Yuri Dekiba, research director and sales operations expert at CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group, joins host Greg Moore this week to discuss all things data strategy and sales technology. In their conversation, Dekiba and Moore geek out together over their shared love of sales ops, Dekiba offers her best advice on how executive sales leadership can own sales data strategy. She then gives a case study to show how taking a step back—going slow to go fast—results in sales operations, sales enablement and sales management working together to create a data strategy that accelerates seller performance.
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Dekiba joined CSO Insights earlier in 2019 after using the group’s research throughout her career, excited to discover and share best practices that guided her through her career as a seller and a sales operations practitioner.
She explains that when most people think about data strategy, they think about data management and data cleansing. What sellers—and particularly executive sales leadership—need to do instead is approach it as a strategy to leverage data as an organizational asset. In the 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study, creating a sales data strategy emerged as one of the top 12 sales practices—something that only 9% of all sales organizations excel at doing.
Defining a Clear Sales Data Strategy
Dekiba recently authored “Defining a Clear Data Strategy,” a whitepaper that’s available publicly at CSO Insights website. In the podcast, she discusses principles she uncovered through her research that can help sales leadership understand how to get started and truly own an effective data strategy. “It can sound complex and overwhelming,” she notes, but the key is to start slow and really think about the process.
Listen as she guides Moore through a case study from the paper that showed how investing in data strategy helped one firm improve its performance. The executive sales leader took a major business challenge—how much time sellers spent on certain activities—and used seller activity data to improve performance, particularly prospect prioritization and quota attainment.
The Exploding Sales Technology Landscape
Dekiba also discusses the rapidly growing sales technology landscape. She discusses the huge opportunity it presents to the industry while also cautioning against overinvestment. She recommends that sales leaders keep a few stats in mind as they think about how their sales technology stack can help them:
- The 2018 Sales Operations Study found that most sales organizations use 10 sales tech tools, with plans to add four more in the coming year
- Yet less than 25% of sales organizations felt their sales technology stack effectively addressed their challenges
Because of that disconnect, Dekiba advises sales leaders to be deliberate when selecting new tools, thinking about how they support sales processes and the various parts of the sales team.
To do that effectively, Dekiba recommends sales operations, sales enablement and sales management work together to implement new technology tools to make the biggest impact on the sales organization. Listen to the podcast to hear her best practices for making sure those distinct functions can best work together.
What’s Yuri Dekiba’s Move?
In every episode, we ask our guests for their best actionable advice in a segment we call What’s Your Move? For Dekiba, her move is to be deliberate and keep process and business challenges top of mind:
“Go slow to go fast. What I mean by that is getting the foundation right across data and process is key if you want to continue to accelerate sales performance. Sales leaders need a vested interest in what it’s going to take.”
Outline of Episode
[1:50] What attracted Yuri Dekiba to CSO Insights and what she does as research director
[3:09] What Dekiba learned from writing the white paper, “Defining A Clear Sales Data Strategy”
[6:49] How does a sales data strategy correlate with improved sales performance?
[11:05] What are the positive and negative effects of a rapidly growing sales technology landscape on sales organizations?
[17:00] Major trends with sales technology stacks
[18:35] Why you need to keep process in mind when thinking about sales technology
[21:35] Where the frontline manager plays into the implementation of a sales data strategy
[24:06] The roles of sales enablement, sales operations and sales management in strategy development
[29:45] Dekiba’s actionable advice for sales leaders to correctly implement a sales data strategy