How To Discipline Your Sales Data

Have you tried meditation? Sitting still and thinking about nothing is tough for your mind. It wants to think of everything. All the things you did that day, all the things you didn’t do, all the things you should’ve done – your brain just loves thinking. The problem is all of that thinking fills your brain with data you don’t need. Fixating on an awkward sales call won’t make the next one better.

Your sales data is a lot like a distracted, anxious mind.

It wants to show you everything instead of the one or two clear insights that would really make a difference.

sales data graphs on computer

The result?

Decision fatigue. The curse of having too many choices and not enough clarity. This can cripple your business if left unchecked.

Why is it so Hard to Focus Our Data?

We’re addicted to information. And who can blame us? Sales is a numbers game. Your team intercepts leads, opportunities, calls, emails, and texts daily – the more data the better, right?

Not necessarily.

Too much data can hide actual, actionable, answers hiding in your analytics. Those are the insights that relieve the growing pains of a scaling business.

Today we’re going to dig deep and learn how to unearth those vital insights. You’ll learn how to train your data to be actionable, so that your metrics are less overwhelming and your goals are more attainable.

Disciplining Your Data

Your data is only as valuable as the ROI from using it. If you’ve been in business for any extended period of time, you’re probably bursting at the seams with customer data.

It might seem impossible to organize your data into actionable analytics, but it’s never too late to reign in your metrics. It can even be quick and easy – if you know what you’re aiming for.

Give Your Data a Goal

First, you need to define a goal. A crystal-clear goal with trackable results.

Don’t go too broad. “Double last year’s revenue” sounds like a big, beautiful goal – but it’s made out of several, smaller, goals that need to be completed first.

Those smaller, more focused goals are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Applying these criteria ensure your goal is achievable. Even better, if you don’t achieve it you’ll be able to see what went wrong.

You should start with a problem, phrased as a question.

How do we convert more site visitors into customers?

From this question you can distill several stages of your sales cycle. You need to recognize site visitors as being separate from customers, for example. By breaking down your problem into relevant business areas, you can create defined SMART goals and use the correct data to analyze them.

We’ve broken down the 3 major stages of a buyer, from lead to customer, so you can see how your powerful your data is when it’s focused on a SMART goal.

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Lead Data

A lead is anyone who hasn’t truly engaged with your product yet.

Maybe they’ve visited sections of your site, or entered their info into a form, or they might have even started a trial – but they haven’t engaged enough to be considered a true prospect.

Lead data includes:

  • User flow
  • Traffic source/channels
  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session

You should have a pretty clear view of your target customer by now. If not, take a day to define exactly who your ideal customer is. What do they need to know before buying from you?

Apply that same knowledge to your lead acquisition process. If users are visiting your home page and then bouncing on the pricing page, you’ve got a few things to think about.

Is your traffic source sending leads who aren’t a fit (or ready to buy) to your site?

Are your leads being educated on why they need your product?

Is your website confusing, muddled, or difficult to use?

Analyze your lead data and come up with a single solution to test your hypothesis. If the bounce rate on your homepage is high, that’s a great place to start.

SMART goal: Improve lead retention rate X% this month by optimizing homepage messaging for our ideal buyer.

Prospect Data

Prospects are a bit further down the funnel. They’ve taken the steps to qualify themselves as buyers. This is usually the stage where your sales team should get involved.

But first, how do you define a prospect? What action can a lead take that will dramatically increase their odds of buying?

Once leads have taken that action, analyze their behavior with prospect data.

  • Product engagement
  • On boarding open rate
  • Lead response rate
  • Demo meetings scheduled
  • Purchase rate

Are your prospects on the path to becoming customers? If you aren’t seeing steady growth, look for holes in your funnel by asking yourself:

  1. Is your on boarding process clear and useful for your user?
  2. Do your prospects have an accessible way to get their questions answered?
  3. Is your sales team scheduling enough meetings relative to prospect volume?

If you’re willing to look deep, and remain honest, you can usually find metrics to improve at this stage of your sales process. The hand-off from marketing to sales is one of the biggest culprits when investigating low conversion rate.

SMART goal: Improve lead to prospect conversion X% this month by segmenting on boarding sequence according to traffic source.

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Customer Data

Your customer data may be the most neglected, and plentiful, of all. It’s easy to forget about the users who are already paying you money while you chase the ones who haven’t yet.

This is a huge mistake. Existing customers are your best source of referrals, feedback, and renewals.

Examine your customer data to find opportunities for higher retention.

  • Churn rate
  • Customer/prospect ticket ratio
  • Support response time
  • Average deal size
  • Renewal rate

Your customers are often the first sign that something is wrong with your sales funnel. If your product or support is lagging, they’ll be the ones to let you know.

Is your sales team closing deals regularly?

Are your customers renewing regularly? Are your most loyal customers referring new customers?

Is your churn rate increasing? Is churn higher among specific segments of users?

Being proactive is the best way to retain customers. Use your customer data to forecast problems and solve them before they escalate.

Keeping Your Data Disciplined

Analyzing your data through the lens of hyper-specific goals forces you to focus on what’s actionable. From there you can make dashboards that measure the success (or failure) of your goals, without digging through your other numbers every time you need an insight.

Consider each dashboard its own campaign. It should give you some insight into the performance of a particular part of your business. Then you can test and iterate until you’ve got a home run.

Maintaining laser focus on the analytics that matter, without being distracted by the ones that don’t, helps you restore the power of your data – without letting it overwhelm you.


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