Culling the good information from the bad

For a long time, sales managers and leaders were forced to make mission-critical decisions based on only a few data points and their gut feelings. However, as technology has improved over the years, companies have been better able to track their sales teams' performances. In turn, this has also given them more data and metrics, which can help to influence business decisions.

But where is the tipping point? When computer programs record every single action and every piece of information, there frequently comes a point when businesses simply have too much data. Managers that have access to an overwhelming amount of information often suffer from something called "analysis paralysis," which is when they have so much data they become overwhelmed and are unable to make use of this information in a valuable way.

"Despite the plethora of content available to professional sellers, they simply do not have the right information to identify the right people, companies and business pains to associate with closing deals around their respective product or service line," a recent whitepaper from Aberdeen notes.

Technology plays a pivotal role in utilizing information
Sales teams need to learn how to cull the relevant and useful data from unimportant samples. Best-in-class businesses do this by using sales performance management (SPM) and incentive compensation management (ICM) solutions to segment data into relevant chunks that can then be used to improve various sales team functions.

Organizations should maximize this technology by "capturing, storing and cleaning your sales intelligence with a strategic, long-term vision based on knowing every possible data point about [their] entire market," asserts the Aberdeen report.

This may seem like an unachievable goal, but 86 percent of best-in-class sales teams have already made significant progress to support this objective by storing account, contact and sales information centrally. On the flipside, average performers in the sales fields fail to take full advantage of solutions that could help their companies achieve long-term success. In short, the companies that sort their data succeed, and those that don't fail.

Information can be both a boon and a curse. It's up to your company to make the most of it by utilizing the right sales tools and solutions to help your company separate good data from bad information.