Sales, Marketing & Big Data

By Rob Swette, Managing Partner, Sales Growth Associates | Sandler Training

One of my favorite professors, Peter Drucker, considered the father of modern management, said “The goal of marketing is to make selling obsolete”. That is, the marketer should know their target customer so well that their product is positioned, priced, and placed so it eliminates the need for any “salesmanship”. That is a lofty goal and for the time being I think the professional salesperson is safe.

I do believe that as marketing departments evolve, management and integration of big data will be an ever increasing area of expertise and competition. The words of Drucker are true as companies that are managing this data, such as internet companies, are able to suggest, tailor ads, and in general market much better – in essence making it easier to find and fulfill at an acceptable price. The challenge I believe is in some of the more traditional manufactured products and services where there is enormous opportunity. That I believe is further down the road given the complexities of need, fit, delivery, and pricing.

So what can be done in the short term? Focus on getting the small data right. Most companies don’t use their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to their full extent. Typically salespeople see maintaining these as cumbersome and a distraction from their primary purpose – prospecting and selling products and services. This allows salespeople to hone their message as well as their offering and prospecting efforts. It can give them better feedback on what strategies might work to close a prospect, and insights into additional products or services a current account might require. Moreover, systems can provide tactical information regarding customer satisfaction allowing salespeople to be better prepared going into a sales call. To do this effectively requires timely, accurate data and analysis to spot relevant trends.

In short, when big data is integrated into the marketing function, Salespeople are more effective. As much as we want to perfect the marketing department, salespeople can sleep at night as the profession is not going away anytime soon.

Rob Swette is Managing Partner of Sales Growth Associates | Sandler Training in Carlsbad
(760) 579-7316 | sga.sandler.com

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