I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard salespeople say that stepping back from a souring deal can be both the best and hardest thing to do.
It’s a difficult skill most of us have had to master. The occasional sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach can be hard to ignore, and so you shouldn’t!
But as businesses come to rely more heavily on data driven insight, it can feel like the ‘sixth sense’ that once separated the best salespeople from the pack is overlooked. Are soft-skills like good intuition out of fashion in the modern sales environment?
Great salespeople will always set themselves apart by following their ‘gut’ – those solid natural instincts that serve as the sales divining rod when nurturing client relationships. Data and analytics tools, powerful as they are, don’t script your conversations or build a personal rapport. They do, however, backup your sales approach. Smart business leaders already know this and will continue to invest in both people and technology.
Data is a complementary part of the sales toolkit. In today’s connected business environments data enables everyone in the organisation who needs it to view transparent and accurate sales information, from targets to deal maturity. It’s persuasive when trying to win over clients and colleagues, and informs the (hopefully already charismatic) pitch.
Opportunities to use data are multiplying
Today, access to business data on the go arms salespeople with instant answers to tricky questions, real-time market fact checking and proof points to share with clients anywhere, all the time. Analytics tools reduce the margin for error in every respect.
Access to information helps identify better prospects in the first instance. Sophisticated analytics go further, bringing together customer, sales and workforce data (CRM, SPM, HCM) all through one interface and device - informing the sales/decision-making process for you and your customers.
Global markets and regulations change so rapidly that an error in judgment can quickly turn into a costly mistake. Putting business intelligence into action informs decisions present and future and at every level of a sales organisation. The ability to forecast trends, for example, is part of the beauty of data. It’s really valuable to salespeople who no longer need to rely on guesswork.
Welcome to the future of powerful decision making
What you really want is to be in a position to interrogate your instincts using comprehensive CRM data such as the purchasing history and spending power of the prospect, competitor analysis and price comparison. Then your chances of taking a deal forward at the right time are much greater. When smart, experienced salespeople with good intuition are armed with sound information and tools, there’s no excuse for poor execution.
So listen to your gut. Great instincts will always have a place in the sales process. Couple them with useable data for the power to drive real, performance-boosting change. This is the alchemy of sales.
About the author: Candice Arnold is EMEA sales and marketing director at OpenSymmetry. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org