18 April 2023 |

What Does it Mean to Be Data-Driven?

By Alex Alleyne

Being data-driven means leveraging data to make informed decisions, whether to validate an assumption or to challenge a perspective. Both of these approaches are valuable in their own right to encourage balance before finalizing a decision. Being data-driven means always having a bias towards decisions that are informed, reinforced, or challenged with data, while reducing reliance on gut feeling and emotion.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

The reality is that data in itself isn’t necessarily useful or practical. Informed, educated and well-orchestrated data has the potential to be valuable. But, data can only reach that potential when the people who are entering, controlling or facilitating it, take data integrity seriously. 

That means it’s vitally important to build a team culture that is centered around the importance of being data-driven, not only as a leadership team, but as a holistic team. When you have a team that fully understands and values data integrity, you can put more trust in the data you’re getting, which enables you to make more effective decisions. Remember, your data outputs are only as good as what they have been fed.

So how can you leverage data to become a more effective sales leader?

From Gut Instinct to Data-Driven

It’s one thing to understand what it takes to be a data-driven leader. It’s another thing to implement that approach and make it a part of your daily operating rhythm; to put yourself in a position where you’re truly data-driven, not only in the way you think, but how you operate.

In practical terms, this means leading any and all meetings with a data-driven mindset. If you think about your forecasting meetings, you want these to be led and managed through data versus being emotive, or leading them through gut feel, which directly contradicts your ability to be a data-driven leader.

Your 1:1’s or development plans with your team are crucial opportunities to model data-driven decision making. 

For example, if you’re working through a development plan with one of your sellers, is there an opportunity to look through their progression on a sales enablement programme? Can you leverage their results to impact their development plan in line with where data indicates a deficiency? Are you able to look into your CRM system and see specifically where their deals are falling down? Is it at Discovery stage or at Demo stage? Can you leverage that data to impact your talk track with them during a 1:1?

It’s really about every micro and macro conversation and interaction you have with your team as a sales leader, but also with the rest of the business. It’s about “walking the walk,” and leading conversations with a data influenced mindset to ensure that it’s an innate part of your operating rhythm.

As we move into next week, we’ll unpack how the rise of artificial intelligence is playing into this broader data conversation. We will explore whether there will or won’t be a place for AI in the rise of sales teams as we continue to move forward into a new era.