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Sales Initiative: How to leverage big data to outperform the competition

January 30, 2015-

By Sebastian Mamro

Sebastian Mamro, PROS General Manager for Europe, offers his thoughts on getting the most out of big data in the sales game.

Here are several big data opportunities you can use to improve your sales performance and effectiveness:

Make better sales and pricing decisions

You can unlock the potential of data you already possess in your ERP and CRM systems with pricing software solutions that automate the process of analyzing and segmenting your customers. These solutions identify customers with similar profiles and purchasing patterns, and help you determine the size and scope of markets, what to offer, and what prices and discounts will win more deals when negotiating individual contracts.

In one recent example, a large chemical manufacturer in Europe was able to take literally tons of data scattered throughout its SAP systems and turn it into actionable information, while eliminating unwieldy, manual spreadsheet practices. Using big data analytics and automated pricing tools, the company developed and implemented a comprehensive, coherent pricing solution within a matter of months and transformed its sales effectiveness at headquarters and in the field.

Empowered with big data solutions, your sales and marketing management can price your products to increase margins, grow market share and maximize the revenue from negotiated contracts and deals.  You can also identify overlooked opportunities and focus your limited sales resources on those key customers with the highest potential returns.

Collaborate to keep everything and everyone connected

Automated pricing and sales effectiveness solutions provide a common repository of company-wide sales knowledge. This includes all pricing contracts and opportunities within a customer account along with contract terms, promotions and applicable discounts. These tools allow sales managers and field sales reps to connect all the dots during the sales cycle, utilizing pricing guidance to properly price hundreds to thousands of products and submit quotes faster than ever before. Using mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones, field reps can price and quote accurately and quickly to outperform competitors, while preserving margins and minimizing discounting.

A large oil and gas company based in Europe, for example, has used automated pricing solutions to generate real-time customer quotes that dynamically incorporate market index fluctuations – a strategic advantage their competitors could not match. In another example, a hardware manufacturer was able to automate and condense its highly complex, multi-product quoting process from several days or even weeks to a single day turnaround. The enormous time savings helped to significantly increase revenue, allowing field sales reps to focus more on developing customer relationships and boosting their productivity.

Promote a big data mindset in your sales culture

While it’s essential you leverage big data to find the right price, you must also be able to successfully implement these prices in the field. To genuinely empower your salesforce with price and quote guidance, you should cultivate a big data culture that helps demonstrate its value in concrete ways. For example, a change management initiative by one European distributor not only assisted sales representatives in adopting new pricing technologies that increased margins and compensation, it also provided insights into where specific sales training investments could pay off in higher sales performance and revenues.

The opportunities to leverage big data to improve sales performance are just beginning to be fully understood and appreciated by companies in Europe. Those who act now to exploit the potential of big data will gain a more efficient, autonomous and effective sales team with the ability to close more business faster and outperform competitors, while actually enhancing customer perceived value.

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