nothing worse than bad, incomplete or mismanaged data. After all, bad data in a good system is still bad data. Without the right data, sales & marketing teams will never get the insights and intelligence that they need to grow the business. Employing a master data strategy so business decisions can be made accurately and in real-time is highly recommended. Mastering the data simply means the data is organized, structured and integrated across the enterprise so that decisions can be made holistically across the organization. A master data strategy also brings structure by supplementing first-party data with third-party data to create a solid foundation of customer and prospect data.

Analyze the data – by gathering, analyzing and acting on the insights from customers’ activities across all channels, marketing and sales teams can gain a much clearer picture of each customer, including their requirements, preferences, and behaviors when making a purchase. These insights enable sales and marketing teams to craft customized campaigns and strategies to develop more personalized and relevant pitches that can lead to higher levels of engagement, driving greater loyalty and customer lifetime value.

Operationalize the data – it’s important to supply the right data and insights into a salesperson’s daily routine (such as their CRM) so they have the latest information on the buyer anytime and anywhere, making their outreach more personalized, relevant and effective. That also enables triggers when things change at a customer that could indicate a high propensity to purchase at any moment. All of this should speed the path to a paying customer. 

Data will guide the B2B journey

Armed with all the right data, the proper analytics to make sense of it and the ability to operationalize that data, the sales or marketing professional is able to eliminate a lot of the guesswork and be empowered to make a quicker sale.

Data should allow a salesperson to build a rapport with a potential customer. By knowing the right person to call at the right time, B2B professionals are able to better target prospects and spend more time growing that valuable business relationship.

The B2B journey is long and winding, but the proper use of data and insights can shorten that path and allow sales and marketing teams to more closely align to close deals faster.

Source: Martechadvisor

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