This year has not been an ordinary year. We have seen world events that changed the daily work for many people. These events have also pushed the digital transformation to a level that we haven’t experienced before. In the last months we have seen a digital transformation moving us 2 years forward in time. The more we digitize the more data we generate. This makes digital transformation a driver for being data-driven.
We know that most companies have worked with data analysis and Business intelligence for many years. It is very common that companies store and process large amounts of data. In most cases this data is the foundation of the business intelligence solution. But sometimes we miss out on some of the most essentials insights because we do not ask ourselves the right questions. The data we gather holds a lot of hidden gems. We need to spend more time exploring and challenging our data to help us get insights that can assist the performance of the organization.
The concept of being data driven is a way of being and can be incorporated in all the different areas of an organization. We see a strong interest in how this can be used for companies to be more efficient in their sales processes.
To merge a companies existing data with the sales processes is becoming a new concept, called Data-Driven Sales. What this means is simply that you are using your data to:
- Make smarter decisions, always
- Bring Smartness to your customers
- Predict instead of being surprised
How to get started
For your sales organization to get started you need to have customer data available. If you make an inventory of all your systems, what data would you have access to? To succeed in this you need to ask yourself the right questions. How can you use this data to better understand and offer your customers the best solutions depending on the state of the customer?
Either you start by exploring your data to create a business case or you can do it the other way around. Create the business case and start your data discovery.
Visualize data for insights
Once you have your data available and you have a business case, you need to visualize your data for insights. These visuals need to be available and accessible for all employees that can benefit from these insights. When creating these visuals take in consideration who will use them. Know your audience and ask yourself who you are designing these visuals for. Usually sales have shorter time to spend on consuming reports than other functions that may spend hours on analysing different dashboards. Your visuals should be easily understandable and focus on the things that gives actual value. I talk more about this in a recent webinar I held, feel free to have a look.
These visuals should also be accessible in its context. For example, if you are working with a customer in your CRM system you also want to have access to the customers reports directly. So, consider having a section with customer insights directly on the customer card. This gives a lot of value and might also increase the usage of your CRM system as a bonus.
AI and Machine learning
If we bring AI and Machine learning into the equation, we can create some incredible value for the sales organization. Listed below are some examples on what you can achieve with this technology
Prioritization – You can use ML/AR to help you prioritize. For instance you could identify which customer needs your attention at this moment by using your data to help you prioritize. By analyzing buying behavior and previous relations with the customer you can predict and prioritize what needs to be done right now to maximize your efficiency.
Suggestions – When you know your customers buying behavior you can predict and give suggestions on what to offer the customer. Let us say that Pelle walks into the gas station. We know for a fact that he washes his car approximately every third month. When he swipes his card, we can analyse his buying behaviour and offer him to buy a car wash. After all it has been 3,5 months since he last bought a car wash.
Route planning – So let us say that you are planning a customer visit to Malmö and book the appointment in your CRM system. The system can then give suggestions on how you could plan to visit other customers that are on the way to this customer and calculate the optimal route.
Forecast – Transactional data combined with CRM and other various internal and external sources can calculate accurate forecasts. There are currently more variables available than ever before and you can use these to generate more accurate forecasts. If you manage to generate a forecast precise enough, you can even send accurate order proposals to your customers. That alone opens doors to many great possibilities.
Define your path and pace
These are just some examples on how you can harness the power of being data-driven. How this is applicable to your organization will be an explorative data adventure. I think that many organizations have the prerequisites to achieve great things in this area. So, it is time to start the movement towards a data-driven approach! Define a roadmap and follow the steps and pace that fits your organization. Ensure results and business value along the way and do not forget to celebrate your successes!
Hampus Hellström is a Senior Business Consultant
and Dynamics 365 Platform Specialist at Stratiteq.