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We Claim To Be Data Driven, Yet We Ignore The Data

by David Brock on October 27th, 2017

Recently, I heard someone say, “We claim to be data driven, yet we ignore the data.”  Nothing could be more true of much of what I see in the practice of sales and marketing.

We are surrounded by data about what drives sales and marketing effectiveness.  Hundreds of market research reports, done by thoughtful researchers provide stunningly depressing news about sales and marketing performance.  Performance data from within our own organizations highlights challenges.

Despite, all this data, too many organizations seem committed to doing the things that don’t work.  Yet doing them at an ever increasing cadence and intensity.

I believe these behaviors are what Einstein referred to as the definition of insanity. (Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.)

Reflect on some of the things that you or your organization does:

  1. We know we are supposed to be customer focused, that customers respond when we engage them, focused on their goals, strategies, and their success.  We know customers can’t stand being “pitched” products.  Survey after survey confirms these, yet the majority of our marketing and prospecting focus on what we sell and the capabilities of our own organizations.
  2. We know our marketing results are better when we segment, target, research, and focus our messages on things specific and relevant to the recipients, yet we continue to focus on quantity/volume of unfocused messages addressed to “occupant or current resident.”
  3. We know customers prefer personalization and things that are relevant to them.  We spend millions on marketing, sales automation, and content tools that enable us to do these things.  Yet we still send the same irrelevant, unresearched, non personalized messages to everyone–focused constantly on upping the volume rather than improving the quality.
  4. We know we have to define our ideal customer profiles, focusing on those customers, yet as we fail to achieve our numbers, we cast wider and wider nets.
  5. We know that coaching drives sales performance improvements consistently, yet the majority of managers spend less than 1 hour a week in all coaching activities.
  6. We know we have to hire people that are nimble, agile, curious, with great problem solving/critical thinking capabilities.  Yet we don’t hereto that profile and we “dumb down” those that have the capability by forcing them to heavily scripted pitches.
  7. We know sales performance (% of people making quota, % of organizations making quota) is plummeting, yet we continue to do the same things at ever increasing rates.
  8. We spend millions in tools to provide us data on improving performance, yet we measure the wrong things or ignore the data we capture.

This list is endless, I’ll stop here.  But the behavior is astounding and ironic.

We continue to look for data, to talk about analytics, to speculate on AI and how all of these things better enable us to achieve our goals–yet the reality is that in our execution we ignore that data, continuing to do what hasn’t worked at ever increasing volumes.

Alternative, we choose the wrong data points to analyze.  We enforce arbitrary and meaningless activity goals without connecting the dots to whether they produce the intended outcomes.

Data is hugely powerful.  We can’t drive performance in the organization unless we have the right data, are measuring the right things, and leveraging that data to improve performance.

Are you paying attention to the data, or are you just doing the same old stuff in ever increasing volumes?

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2 Comments
  1. What you have brilliantly described is the sales and marketing status quo and some of the workarounds that have been put in place to maintain it.

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