Customers come in all shapes and sizes. The type of company data you look at and the methods you use to make sense of it should depend on the nature of your business and your ideal customer profile.

When you're about to set up a framework for your data usage, you should first ask yourself about the resources you allocate to acquiring one single customer. Are your sales and marketing resources allocated to dozens, hundreds or thousands of customers or prospects? Depending on the answer, you'll need different types of company data and data analytics methods to improve your total sales.

3 Main Types of Customer Segments

For the sake of simplicity, we've divided companies' customer bases into three main segments. In the table below, we explain what characterizes each segment, and further down in the text we'll dig deeper into how companies working with each customer segment can benefit from insights from company data.

Partnerships

Sales Teams

Transactional Sales

One customer generates 1‑10 % or more of the total revenue One customer generates 0.1‑1 % of the total revenue One customer generates less than 0.1 % of the total revenue

- High human involvement, many touchpoints in one sales process

- Fewer opportunities, high closing rate

- Experts, not full‑time salespeople do the sales

- Lead time +12 months

- Organized sales teams with KPIs

- Defined and repeatable sales process

- A large pool of opportunities

- Human involvement crucial factor in the closing rate

- Sales teams: telecenters or automated marketing campaigns

- More or less any company can be a customer, low closing rate

- Human factor limited, data and analytics controlled

One customer generates over 1 % of total revenue

Given that you work only with a few customers, I assume you know a lot about the companies, such as how much revenue they generate, who is the contact person, what products and services they buy, etc. If this is the case, you probably don't need to do any sophisticated data analysis.

Lead times are long, and one data point alone does not make the deal, as it's more likely only to make up one element in a longer process. Your sales process is lengthy, maybe over a year, and likely involves a large number of stakeholders. Typically sales is made by experts who are specialists in the field the customer operates. If you're selling complex solutions tailored for lawyers, then your salespeople should have a substantial understanding of the law. If you're selling large deals to engineers, your salespeople should preferably be someone with an excellent uknowledge of their field or even have an engineering background. In this type of sales, the unique selling point is the persons’ or teams’ expertise, not a solution or a product itself.

Company data helps you better understand your prospects' and clients' organization, their current needs and pain points.

In this setup, the purpose of company data is to help you understand more about your prospects or your clients at the right time. The data aims to bring valuable insights to your conversations and help you ask the questions that move your case forward.

Here are a few examples of data points that you can help you carry out smarter conversations with a potential customer:

  • Annual report mentioning that the company focuses on strategic acquisitions
  • The main focus is digitalization
  • EBIT‑level is lower than the competition
  • New CEO is reflecting the organizational changes that are most likely coming ahead
  • Three years ago you offered a digitalization roadmap, but the old conservative Development director said no.

By using a sales intelligence tool that alerts you whenever a new significant event takes place in one of your target accounts, you'll be able to improve the timing of your sales. With a 360° view of each company, you can reach out to the right companies at the right time and with the right message.

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One customer generates an average of 0.1‑1 % of total revenue

If you either have or aim to have over 100 customers, your target audience is quite large, (potentially 20k+ opportunities). Therefore, you need to build a professional sales team that specializes in finding and closing new business opportunities. The best way to differentiate yourself from the competition isn't with your salespeople's specific expertise, but by offering a unique product or service model.

In this segment, sales and marketing departments have typically organized themselves into sales and marketing teams. These teams generate a high level of human‑initiated marketing contacts, such as emails, calls and live and web meetings. Data can be helpful in all of these activities.

Data is used to find new opportunities to contact a company in the unknown pool of prospects.

Data is used to find new opportunities to contact a company in the unknown pool of prospects. Data‑driven leadership is required for your company to utilize company data to a maximum. When your management team is at the top of the process, it gives them a lot of insight on the performance of individuals as well as the performance of individual prospects and opportunities. By thoroughly understanding company data and its benefits, sales leaders possess the information needed to help their sales teams improve their results.

Save resources in time‑consuming but manual marketing and sales activities such as sales prospecting and validating client potential.

One customer generates less than 0.1 % of revenue

If a customer generates less than 0.1 % of revenue, it means that your business model is most likely very transactional and a client doesn’t have very much negotiating power when signing up with your business. They either take it or leave it.

If each of your customers makes up only a fragment of your total revenue, the role of your sales teams is transactional. They can be large telecenters, or they are trained to pitch a simple and powerful message that converts.

If you're working with a large number of transactions, data analytics can provide you with valuable insights to improve your conversion rates and increase your revenue significantly without adding additional resources to your sales teams.

How can company data make your business stronger?

When the cost of one sales transaction is very low, there are a large number of transactions. It also means that the number of misses is high, and therefore, the conversion rate is bound to be lower in this model than the ones mentioned above.

One of the most potent aspects of this model, as it is transactional, is that a lot of clean data is available. As a result of this, data analytics becomes a very powerful way to improve your conversion rates. By erasing the human factor from the equation, there are no irrational factors that affect the formula.

Company data can make a significant dent in your business if you're working with a large number of transactions. Since everything is transactional, improving your conversion rate by five percentage points can mean 5 % higher margins, without any investments in other resources. The data helps you focus your sales and marketing resources on the right targets at the right time.

Obtain the best results by merging your internal, behavioral and external data into one. Then divide this dataset in two, and have one set act as a training dataset and the other as a testing dataset.

Type

Sales strategy

Data - Use case

Skills needed

Partnerships

Experts do the sales

Finding the right context and timing with single data point

Understanding of the meaning and causalities of single data points. (E.g M&A → need for IT systems)

Sales teams

Organized and well prepared sales strategy

Helping the sales team to focus on the right prospects at the right time and minimize manual work

Leadership: Ability to lead a sales team with high, data driven  activity

Transactional sales

Data & analytics controlled, high velocity

Using data analysis to restructure, segment and group companies in the right order

Analytics & data science

Topics: Company Data

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