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Sports Has Embraced Big Data, Why Hasn't Sales?

5 min read

In preparation for CompCloud 2017, we’re featuring guest blog posts from experts in the field of compensation, sales performance, and finance. This post is brought to you by Michael Lock, CEO at Aviso. Lock is a life-long salesperson and passionate advocate for the use of AI in sales organizations. Aviso is a Pro sponsor of CompCloud 2017..  In case you haven’t noticed, the sports industry is being taken over by quants. Ever since Michael Lewis chronicled Billy Beane’s “Moneyball approach” to building the Oakland A’s, sports has gone data-mad. Theo Epstein took Billy’s principle and enhanced it to help break the curse of the Bambino in Boston, and to help the Cubs break through the longest championship drought in sports history. And, it’s not just baseball, every sport is using big data to their advantage. Even my son’s college baseball team uses a pricey machine to measure swing speed and ball velocity. Despite the typical alignment I usually see between sales teams and sports teams, unlike coaches, sales leaders have not yet widely adopted the predictive, data-driven technology capable of surfacing the powerful insights that lurk within the enormous amount of data in sales systems. Here are three reasons why sales leaders need to move away from running their business on gut feel, intuition, and the “art of the deal,” and move towards big data and predictive algorithms:

1. To Secure a “Data Advantage”

Sales is the ultimate competitive game in business. We’re constantly searching out every possible technique to gain competitive advantage. When Billy Beane embraced data, he did it out of necessity. He was the poorest team. He beat everyone, even while being massively outspent. If your sales team is not leveraging machine learning to make sense of the troves of data in your systems, then you will eventually be at massive disadvantage if you’re not uncovering insights about your business regularly.

2. Because You’re Sitting on a Treasure Trove of Data

In Salesforce alone, there are 48 field in the account table, 45 fields in the contact table, 19 fields in the product table, 26 fields in the opportunity table and 49 fields in the lead table. That’s 187 fields before you even add custom fields. Even if you are using only 50 percent of those, you’re tracking a huge amount of data points that analyze the data in a way the human brain cannot. Don’t just leave it there, turn data scientists loose on it.

3. Machines Discerning Patterns Leads to Smarter Decisions

Billy Beane used his algorithms to predict which baseball players were the “best value.” Similarly, what if you could use machine learning to predict the highest value deals? What if you could determine which deals would close within the quarter, and know exactly how much pipe you need to hit quota and whether you’re on track to make plan? Artificial Intelligence is the key to answering these questions, and many others. Interested in learning more about how Artificial Intelligence can accelerate sales growth at your company? Join us at our session at CompCloud, “Maximize Sales Performance with Incentive Compensation + AI-Powered Forecasting” on Wednesday, May 17th at 1:30 PM.