Smarter Selling ... A Necessity Today

Don Graham, General Manager, Porter Research and Billian's HealthDATA
April 20, 2010

Doing more with less continues to be a requirement in today's business environment. Almost everyone is using a CRM, and many are mining data from their customers and prospects. Many are using social networks to generate contacts and leads. The challenge most face is how to turn these activities into increased revenue while facing a market that is budget constrained and has limited resources for new projects. In spite of these challenges, some companies are doing much better than others in sales productivity measurements. What are they doing differently?

A recent research study showed that companies using third-party sources of information are doing better than those who completely rely on in-house data. Why is that? How does third-party data help? The main advantage that a third-party information provider offers is the use of its critical and otherwise too-expensive sales and marketing resources to address sales prospects that have a higher probability of buying a company's product, versus spending time and effort contacting prospects and customers that are less likely to buy.  

Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research work in the healthcare industry. Many of our clients selling products and services to hospitals. A simple example of how third-party information is being successfully utilized to aid sales for our customers is the use of Billian data and Porter services to better qualify potential sales opportunities. Our clients look at the attributes of their current customers to determine what prospects have similar characteristics such as size, financials, geography, IT status, profitability and contacts. Some employ Porter's win-loss analysis to help accentuate strengths and reduce weaknesses in the product or sales process. 

By doing this type of qualification and analysis, our clients focus their sales efforts on situations that are most likely generate value for their customers and prospects. Most companies that use these tactics report a significant increase in the sales "hit" rate. Today's technology allows this type of search and qualification process to be done quickly without the need for IT assistance. As a result, sales and marketing resources are more productive. At some point the economy will recover and hiring will resume.  But the lessons learned during the tough times will continue to be employed and the "smart-selling" companies will thrive even more.