In a world where organizations of all sizes gather vast quantities of data every single day, there is a real need to get insights from these huge data sets that drive better business decisions. After all, what is the point of collecting data from disparate sources if your business doesn’t get some benefit from all that information?
However, traditional database software cannot process and analyze such voluminous, complex data sets. This is, in essence, the problem that big data analytics solves, by providing powerful systems that can process and get insights from large data sets.
Big data is not limited to organization-wide decision-making—the accumulated data can help specific departments, such as sales or marketing, to optimize their individual processes.
One particular employee who can get real benefits from Big Data analytics is the sales development representative. A sales development representative is someone who is responsible for outbound prospecting, which involves directly reaching out to target customers.
The traditional method of outbound prospecting is for a sales development representative to compile a list of target prospects, often via leads from marketing teams, and contact them to introduce a company’s products or services, nurturing them through the sales pipeline.
However, the sales development representative faces a problem—wasting time on people or companies who are unlikely to ever become customers. Consider the statistic that 90 percent of B2B decision makers don’t respond to cold calling—that is a lot of wasted time. Given a mere list of leads, the sales development representative has no way of understanding which leads to target, meaning a lot of guesswork, wasted time, and inefficient use of resources.
This is where Big Data and one of its key uses comes into play in the form of predictive analytics. Sales reps face the challenge of actually getting insights from Big Data. The sales development representative is not a data analyst or a scientist, so there is a need for tools and people to provide actionable insights from all this data. Useful tools for sales are those that can present insights in a simple to understand way, ideally visually. Sales reps could use tools that gather data from popular business solutions, such as Salesforce, or Google Analytics, and extracts actionable insights from all this data.
The main benefits of using Big Data analytics for sales purposes include:
- Efficient distribution of resources, with sales development representatives prioritizing leads that are more likely to close, based on the data.
- Better accuracy in determining the likelihood of a sale based on analysis of past interactions with the marketing department.
- Optimized strategies to take prospects through the entire sales cycle, based on predictions about what interests your prospects and how to keep them engaged throughout the sales cycle.
Big Data furthermore allows sales development representatives to take advantage of so-called macro data, such as the weather, stock prices, political events, and even sporting results, to more accurately determine the chances of prospects engaging with them.
Sales development representatives need to also understand that despite the usefulness of Big Data systems in optimizing their processes, security is also imperative. Access controls are vital for protecting sensitive data, particularly since Big Data systems are typically cloud-based.
While it’s true that sales development representatives aren’t directly responsible for an organization’s IT security, they should be familiar with the systems used for their Big Data analytics and trained in Big Data security best practices.
Big Data analytics is an exciting field that delivers the insights required to better understand buyer behavior. Sales development representatives in particular can use such analytics to their advantage, optimizing their outbound prospecting efforts and better nurturing leads through the sales pipeline, based on careful analysis of past events.
Big Data analytics doesn’t solve everything, though—it is part of the overall toolkit that every sales development representative needs.