Most modern sales reps are closely monitoring the number of sales they close, and keeping an eye on their pipeline — but many of them are too busy actively selling to measure other KPIs that could be helping them make more sales.

According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, B2B leaders gain a 2-5% bump in sales when they implement a data-driven decision-making process. The future of sales will be built on using a data-driven approach — and the most successful salespeople are going to be the ones who drill down in the data to measure activities, not just opportunities or conversions.

Marketers already use data to generate demand and nurture leads, so in this article we’re going to be taking a note from their playbook to help you become more successful as a sales rep.

(But unlike with marketing, sales efforts are directly correlated to revenue — which is all leadership cares about, in the end! — so you can take your success to a whole new level when you measure and use the right activity metrics.)

Follow these steps to develop a data-driven approach to sales, drive better results from your efforts, and become a sales superstar.

1. Determine the Right Metrics to Monitor

Using data to improve sales starts with tracking the right metrics. To get started, keep an eye on the numbers that reflect your tasks and activities. These can include:

  • Number of calls made
  • Emails sent
  • Opportunities created
  • Social media connections requested
  • Number of meetings scheduled
  • Deal age
  • Presentations sent

Imagine all of these metrics as a measure of persistence. These are the activities you must do consistently to be successful.

We also recommend tracking your email engagement rate, and going beyond simply looking at open rates. Examine what content your prospects are clicking on and downloading, who is looking at which piece of content, and which assets are performing the best.

2. Set Data-Driven Goals

Once you have your tracking in place and you’ve got data to work with, set some achievable goals for yourself. Setting activity targets for common, high-value tasks like emails and phone calls is a great place to start.

For example, you can examine your past data and figure out how many phone calls you need to make per opportunity created (or per conversion).

To do this calculation, divide the number of phone calls you’ve made over the past month by the number of opportunities you’ve created. That figure will give you the number of phone calls you need to make to create one opportunity.

Then use that number to set a target for the number of activities you need to complete each month.

For instance, if you calculate that you need to make 15 phone calls to create each opportunity, and you want to create 10 opportunities every month, you’ll need to make at least 150 phone calls in every 30-day period.

Set your targets for the specific tasks your sales team focuses on (like calls, emails, social media outreach, etc.) then examine your data at least once a week to see if you’re meeting your goals. If you’re falling short, adjust your workflows and plan your daily activities accordingly.

3. Look for Opportunities in Your CRM

Take a close look at the data you have on your best customers to find out more about those deals and why they were successful. Analyze the data of the customers with the largest deal size (or the customers who have been with you the longest) and see if you can spot patterns in lead sourcing.

Were buyers who were initially contacted via cold email more likely to buy? Or is social media a better way to reach out to prospects? Did most of your best customers download a specific presentation you sent them from Showcase Workshop? Use the insights you glean from the data to shape your lead sourcing strategy.

4. Focus on the Right Tasks

Tracking your time can help you figure out how much time you’re spending actively selling, and whether or not you’re wasting time on menial tasks that could potentially be automated, like scheduling meetings, responding to certain emails, and updating your CRM database.

If you’re a team leader, use this data to guide conversations with other sales reps. If you see solutions to problems that are lowering your team’s productivity, talk with your sales manager about whether there are tech solutions that might help streamline your manual activities so you can focus on selling.

Key Takeaways for a Data-Driven Approach to Sales

It’s now easier than ever to access and analyze data that can help you increase your productivity, connect with more prospects, and make more sales.

Over time, implementing a data-driven sales strategy can help you set goals for the activities that lead to sales, learn more about your best and most loyal customers, and improve every aspect of your sales performance.

Get a free trial to find out how Showcase Workshop can supply the data you need to start making more sales.