I was once again reading the Harvard Business Review blog and I came across an article focused on integrating data into your product offering.
In this article, Thomas Redman explores the importance of a concept called “informationalization” – defined as “make existing products and services more valuable to your customers by building in more data and information”. As I continued to read Thomas’ post, I began to think about my client portfolio, both past and present, and some of the different data demands that have been needed for a successful engagement. As an Inside Sales Director and organization we have tried to both iterate our offering in the market but also tailor the data that we are capturing and delivering back to our clients in the form of weekly reports. I also began to think about viewing my inside sales team as my client and my responsibility to provide them “informationalized” support.
When the matter pertains to supporting an inside sales team, the demand for data is not only large but the state of the data is critical for the reps and their productivity. This is not just the amount of data (# of target accounts and # of contacts) that is needed but the accuracy of the data is something that is an even more important driver to achieve the success metrics we look to hit as a team.
Thomas points out that the need to “informationalize” is based on two items; the need to improve a product or offering, and in his words, “the need for all of us, in both our personal and professional lives, to have more relevant, timely, accurate, easy-to-read, detailed, and integrated data.” This second point is one that I can relate across all of the outsourced teleprospecting programs I’ve managed and I bet if you look at your organizations inside sales function, you will see what I am talking about.
To start, take a look at your reps, what do they need from a data standpoint to be successful – a list of target accounts and contacts they can sell to (relevant data), contacts that exist and are in the role they are targeting (timely and accurate data) and finally, more information (e.g. technology in place), employee, revenue figures, etc, that they have on the target organization (detailed data). With all of these things in place, you will see the level of success your reps achieve as well as the level of success your organization achieves increase exponentially.
Today I focused on the concept of “informationalization” from the inside sales team point of view, in my next post I will explore the importance of data from the reporting side of our business.
A question for you until then, do you think that you are providing your inside sales organization with the data they need to be successful? If so, what are some of those data points that you view as critical?