In this post, you’ll learn how to use predictive analytics and big data to improve your team’s inside sales skills. Follow these sales best practices to improve your sales reps’ selling skills and turn regular salespeople into sales superstars.

In this article:

  1. The Significance of Understanding the Digital Buying Process
  2. Selling Is a Competitive Sport
  3. Combining Data with Predictive Analytics
  4. 7 Sales Best Practices
    1. Respond Immediately
    2. Be Persistent
    3. Establish a Local Presence
    4. Create a Cadence
    5. Motivate Your Staff
    6. Hire Smart with Data
    7. Analyze Your Sales Pipeline

Enhance Your Team’s Sales Skills Using Inside Sales Data

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The Significance of Understanding the Digital Buying Process

No one can stress enough the significance of having the right sales skills.

An analysis by the Corporate Executive Board revealed that B2B customers completed nearly 60% of their purchasing decisions before even having a conversation with a supplier.

This forced marketers and their organizations to change how they participate in the digital buying and sales process.

Unless these sales leaders understand what this digital buying process is, along with the buying patterns and behaviors of prospects, they run the risk of clients removing them from their list of considerations.

Selling Is a Competitive Sport

Businesswoman celebrating success| Data-Backed Sales Best Practices | sales skills

Celebrating success in competitive sales

Such was the claim in a 2016 TechCrunch article. I agree with them.

Like sports, sales is so competitive that professionals are constantly trying to push themselves to excel. In the case of sales, it’s to reach new customers and perform at peak levels.

Some aspects of sales, however, don’t.

Granted, today’s market is different from what it was three years ago.

Sales techniques back then may not be as effective now. Opportunities and salable products may also be different.

The goals of every organization tend to remain the same. They revolve around increasing sales and profit, lowering costs, and enhancing the efficiency of marketing.

They also want to build long-term relationships with their client. Sales success also rely mainly on the essential sales skills of the team.

To accomplish this, sales, much like sports, evolved beyond what happens in the office and on the phones.

The movie Moneyball shared the true story of how Billy Beane, the manager of Oakland A, a baseball team, used statistical analysis to find undervalued players.

His approach allowed the A’s team to win a record number of games on a budget much smaller than their competitors in the league.

At InsideSales.com, we do the same.

We help sales teams maximize their potential by helping sales athletes perform at higher levels. We do that by:

  • Monitoring activity
  • Measuring performance
  • Motivating achievement
  • Managing workstyle
  • Modifying behavior

Much like how Oakland used data to gain a competitive advantage, we believe information can offer the same benefits for sales.

Combining Data with Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics Definition: It’s a process of extracting and analyzing data to identify patterns or trends, which can help organizations figure out possible (and winnable) outcomes.

For the past years, sales conversations were about data, particularly big data.

It isn’t surprising. Scores of studies showed how powerful data can be in helping organizations reach and maintain long-term success.

Data alone, though, isn’t enough to help sales teams succeed.

Back in 2013, ScienceDaily reported that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years. The rate of data creation is rapidly accelerating as well.

While we aren’t short on data and information, we are missing something: the ability to make some sense out of them.

What will they mean for the organizations and their sales team?

This is where the power of predictive analytics shines.

After 10 years of collecting sales data and using predictive technology, InsideSales.com found consistent patterns. This helped us determine the best practices sales professionals can use to reach more people and see greater results.

RELATED: Using Advanced Analytics To Boost Revenue

7 Sales Best Practices

Using predictive analytics, we are able to identify these 7 best practices that can convert a prospect into a loyal customer. Organizations can then use them to improve their sales skills:

1. Respond Immediately

InsideSales.com’s work to determine the optimal time for responding to inbound leads made it to the Harvard Business Review.

When sales reps respond within 5 minutes of an inquiry instead of 30 minutes, they get an uplift of 21 times in qualifications.

As of now, the average response time for U.S. companies is about 38 hours. In the UK, it’s a little faster at 24 hours.

That’s still well short of where it needs to be.

2. Be Persistent

Be Persistent | Data-Backed Sales Best Practices | sales skills

Sales persistence graph

Just as it’s important to respond quickly, it’s also important to call often.

According to a recent InsideSales.com response study, the average sales rep at a U.S. company gives up on a lead after an average of 1.5 call attempts. In the UK, it’s slightly better at 2.39 attempts.

However, both of those numbers are well short of the ideal six to nine attempts.

The research shows that when a salesperson calls within the ideal range, they experience an initial lift of three times in contact rates.

3. Establish a Local Presence

When you receive a call from an unknown 1-800 or 0-800 number, do you hurry to answer it?

Probably not.

You figure you don’t know the person calling, and it’s probably another telemarketer.

To sell, it’s essential reps have communication skills and sales negotiation skills.

Additionally, sales teams also need to be where their customers are. They should be using local numbers to contact their customers.

Try using local numbers to contact customers. It can increase contact rates by up to 38% when you use a toll-free number and up to 25% from a long-distance number.

InsideSales.com customers who adopt this approach typically experience a 57% uplift in connections.

4. Create a Cadence

Cadence Definition: It refers to a specific sequence of steps, actions, or activities to generate and convert a lead.

Most companies have no cadence strategy.

They haven’t made any attempt to create a consistent outreach strategy to best follow up with and contact potential buyers.

Our customer data shows that companies that adopt a 10-day outreach strategy typically see a 26% increase in appointments set.

5. Motivate Your Staff

Motivate Your Staff | Data-Backed Sales Best Practices | sales skills

When an organization wants to increase the performance of its staff, the sales manager often turns to spiffs as an added incentive.

However, studies show that spiffs aren’t enough. In fact, if used too often, they start to become expected and lose their motivational power.

Instead, by incorporating real-time points and leaderboards, sales teams can achieve a 38% increase in sales activities.

6. Hire Smart with Data

Will you trust your hiring decisions to a coin toss? That’s pretty much what most organizations are doing.

Data shows that recruiters hire successful talent only 60% of the time.

Organizations should be using data to help predict which candidates are most likely to be top performers.

With data-driven decisions, InsideSales.com customers have experienced a lift of 2.5 times in hiring accuracy.

7. Analyze Your Sales Pipeline

How do you know which deals are coming down your pipeline? Are you going to hit your targets?

Research conducted by InsideSales.com revealed sales reps often delay committing to winnable deals. They tend to only commit to deals they feel confident about.

This strategy leaves a lot of winnable deals uncommitted, especially early in a quarter.

By applying data science to your sales pipeline, you can make your forecasts more accurate and actionable.

Teams that adopt this approach typically see a lift of three times in forecast accuracy.

To outperform the competition, sales teams should begin adopting each of these best practices in sales.

InsideSales.com customers who implement these and adapt them to their sales skills can reach more prospects, set more appointments, and close more deals.


Let this infographic be your guide. Download it now and use it as a reference later.

7 Data-Backed Sales Best Practices [INFOGRAPHIC]

Check out this video as well:

7 Data-Backed Sales Best Practices

Selling is a competitive sport! Get that competitive advantage with these 7 data-backed sales practices…https://blog.insidesales.com/best-practices/7-data-backed-sales-best-practices/?utm_source=fb

Posted by InsideSales.com on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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Up Next: How to Have Scientific Sales Conversations


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 2, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

7 Data-Backed Sales Best Practices https://blog.insidesales.com/best-practices/7-data-backed-sales-best-practices/

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