Big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have been important building blocks in the digital transformation of businesses. These technologies have fundamentally changed how businesses operate. In sales and marketing, big data has the potential to streamline processes and how businesses can better engage with their customers and improve their relationships.
In this episode of Tech Sales Insights Live, Chris Lynch, the CEO and Chairman of AtScale talks about the developing trends in big data and how it’s changing how businesses conduct sales and marketing.
Chris also discusses how, as a venture capitalist, he views entrepreneurship, the relationship between sales and marketing, and the traits he considers necessary to succeed in sales.
His company, AtScale, helps companies gain a competitive advantage by creating a singular logical view of their own data. Their platform democratizes data and analytics which in turn empowers the people who need it the most: employees. These employees can then use the analytics to make better decisions and execute strategies to help create “time-to-value” advantages.
Companies have a lot of data. But these aren’t necessarily connected. As a result, these companies aren’t able to leverage all of the information at their disposal. It doesn’t help that today’s data and analytics landscape consists of data scientists siloed away from employees who could use the data they are analyzing.
This is why it’s important for businesses to democratize data and analytics so that employees are able to take actionable steps to create value. Instead of data scientists telling employees what needs to happen based on the analytics, employees, armed with data, are able to make their own decisions to create actionable insights.
For the companies that are able to leverage data, Chris sees that they will be able to thrive as industries continue to digitize. Over the course of the pandemic, such companies are those that have good digitization strategies and this has allowed them not only to survive the challenges brought about by this period but also thrive.
The importance of leveraging data cannot be understated. Companies must use data and analytics to look ahead and be more predictive. By leveraging data, they are able to anticipate key trends that will impact their business.
Chris also warns that if companies fail to innovate and leverage not just data, but also tools to allow their employees to have more freedom to make decisions, then they will have a hard time finding success.
Both companies and employees then have to embrace tools that help them make data-driven decisions. Especially for salespeople, using data and analytic tools can help them be precise with their strategies which will improve their efficiency.
At its core, sales is about building relationships. And for someone to be successful in this field, they must be able to build lasting relationships. For Chris, the traits needed for this are effort, persistence, character, and honesty.
To be a successful leader in this field, Chris says that a level of humility is needed. Leaders need followers, and a good leader will recruit people better than themselves. This leads to high performing teams.
But this isn’t enough. To really have a high functioning and successful team, leaders also should put their team first and empower their followers. Their team needs to know that their leader has faith in them to do what they do best and succeed.
On entrepreneurship, budding entrepreneurs must be interested in changing the world more than they are interested in making money. Chris characterizes this interest as “an unbridled enthusiasm”.
There are plenty of easier ways to make money, but the goal of entrepreneurship is always to create value that will change how businesses operate and how people will live. This should be the driving force behind entrepreneurs.
As a venture capitalist, Chris would rather invest in someone who will be unwavering towards that goal and be relentless in the pursuit of innovation.
Chris then goes on to talk about a pitfall many startups end up in: overinvesting in marketing upfront. To him, many startups hire a marketing person even before they have a product ready for the market.
For Chris, it’s more logical that once a company builds a product, that’s when they get ready for product marketing. When they’re ready to release it to the market, that’s when they should do external marketing.
Another trend that has been happening in many companies is that CROs are encroaching more towards the marketing functions as CMOs slide towards product management. Chris disagrees that this trend should continue.
Rather, each function should focus on what they’re good at. If not, this may hurt companies in the long run. But at the end of the day, there still needs to be a solid trust and working relationship between sales and marketing. Big data and analytics have roles that can help push this relationship forward.
Companies should also think about building a profile of the type of customers that would not only need their product but be the first ones to buy it. For Chris, the key here is for them to find people that have “that ambition… to make a change”. They will buy from startups rather from bigger companies because they want to gain a competitive advantage by using technology that startups are able to feature. Revenue operations should also rely on data to identify such customers.
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