We Asked 9 Experts About the Impact of Data on the Sales Organization

Their Answers May Surprise You

December 13, 2019

Introducing the LinkedIn Data Validation Kit

In this digital age of computers, smartphones, and the internet, salespeople and sales managers have reams of data at their fingertips. How important is this data to your sales organization?

We asked nine influencers about data and its impact on sales organizations. They believe data is growing in importance for salespeople and sales managers. But at the same time, they caution that this data must be accurate to be useful, in part because less than 25% of Sales Ops leaders are highly confident in the data in their CRM systems, according to CSO Insights.

Note: Take a deep dive into data and sales with LinkedIn's New "Data Validation Kit," which includes "The LinkedIn Pocket Guide to Sales Data," The Ultimate Sales Data Infographic, and an Overview of Data Validation Video. Download the Kit

Here is a cross-section of the influencers’ opinions on data and its increasingly center stage role in sales:

Accurate data is the lifeblood of an operationally excellent sales organization, from account and contact data for prospecting efforts, to accurate activity data, all the way to eventual customer usage data. Accurate data allows modern sales organizations to act with efficiency, speed, and precision in a way that can be a company-defining source of advantage.”  — Pete Kazanjy, Founder, Atrium HQ
I've seen deals lost due to poor information and bad insight. I never lost a deal from having too much data, however. — Lori Richardson, President, Women Sales Pros
Incorrect data has a significantly negative impact on the prospecting process as it wastes sellers time looking for mundane information that adds no value to the sales conversation (e.g. email, phone, job title, etc.). A salesperson's time is much better spent obtaining business insights that add value to a conversation with a target buyer and get them interested in learning more about the product or service. — Jeff Davis, Founder-CEO, JD2 Consulting Group 
In today's world of selling, data is critical for mining new leads, researching top opportunities, identifying key pain points, knowing best points-of-entry and understanding key decision-makers. Salespeople that don't leverage data are playing darts in a pitch-black room. The top salespeople are only getting better at leveraging data to close more sales, thus further getting away from the hordes of average salespeople.  — Marc Wayshak, Founder, Sales Insights Lab
No matter what CRM your organization uses there are issues with the incorrect, out-of-date and missing data. — Tracy Wik, Managing Director, GrowthPlay
Accurate data insight can quickly guide your focus to avoid wasted efforts in marketing to the wrong segment and spending time on the wrong prospects or clients. —Ian Moyse, EMEA Sales Director for Natterbox
We're going to see sales roles evolve from ‘worker bee’ positions that focus on rote activity to ones that involve salespeople leveraging their business acumen to process and analyze what is happening in their customers' businesses. That consultative role will demand both deep acumen and precise data. The salesperson of the future isn't going to spend their time on routine activities and reports.  It's going to be crucial that they can look at data and make predictions about where they can leverage their time most efficiently. — David J.P. Fisher, President, Rockstar Consulting.
I’ve joked a few times that in five years, we’ll all be data scientists. That’s hyperbole, but those who don’t begin to understand data analysis are going to fall behind and become irrelevant, and I think that’s as true, or more true in the sales profession, than any other. — Mike Kunkle, VP, SPARXiQ.
Bad data is a sales organization’s worst nightmare. When the customer data at the sales reps’ fingertips is incorrect, out of date or missing it negatively impacts a sales rep. Whether it’s inaccurate or incomplete demographic, contact or customer history data, the sales rep is completely disadvantaged and the customer experience is likely compromised. — Julie Thomas, President-CEO, ValueSelling Associates.

Bad CRM Data Can Lead to Poor Outcomes

The experts agree: There are potential, real life effects from outdated, inaccurate data. Like milk, data can go bad — and potentially sour a deal. Making sure data on customers and prospects is up-to-date in your CRM requires constant vigilance. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • LinkedIn data shows that 1 in 5 decision makers change roles every year.
  • Our data also shows that the average buying committee comprises 6.8 people, which means that at least one of those committee members is likely to change roles this year.
  • The average B2B company sees its prospect and customer data double every 12 to 18 months, according to SiriusDecisions.

Every sales organization struggles with bad CRM data. Sales leaders know that their CRM systems are rife with inaccurate information. We know that one in five decision makers change roles every year, so it’s hard to keep your CRM data up-to-date. And the problem of bad CRM data gets worse when it’s combined with suboptimal data quality behaviors, such as inconsistent upkeep and faulty initial data sources.

How LinkedIn Sales Navigator Can Help

Data Validation in LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a new set of capabilities that leverages the CRM Sync integration to validate information in a CRM system against the information that is on LinkedIn. The Data Validation feature compares the two datasets, highlighting any discrepancies between LinkedIn profiles and your CRM system, and leaving the power to take action in the hands of the sales professional.

Here’s how Data Validation works. One of the Data Validation features it the “Not At Company Flag,” which flags when a contact’s current account information does not match the company the profile is associated with in LinkedIn. 

This flag can help data quality organizations identify where to validate and correct information. It also can signal to reps and their managers that a deal may be at risk from turnover. Additionally, it’s a powerful capability that helps identify new business at accounts where you already have relationships.  When existing champions in your current customer base move to new companies, that’s a perfect time to prospect for new business.  

Not only will this help prioritize accounts to focus on, but it increases rep efficiency by eliminating any extra validation steps to confirm contacts. This way, they spend more time selling. Meanwhile, marketers can use this field to identify incorrect contacts, target recent job-changes, and improve the efficiency of their Account-Based Marketing Campaigns.

Best of all, our CRM Sync runs daily in the background, so you are automatically keeping your CRM up-to-date without any extra effort from you or your sales team.

To learn more about data's impact on the sales org, check out LinkedIn's new Data Validation Kit, which includes "The LinkedIn Pocket Guide to Sales Data," The Ultimate Sales Data Infographic, and an Overview of Data Validation Video. Download the Kit