W Edwards Deming made two profound statements “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion” and “In God we trust, all others must bring data.” If you believe this mantra, why is it that BODs, CEOs and Sales Leaders ignore the sales industry data or delay using the data that is readily available to drive improved and sustainable sales results?

Is the data source questionable? Was their methodology flawed? Were the number of responses insufficient to be statistically valid? Was the researched biased? Are they convinced their strategy is better than the data? Or are they stuck at the status quo until their business trends downward?

If you believe in unbiased sales specific scientific data, here are some reference points that should cause sales organizational leadership to pause and reflect. This should then foster a discussion on strategy, structure and implementation in B2B sales. A few questions that need to be asked are:

The Modern Buyer Data

Takeaways: The number of buyers providing input to a decision is increasing and they are better informed than ever before. This means the sales cycle is becoming longer and more complex. If you want a “seat at the table” you have to be more than a “voice in the crowd.” How an organization initially engages a buyer is important. Those that provide insight or mold the buyer’s thought process can ultimately shape the buyer’s solution. How you sell can be a critical differentiator.

Sales Performance Data

Takeaways: Sales professionals spend 63% of their time doing non-selling activities. This contributes to lower performance levels as measured by win rates and achieving forecast. A lack of process and lack of a formalized value proposition leaves sales professionals to try and figure out for themselves how to be successful. There is no formalized roadmap.

Sales Coaching Data                                                                                                                                                                                

The chart above from CSO Insights illustrates that a formal or even dynamic coaching process helped more salespeople to achieve their quota by 10% while improving their win rate. 

Takeaways: Organizations believe that sales coaching is important but most don’t dedicate the time or resources to make it happen. The result is lower revenue and profits for even the companies that are making their revenue goal.

Parting Thoughts

Every company has a dashboard of metrics that are measured at the organizational, departmental and individual levels. While beneficial, these metrics need context against world class performance and industry performance. There is an abundance of data available from reputable sources for sales representatives and sales managers to use. Organizational leaders would be wise to integrate data into their strategic planning process. Deming’s words are worth repeating. “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”