The market disruptions during COVID-19 tipped the playbook for how SaaS companies go to market—including the role of data in marketing to potential customers.
The old model of an army of sales people, countless meetings and growth at all costs is gone. When it comes to B2B sales, the power now lies in the hands of the buyer, not the seller. Buyers expect the seller to have a deeper understanding of their needs and preferences, with a focus on helping them create impact and scale, rather than turning a quick buck.
In other words, B2B buyers expect B2C experiences.
They crave tools that are fast, elegant and inspiring, with interactions that are timely and relevant.
But there’s a silver lining here, and it all comes down to your customer data. About 68% of the data that companies collect goes unleveraged. This results in:
Your product should speak for itself and the user should be able to derive value from it. When one of your colleagues or reps interacts with the user, they should become a product multiplier, helping users unlock new capabilities and solve challenges facing their business.
However, when not consuming the right type of data, there is an increased likelihood that interactions with customers will not resonate. If their communication is off the mark, it will create a detrimental experience for all involved.
With the rise of product-led tooling, users can find solutions to their problems in seconds (the time it takes to run a Google search). By not acting on prompts or nudges, you are opening the door for your competitors to benefit from your inactivity.
Stagnating or losing your customer base
Data on customer usage can supercharge businesses’ efforts to retain and grow customers. You must understand product usage data so you can preempt issues, understand what is top of mind, and proactively support customers. This translates into improved customer satisfaction and enables account retention and expansion.
If neglecting customer data can harm your business, learning to harness its power gives you all the context you need to meet potential customers in the moments that count most.
Since 2020, data-driven sales has become absolutely essential to maximize revenue, with 56% of sales professionals using data to target accounts. Yet, building a sales team with the right skills remains an uphill battle for many companies, leaving many leaders unsure of where to place their focus and resources. All of this can make “data-driven sales” feel more like a buzzword than an actual practice.
So, how should businesses go about being more data-driven when it comes to sales? When developing Userled, we spoke to 50 sales leaders to dig into the right strategies for leveraging customer insights to help today’s businesses gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Here are the top five strategies.
5 Winning Data-Driven Sales Strategies
1. Embrace personalization with artificial intelligence and analytics.
Companies should focus on creating an agile sales process that takes advantage of new technology like predictive analytics or artificial intelligence (AI). These tools allow businesses to uncover customer behaviors and preferences so they can craft more personalized messaging and increase conversions.
Additionally, automated processes can be used to streamline tasks like lead scoring or follow-up outreach. All of this will free up your reps’ time blocks, giving them more opportunities to close deals.
For instance, when I was an Account Executive at Salesforce, I quickly learned that having information on my customers was the key to closing deals. I realized that the best way to gather that information was not through monitoring the opening rate of email campaigns or discussing with them at events and conferences, but through analyzing how they were using the product.
For instance, looking at the license utilization rate, I identified customers that were not maximizing value from the product and offered them training and enablement courses. This mitigated attrition and strengthened our relationships, creating upselling opportunities once the wider team was upskilled.
2. Unlock higher ROI using customer segmentation.
If you want to understand how customers interact with your products or services, leverage customer segmentation and analyze user data. Then you can create tailored campaigns for each target audience, which will deliver higher ROI and increase customer loyalty.
For example, the next-gen email startup, Superhuman, embodies this principle perfectly. Their obsession to find Product-Market Fit allowed them to clearly define three key target personas: founder, business development personnel, and managers. This level of segmentation allowed Superhuman to create more focused outbound campaigns targeted at people they already knew would extract significant value out of their solution. Salespeople became experts at understanding their target persona and could engage in relevant conversations that resonated with the prospect and close more deals. Ultimately, this approach enabled them to simultaneously lower the cost and increase the effectiveness of their campaign, dramatically boosting the ROI of their outbound efforts.
3. Test out a variety of channels.
To stay ahead of the competition, it’s essential for companies to explore new marketing channels like social media or influencer collaborations. These can be layered onto traditional GTM approaches like nurture campaigns over email. And why stop there? Sometimes you’ll find your audience on Reddit forums or via strategic partnerships. Get creative, and your ROI will thank you.
For us at Userled, what made the most sense was building our own community of PLG experts. Now, Slack is not only the channel with which we communicate internally, but also how we engage with our ecosystem of users, partners, and subject matter experts.
4. Solicit customer feedback more frequently.
Working to make your product or service the best it can be isn’t rocket science. Trust your users, and they’ll trust you back in return.
When it comes to customer data, be sure to collect feedback from customers on your platforms, so your company can make any necessary adjustments to your messaging strategy to ensure each communication is primed to resonate.
The “build it and they will come” approach in software has never really worked over a prolonged period of time. If a company does not have an active feedback loop driving its product roadmap, it will face challenges.
Take Amazon, for example. True to its famous principle of “customer obsession”, the now-tech giant leverages user feedback to transform its retail division from a book store to an “everything store”.
5. Track your performance metrics in real time.
The only way to know if a campaign or test is working is to track its performance on a daily, weekly, and monthly cadence.
The most effective sellers today are constantly monitoring their performance metrics to maintain a clear understanding of what strategies work the best for their business; this way they can continue optimizing them for improved results over time. Integrated systems are prerequisites to this: spending time looking at data flows between tools and customer touchpoints allows the mitigation of edge cases.
At Userled, we are striving to be a data-savvy organization. This means sharing with the team what our key KPIs are, and how we are tracking against them. We do this through automated dashboards, prompts and Slack for discussion and clarification. This drives a culture of transparency, accountability and flexibility of tasks to focus on what truly matters.
For businesses to outpace their competition and hit their revenue KPIs, data-driven sales are quickly becoming the wave of the future. With the right strategies and access to insights, companies can leverage data effectively to craft successful campaigns that will drive conversions and promote brand loyalty among customers.
Yann Sarfati is the Co-Founder/CEO of Userled, a no-code tool for B2B SaaS companies to create in-product experiences that drive revenue. He is Ex-Head of Sales at Incident.io, angel investor, and adventure sports enthusiast.