Only half of sales executives are aware of big data, and just 16.5% of those say that their company has a big data strategy that impacts sales, per results from a Lattice Engines survey [download page] released in August 2012, conducted by CSO Insights. Despite this low take-up, among the half of respondents aware of big data, the vast majority (87.1%) believe that an effective big data strategy could result in at least a minor increase in sales effectiveness, including 22% who believe it could noticeably increase their sales effectiveness. Big data ought to have an increasing impact on sales effectiveness, particularly as sales executives become increasingly responsible for the company’s big data strategy. Among survey respondents who knew about big data, 84% said that the sales team was either an active participant (67%) or in the leading role (17%) in terms of corporate responsibility for the strategy. Senior corporate executives (56%), marketing (47%), and the CIO (43%), though, were most often cited for having a leading role.
Big data is indeed becoming a corporate priority for C-suite executives, according to May 2012 survey results from McKinsey. Roughly half say that big data and analytics is one of their top 10 priorities, including one-quarter who indicate it to be a top 3 priority, and 9% who say it is their top priority.
Real-Time Insights Gives Sales an Advantage
Data from Lattice Engine’s “2012 Impact of Big Data on Sales Performance” indicates that 57.3% of the survey respondents believe that world class data access and real-time insights would give them an advantage in winning deals, with an additional 25.7% saying these insights would sometimes give an edge, and 15.6% claiming they lead to wins.
Among the benefits identified to having all external, internal and social information available in a single system highlighting the prospect information most important to winning the sale, prospecting effectiveness (91.2%), the percentage of sales representatives’ time devoted to selling (89.9%), and lead to first meeting conversion rates (81.2%) were the most commonly-cited potential impacts.
Even so, only 35% of the respondents have access to technology that can combine internal and external information for sales representatives.
Insights Increase Win %
The survey results appear to confirm respondents’ beliefs that data access and insights can increase their effectiveness. Respondents with technology in place that enables sales reps to easily access internal and external information on prospects and gain insight from it reported a 56.3% win rate, compared to 48.8% for those without the technology. Similarly, respondents with such technology see a higher proportion of representatives making quota than those without (65.7% vs. 62.9%).
- The most common ways in which sales representatives currently find critical information on prospects is through internet business membership groups (72.5%), CRM systems (65.6%), search engines (60.6%), and press releases (45%). 37.6% use social networking sites, and 35.8% use business information providers.
- 44.3% of respondents said their CRM system needs improvement in helping provide them with all of their internal company information, while 76.4% said it needs improvement in helping provide them with external company information.
- The most commonly-cited mission critical or very important information types are contact information (71.6%) and business change (69.3%). 65.4% believe they need improvement in their access to business change information.
- Slightly more than 4 in 5 respondents said they feel somewhat (57.4%) or very (24.3%) challenged by the amount of data available and the time it takes to research a prospect before making a call. Almost 9 in 10 feel that their company has missed opportunities due to representatives not being able to leverage all the information available to them.
About the Data: The Lattice Engines report was conducted by CSO Insights in June 2012 and is based on answers from 218 CEOs, CSOs, sales executives, and managers.