‘Moneyball’ for Marketing and Sales Professionals

To be competitive in the big leagues, today’s sales and marketing professionals need to become data scientists. Savvy salespeople and marketers can turn smart data analytics into great business strategies by taking a page from the ‘Moneyball’ playbook.

Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane bucked the traditional approach to building a winning team with an injection of well-analyzed data. Shaking up the status quo and setting a new standard in data-driven decision-making, Beane pioneered ideas now adopted across the MLB. Marketing and sales professionals have the opportunity to do the same.

In today’s competitive environment, getting insights from sales and marketing data can mean the difference between being on a winning team by exceeding quotas, maximizing ROI on expenditures, increasing lead generation numbers, and gaining business momentum—or losing out to the competition.

The good news is that there’s a variety of new tactics and tools—a playbook—that can help sales professionals and marketers stay on top of data management, tease out the most important information, and present it in a compelling way.

Here are four key steps that can turn sales and marketing data into competitive advantage:

  • Unify: Find systems that enable you to unify data from multiple sources.
  • Act immediately: Tap into timely data to make timely decisions.
  • Design to sell: Pick an interface that is interactive and engaging.
  • Go mobile: Business is mobile, so find tools that work on-the-go.

The democratization of information is flattening old hierarchies. New tools offer the ability to collect, analyze, and communicate information more quickly and easily than ever before. Data, used beyond the executive team and the boardroom, helps inform a sales and marketing workforce and drives knowledge gathering and better decision-making based on true metrics versus gut feeling. This investment will lead to successful organizational outcomes for the whole team.

Integrate data sources to level the playing field

Data volume is exploding and data sources are becoming more disparate. This deluge of information can be hard to manage when data is spread out across multiple systems. Sales data, for example, might be held in sources as varied as an Excel spreadsheet, a cloud CRM system like Salesforce, or an on-premise database.

These data repositories house a wide array of sales information—everything from individual sales performance rankings to lead generation and opportunity conversion metrics.

With the right tools to unify data from multiple sources and better measure key metrics, sales professionals can organize and analyze the different layers. Deep dives might reveal why one sales person outperforms coworkers by showing that they return calls faster, are a good time manager, prepare well for meetings, or close leads faster.

For marketing departments, capturing information from various sources such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Hadoop and transforming it into easy-to-understand visuals means being able to assess the ROI of integrated marketing efforts immediately instead of trying to decode reports from multiple systems.

Find your data fastball

`Moneyball’-style thinking means breaking the traditional mold of assessing data on a monthly, quarterly, or, in some cases, second-by-second basis.

The days of long lead times and slow decision-making are over. Now, unfettered access to extracting data means the opportunity to act on it instantly. That timeliness can give a competitive edge to sales and marketing professionals, so that the best, most informed decisions are made quickly.

Sales professionals can track product sales, sales performance, trends in sales timing, and trends in product demand moment-by-moment. Marketing teams can assess activity-based metrics and monitor new product adoptions in real time.

This immediate access to data is best effective if sales and marketing professionals make a habit of incorporating it into their daily schedules.

Design a data playbook that wins at home and on the road

Design is an often overlooked but essential element in transforming data into meaningful insights. Critical information can easily get lost or misunderstood in static, boring charts and reports.

The best tools will quickly input data into visually stimulating, highly readable, and understandable graphics, reports, and visuals. By making the data “designed to sell” marketers have a better chance of grabbing the attention of over-taxed professionals.

Pairing great design with effective data mobility platforms can help transform business strategies and chalk up more wins on the road and at home. The number of mobile workers across the globe is expected to reach 1.3 billion by 2015, with sales and marketing professionals accounting for much of this growth. Flexibility offered by mobility in the form of smartphones and tablets is essential for a growing mobile workforce.

Stay ahead of the curve

Uncovering and sharing business insights in a fast, efficient, and engaging way will give any company a competitive advantage. However, keeping that advantage means staying ahead of the curve.

The good news is that new mobile tools and technology can help sales and marketing professionals hit home runs by unlocking data and utilizing the information extracted in meaningful ways anytime, anywhere.

The data opportunity is immense—even overwhelming. But with the right approach and systems in place, savvy salespeople and marketers can add “data scientist” and “MVP” to their job descriptions.

Freddy Mangum is CMO of Roambi.

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