This week, we hosted a webinar with our good friend, Nancy Nardin, Founder and CEO of Smart Selling Tools on a timely topic, The Unexpected Secret Ingredient for Winning in a Virtual Sales World. With virtual selling being the “new” way of doing business, registrations poured in as soon as we announced the webinar. The 150 attendees represented a cross-section of revenue roles from sales, marketing, and operations, and spanned from individual sales reps to CTOs.

Nancy kicked off the webinar by pointing out that virtual selling is not really new. After all, 75% of buyers prefer not to meet face-to-face, and the cost of an inside sales call averages just $50 compared to $308 for an outside sales call.

The big change of late is that virtual selling has become the only way to do business, replacing not only in-person sales calls, but in-person events. Everyone is looking for tips on how to maximize their effectiveness, while minimizing expenditures in this new reality.

Nancy’s advice? Get back to basics.

She shared her Hierarchy of Sales Needs, based on Maslow’s well-known Hierarchy of Human Needs, to talk about what is foundational – what you absolutely need in terms of technology to keep business going. She expanded from there through a series of “martial arts-style belt” colors that represent greater levels of SalesTech mastery.

In a participant poll, 70% of attendees assessed themselves at the white or blue belt levels, which mirrored results published in Nancy’s 2019 SalesTech Benchmark Survey Report.

Surprisingly, the unexpected, secret ingredient was not a technology silver bullet. The secret ingredient is relevant, reliable CRM data. As Nancy put it, you can have a CRM or other technology, but without reliable data about your prospects and customers, you don’t know who you should be targeting, why they need your solution, or how to connect with them.

Tracy jumped in with supporting industry research from CSO Insights that punctuated the need for better CRM data quality.

Source: 2019 World Class Sales Practices Study, CSO Insights

At the same time, she acknowledged that companies struggle with how to improve and manage their data quality. According to TOPO research, cleaning and appending existing data is by far the #1 data challenge for revenue teams. (Source: Top Challenges with Data, Data Market Guide, TOPO Research, 2019.) Our own 2019 Sales and Marketing Alignment Survey reflects the same, with more than 70% of revenue leaders saying data management is a high priority, while 65% are still manually cleaning data or doing nothing at all to keep it clean.

The speakers shared highly practical tips throughout, such as how to do a tech stack audit, how to calculate an “inefficiency equation,” and provided questions to ask your operations team about your data quality.

Questions for Sales and Marketing to Ask Your Operations Team

  • How often is firmographic and industry data updated?
  • Do inbound leads get validated and appended?
  • What’s the average age of contact/account records?
  • How often do we formally clean our CRM data?
  • How are intent signals captured?

Just as important as data quality is data availability, or data relevance. In other words, do you have the data you need? Tracy shared that our customers are coming to us asking for help knowing which businesses they should be targeting today. For many companies, your ideal customer profile is out the window, as some industries have had to shutter, while others are experiencing exceptional growth – think supply chain and certain kinds of medical supplies.

The point? In thinking about your data strategy, you need to think about having both the right data and reliable data.

At InsideView, we use our own tool, InsideView Apex, to evaluate our ideal customer profiles and assess our target markets.

And we use our CRM data management solution, InsideView Data Integrity, to clean, enrich, and monitor the health of our CRM data.

As the webinar wrapped up, Nancy offered attendees a copy of her 2019 SalesTech Benchmark Survey Report and encouraged everyone to visit her website to find weekly technology review videos to help in evaluating new technologies or to assess whether some tools in your stack could be consolidated. She also put in a plug for one of her favorite sales books, Shift, by Craig Elias, about trigger event selling that helps sellers decipher who’s “in market,” at any given time.

Tracy offered free data strategy consultations, as well as resources such as the ebooks 5 Steps to Improving Data Integrity and Do You Know Your Total Addressable Market.

For those of you who couldn’t attend, or as a refresher for those who did, you’ll find a recording of the webinar and related resources here. You’re also welcome to visit our Resource Library for customer stories and other helpful content.

We’re all in this together, and we hope these ideas and materials will help you not only weather the storm, but thrive in our changing world.