Crafting a winning sales plan requires access to quality data. And today, B2B sales operations leaders are unlocking new levels of intelligence and insight to aid their own strategies. It’s a revolution that has a profound impact on sales operations professionals, who can more accurately and confidently develop their sales plan, and on sellers, who can focus on the right accounts from the start. That is, the accounts with the most opportunity.
At LinkedIn, we’re excited to play our own part in the data-driven sales movement with this week’s official release of LinkedIn Sales Insights, a platform for Sales Operations teams that enables smarter sales planning. Helping teams tap into the full extent of real-time data and relationship intelligence available through LinkedIn, this product is definitely one to have on your radar.
LinkedIn Sales Insights gives you clear visibility into the size and fast-growing nature of specific departments, functions, and accounts, so that you can accurately plan your sales strategy in order to point your sales teams to the right accounts and drive more revenue.
Imagine logging into LinkedIn Sales Insights and building books of business based upon real-time, accurate data — data that reflects the new normal of remote work, changing roles, and evolving interests — and coupling that data about key accounts with intelligence about who in your sales team has existing connections within those accounts. When assigning books of business based upon this dynamic, real-time data and adding a lens of relationship strength and connectivity to your go-to-market strategy, your sellers can get off to a faster start, knowing that the accounts in their books represent the highest potential opportunities to drive revenue.
But don’t just take our word on the value of great data – we chatted with a few of our LinkedIn Sales Insights customers, as well as internal sales ops leaders, to get their views on why sales insights are so valuable today and how they can change the game for B2B sales planning.
Why Are Good B2B Sales Data and Insights So Valuable? Experts Weigh In
Accuracy and Consistency Matter
Not only does inaccurate data lead to frustration and wasted time, it can also hurt an organization’s reputation. For example, if sales operations teams guide their sales reps to engage with accounts at inappropriate times, it’s likely that this outreach won’t result in a strong buyer-seller relationship. Instead, sales reps are expected to have an implicit understanding of the businesses they’re engaging with, which means that sales ops teams need to have this understanding, too.
“The marketing and sales teams at Alyce have always been committed to delivering experiences for our target audience that are both relevant and relatable,” says Nina Butler, Director of Demand Generation at Alyce. “But in order to really deliver on that relevancy, you need to invest in accurate data that helps you understand the true opportunity size of your target accounts beyond just company size and location.”
Dependable data is vital for prospect interactions, and even more so for effective sales planning and mapping. Better data means better territories for reps, with high value accounts matched to the right reps, every time.
“One of my main focuses in sales ops is to ensure that we provide our reps with accurate information in Salesforce,” explains Byron Scott, Sales Operations Analyst for Sigma Computing. “We want Salesforce to be the system of truth, and gaining our reps’ trust is essential for that. We also need clean and accurate data for lead routing, account scoring and territory modeling. Without this, our team is selling to the wrong accounts with the wrong information.”
He adds that integrating LinkedIn Sales Insights with Salesforce gives Sigma Computing the singular source of truth they needed.
“I can’t even express how excited I am. I’m not going to have any more conflicts of reps saying the data in Salesforce doesn’t match LinkedIn. It’s going to be the same.”
Planning Through Uncertainty
Last year was very difficult from a planning standpoint, in that we were struck by a sudden and globally disruptive event. Organizations were forced to adapt and react on the fly. Here in 2021, we are at least gaining some semblance of stability, but the business world’s future remains fraught with variables and uncertainties.
Quality insights provide some much-needed clarity in the otherwise nuanced sales planning process.
“Things are changing every day,” says Harish Mohan, SVP of Revenue Excellence and Operations
for Outreach. “There are socio-economic things that are driving the markets. There are socio-economic things that are driving buyer behavior. The window of visibility is reducing overnight. And our ability to look at predictive data signals and make sure that we’re planning the right way, we’re pivoting the right way, is critical.”
Sales insights were always valuable, but never more so than now. That’s why we’ve been eager to get this new product into the hands of sales operations so that they can plan with more confidence.
“When we don’t have high-quality data, it creates cycles for us as a sales ops team and for our sales managers,” says Patty Sheikh, LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Global Sales Operations for Learning Solutions. “It makes it hard to set good targets, and for us to forecast our business. I’m excited for LinkedIn Sales Insights because it’s a way for us to provide an additional solution to our customers to help them succeed.”
“In addition,” she adds, “it’s an opportunity for us to help our sales ops professionals be able to shine in terms of how they help their organizations grow.”
Growing and Scaling: Uncovering New Opportunities
Perhaps the greatest benefit of letting trusted sales insights guide your operations is that doing so tends to illuminate previously unseen opportunities and details.
“With quality data and insights, a sales organization can better understand the addressable market,” says Akira Mamizuka, Senior Director of Global Sales Operations for SaaS at LinkedIn. “What are the priority segments? What are the strategies you should use to penetrate those segments? How should you think about resource allocation? Those are all critical questions that any sales organization needs to answer in order to be successful.”
Our goal with LinkedIn Sales Insights is to help you answer questions like these.
“We’re looking to enter new markets. And having the relevant information and understanding the potential account value or target market value is critical for us to make these bets,” Mohan says. “Because we’re not going to have the opportunity to place a lot of bets and we want to know where it makes sense for us to grow as we plan our outreach for next year.”
Early adopters of the new product are seeing clear advantages from grounding their efforts in the wealth of accurate data that it infuses into the sales planning process.
“LinkedIn Sales Insights has been a total secret weapon for us as of late,” according to the team at Alyce. “It’s now informing things like how we think about our territory structures, our segmentation, our marketing plans, white space that we might not realize, and also helps us size up wallet share.”
Elevate Sales Operations Planning with the Best B2B Sales Insights
Clay Blanchard, previous Global Sales Strategy and Operations for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, says he can’t wait to get LinkedIn Sales Insights into the hands of a much larger user base. Why?
“Because we’ve been using this incredible data for years here at LinkedIn, so we have a deep appreciation of how big an impact it can make to a business,” he says. “Now we have an opportunity to share this beyond the walls of LinkedIn, dramatically boosting our customers’ businesses and transforming the planning experience for sales ops professionals around the globe at companies big and small.”
“Put simply, how the world thinks about sales territory planning is about to change.”