Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Study: Analytics Allow Sales Pros to Better Target, Customize Pitches

May 21, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

While the human processes of sales may not have changed very much over the last few millennia, the underlying technologies that support sales have changed very much, usually for the better. (“Usually,” because there are some exceptions, such as the first generation of customer relationship management or CRM software.) Imagine what ancient Roman traders could have done with analytics, or early North American settlers with unified communications. (“Have arrived on Plymouth Rock. Plz send jewels and mirrors to trade for food and blankets.)

Some of the most significant technologies to positively affect sales include pervasive computing, or anytime, anywhere access to information and resources across multiple channels and mobile devices. Older salespeople will remember toting a heavy laptop with a PowerPoint presentation loaded onto it, and no ability to easily update the presentation with new information while on the road. Thanks to mobile technology and the cloud, a salesperson can offer any graphic, video or presentation that’s available in-house to the prospect at any time.

Combined with analytics, pervasive computing can not only provide the salesperson with access to any sales enablement materials, but can actually help that salesperson choose how to target each prospect individually, according to a recent article by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer writing for the Harvard Business Review. The authors ask us to imagine a telecom company that has developed a filtering model similar to those used by companies such as Netflix and Amazon.

“The model used advanced analytics to make specific recommendations about which products and services to offer to each customer based on analysis of past purchases within that account, as well as purchases in other accounts with a similar profile (i.e. ‘data doubles’),” wrote the HRB authors. “The model also forecasted the size of the opportunity and the likelihood of purchase at each account. This information improved marketing campaign targeting, as well as sales force targeting. Through a mobile app, salespeople could get the information when and where they needed it. Cloud computing and a software defined infrastructure enabled the system to seamlessly keep up with an ever-changing sales force and customer needs.”

What this means is that the days of a one-size-fits-all sales pitch are (or should be) long over. Data and analytical insights can be customized for specific prospects across a variety of industries. The extreme customization, wrote the HRB authors, aligns perfectly with how salespeople should be thinking and working today. It also means that prospects -- who are increasingly resistant to face-to-face sales meetings and instead choose to receive marketing pitches via digital methods -- will be more receptive to sales overtures since they can take place at the customer’s convenience (and not that of the sales organization). The added bonus of being able to use analytics to precisely target the customer’s interests is icing on the (sales) cake.