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Sales Growth, 2nd Edition by Marc Benioff, Maria Valdivieso de Uster, Homayoun Hatami, Thomas Baumgartner

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Chapter 3 Find Big Growth in Big Data

Comparing the capacity of computers to the capacity of the human brain, I’ve often wondered, where does our success come from? The answer is synthesis, the ability to combine creativity and calculation, art and science …

—Garry Kasparov

If you are still wondering how big data can help your sales organization, you have some catching up to do. As a recent darling of the business world, big data is a term that’s been so overused that it’s beginning to wear out its welcome. Yet we’re finding that only now is the promise of big data catching up to its own hype. Take customer analytics, which relies on the ability to process massive amounts of data. Companies that make extensive use of customer analytics have profit improvements that are 126 percent higher than their competitors’. When it comes to sales improvements, the difference is even larger: 131 percent.1

What does big data mean for sales management? It is a way to move beyond the traditional customer relationship management (CRM) tools and can help with micro-segmentation, sentiment analysis, customizing cross-selling, and—with the rise of smartphones and the Internet of Things—location-based selling and other novel sales opportunities.

The example of a European retail bank helps explain how big data can boost sales effectiveness. It began with the appointment of a new head of sales, who was recruited from a bank that had already discovered how to use fine-grained data and rigorous analysis ...

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