5 Ways Experts Leverage Data to Identify New Sales Opportunities

Author's avatar Sales UPDATED Apr 9, 2024 PUBLISHED Jan 26, 2023 18 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    How well do you know your customers?

    Your ideal customer persona might pop into your mind as you’re trying to answer this question, but it won’t provide you with accurate data or the real state of affairs when it comes to who actually generates your revenue.

    Who are the people who buy most from you? What do they have in common? What marketing channels do they come through? How much do they buy and how often do they become loyal customers?

    It’s critical to answer all of these questions if you want to optimize your marketing efforts and sales pipeline and create new sales opportunities, whether it’s a new prospect or a chance to upsell or cross-sell. One way to do it is to take a deep dive into customer engagement data.

    In this guide, we’re sharing how experts use customer data to identify sales opportunities. Jump right to the section you’re most interested in.

    HubSpot CRM – Sales Analytics Overview Template

    What Is a Sales Opportunity?

    A sales opportunity is an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead), which means a qualified prospect with a high probability of becoming a paying customer or client. If you have a sales opportunity, you’re dealing with an individual who is interested in your product or service and is likely to buy from you.

    Sales opportunities are a source of potential business, but note that not all industries or companies define sales qualified leads the same way. However, some basic criteria needs to be fulfilled to consider a lead a qualified prospect:

    • You’ve already contacted or met the lead
    • You’ve identified the lead’s pain point or need that your product or service can solve
    • The lead expressed urgency in solving the problem
    • You’ve established that the lead is a technical fit

    Sales Opportunity vs Sales Leads vs Sales Prospects: What’s the Difference?

    Sometimes, people use the terms sales opportunity, sales lead, and sales prospect interchangeably, but there are slight differences in how we define all three.

    • A sales opportunity is, as we’ve said, an already contacted lead who’s a good fit and has shown interest in your product or service, so they’re very likely to become a customer.
    • A sales lead hasn’t been qualified yet and they’re only on top of your funnel. You still don’t know if there’s a (high) chance of closing this deal.
    • A sales prospect is a lead who fits your ideal customer profile and therefore you consider them likely to become a customer.

    What’s a Good Number of New Sales Opportunities per Month?

    A good number of new sales opportunities per month depends on many factors, like your industry and the length of your sales cycle. For example, B2C industries typically have shorter sales cycles, so they may also have a bigger number of sales opportunities per month, unlike B2B companies, especially in finance and software services, that take longer to close.

    Our benchmark data for marketing and deal funnel metrics for B2B companies shows that the median value of new opportunities is 15 a month. The top quartile has almost 60 new opportunities each month, while the bottom quartile has only 2. This data comes from 176 contributors. If you are a B2V business and want to compare your marketing and deal funnel metrics like sessions, bounce rate, new leads, new MQLs, and more, join the group for free.

    This data inspired us to poll companies and uncover more insights into how they actually identify and create new sales opportunities, including the data sources and segments they find the most helpful.

    How to Find New Sales Opportunities

    Databox ran a survey to learn how different companies identify new sales opportunities.

    In total, 51 companies participated, and they come from different industries:

    • 35.29% are B2C services or products
    • 31.37% are agencies or consultants (marketing, digital or media)
    • 21.57% are B2B services or products
    • 11.76% are eCommerce brands

    We found that companies, when investing in a sales opportunity, focus on the following stages:

    • Execution (putting your previously crafted strategy on how to approach qualified leads into practice): around 25%
    • Research (the process of gathering as much information as possible about your leads): around 24%
    • Strategizing (coming up with an approach to close the deals): around 21%

    Less time is spent on lead qualification (determining if the leads fit your sales opportunity criteria) and review (looking back at your won and lost opportunities to learn as much as you can about what works and what doesn’t).

    sales opportunity stages

    More than 95% of respondents analyze their customer’s digital footprint (i.e. social media activity, browsing habits, past purchases) to identify new sales opportunities.

    customers analyze their customer’s digital footprint

    The survey also showed that most companies consider their website the most valuable data source to help identify new sales opportunities. Other top sources are: social media (like brand mentions), CRM (like previous sales opportunities), and email marketing (like opens and clicks).

    Let’s break down each of the sources our experts voted for.

    1. Website
    2. Social Media
    3. CRM
    4. Product
    5. Email
    6. Customer Success Team
    7. Online Community

    Website

    Websites are a great source of inbound leads. These leads essentially come to you because they recognize you as a potential solution to their pain point. Inbound leads can quickly become sales opportunities, especially if you invest time into learning more about your website visitors to discover smaller groups within your target audience who are most likely to convert.

    Here’s how it worked out for Tim Connon of ParamountQuote.

    “We were able to see on average that the customers that filled out our landing pages were 65 years old. This allowed us to run ads specifically targeting 65-year-olds. This resulted in a 10% increase in bringing in more prospects to our site that converted into leads and sales,” shares Connon.

    Customer engagement data on your landing pages specifically can provide incredibly useful insights that you can use to optimize the pages for conversion.

    “We have a niche target audience and that’s our strength. We service people suffering from ailments such as chronic fatigue and anxiety. In all likelihood, you found yourself on our website because either you or someone close to you is experiencing one or more of these hardships,” explains Karden Rabin of Chronic Fatigue School, and adds that it’s the company job to take it from there and convince the visitor that they’ve landed on the right solution.

    “If our data shows the bounce rate high on a particular page, we can dig into the reasons why and make adjustments. We can then track changes in user behavior to see if those changes worked and hopefully converted sales.”

    Watch this video to learn how to analyze traffic sources and increase sales with Databox. Note that our customer support team can help you build the dashboard in the video for free.

    Social Media

    Are people talking about your brand online? Mine social media to identify brand mentions, because there might be excellent sales opportunities among them.

    David Zhang of Kate Backdrop confirms that social activity helps him identify new sales opps as he gets valuable insights into how the company’s audience thinks and feels. Social media can be a powerful tool to fuel your brand messaging:

    “By understanding their interests, language, and messaging preferences, I can craft targeted campaigns more likely to resonate with my target audience. This helps me identify new sales opportunities and increase conversion rates from existing ones. We’ve seen an improvement in our sales opportunities of up to 15% compared to when we weren’t using this data source.”

    David Zhang

    David Zhang

    CEO at Kate Backdrop

    Want to get highlighted in our next report? Become a contributor now

    Social listening and monitoring brand mentions can also help come up with new product ideas.

    “By identifying what our customers are talking about and what they’re interested in through social media activity, we were able to develop new products or services they might be interested in,” reveals Charlotte Ang of M&P International Freights.

    “This improved our sales opportunities by giving us insights into what our customers want. Additionally, we were able to target our marketing efforts more effectively, which increased sales. Our data source helped us improve our sales significantly. When we started using this data source, our sales increased by 30%,” concludes Ang.

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

    Selling to your existing customers is known to be less expensive than acquiring new ones, so one of the first places to look through while searching for new sales opportunities should be your CRM.

    Existing customers or leads that weren’t ready to buy or weren’t a good fit at some point are another great source of new sales opportunities. Discovering new needs of your current customers allows you to upsell and cross-sell, which is a go-to strategy for many sales teams. On the other hand, reconnecting with lost sales opportunities might open news doors: does your product have new features? Do you have a new product? Does your old lead have new needs? It’s worth checking, because a past “no” might be a “yes” now.

    Use predictive analytics to evaluate such leads and opportunities. Predictive analytics can be a valuable tool for staying ahead of the competition through the interpretation of customer engagement data. By analyzing customer behavior, you can effectively target and engage your audience, which may result in increased sales.

    Product

    Do you collect in-app customer feedback? If you sell software, in-app customer behavior and questions and remarks you receive through the platform can be a valuable source of information to fuel your further sales efforts.

    Ruben Gamez of SignWell confirms that for his team, this type of feedback has been crucial in discovering and creating new sales opportunities and increased their upsell success score by almost 25%. 

    “While we ask for a simple satisfaction score, we also ask our customers what we can do to improve our services for them. The responses help guide our product and feature development for better sales and opens up the opportunity to upsell services that customers may be wanting (but don’t yet know we offer). The changes we’ve made from these surveys have helped boost our retention rate.”

    Email

    Do you have prospects who regularly read your newsletter or other emails you send? There might be an underlying sales opportunity. Your email opens and clicks reveal a lot about how interested your audience is, given the number of emails we receive daily—how many do we actually read?

    Chances are, your email subscribers have already shown some brand dedication, so it’s up to you to leverage these clicks to uncover sales opportunities.

    “We use our email open and click-through rates to uncover great opportunities and adapt or leave behind those that aren’t,” says Maximilian Wuehr of FINN.

    “Our email list is a more agreeable audience – they already know and love our brand. Since acquiring a new customer costs 5x as much as retaining an existing one, we use our email metrics to determine what our loyal customers want and better cater to them. As a result, our loyalty rate has significantly risen, and our marketing costs are 20% lower.”

    PRO TIP: Listen to our recent episode of Metrics & Chill to learn how Dee Acosta sourced 50% of all his deals via outbound at Metadata.

    Customer Success Team

    All the data you can collect from your customer success and support teams is of great value for your future marketing and sales efforts. This data answers questions like:

    • Why do our customers churn?
    • What’s one thing our customers love most about us?
    • Which customers generate us the most revenue?

    By analyzing customer data, you can get helpful insights into what happens after a SQL becomes a paying customer or after a customer decides to drop you, which further informs your sales approach.

    Zach Goldstein of Public Rec advises using surveys to uncover the data you need from customer success and support teams. 

    “My favorite customer feedback is related to product improvement and innovation, which is very much the same strategy we used in creating our initial prototype. If most customers within a segment ask for or complain about the same product attributes, we flag it for investigation. By comparing sales data, customer feedback, and reviews side-by-side, we can mock up general satisfaction ratings and pain points customers experience with our products,” Goldstein comments and provides an example:

    “For some time after we launched our women’s wear line, there were specific sizes unavailable for months about which we received ample feedback. When our customers can point to a problem with how our business works, it facilitates and incentivizes us to address the issue with our customers’ overall satisfaction at heart.”

    Related: 7 Ways to Use Customer Data for More Efficient Marketing

    Online Community

    Similarly to monitoring social media, you can leverage what your online community is saying about your brand to uncover new sales opportunities. These insights are useful both for sales and marketing teams, according to Madison Tong of My Supplement Store.

    “We like to see what our customers are talking about when it comes to our industry. We see what topics we can use to start writing content on, or make content on to help us achieve more sales.”

    Connecting with your community might also mean visiting a few networking events: this is a great chance to meet potential leads and get into a deeper conversation with them.

    5 Expert Tips for Increasing New Sales Opportunities

    We asked experienced salespeople, marketers, and agency founders how to increase the number of sales opportunities. Here’s what they shared.

    Leverage Your Most Popular Products

    Look into your website data to reveal your most viewed products or those frequently placed into the cart, but not purchased. This can tell your marketing team where to dedicate more effort and budget to increase the number of sales qualified leas.

    Omer Usanmaz of Qooper Mentoring Software says his team focused on “the products that were most popular, and to offer discounts on products that were being added to carts but not purchased, in order to increase sales. Overall, our website’s data helped us to increase sales by 10%.”

    Nurture Strong Customer Relationships

    According to a PwC study, customers are willing to walk away after a single bad experience, and at the same time, are more likely to buy a more expensive product if you provide an exceptional experience for them. This is why nurturing strong customer relationships matters—and can help you increase the number of sales opportunities.

    By providing excellent customer service and building strong relationships with your customers, you can encourage them to continue doing business with you and even recommend your products or services to others. Staying in regular contact with your customers and understanding their needs also helps you identify opportunities to sell them additional products or services that complement what they have already purchased.

    Building strong relationships with your customers can lead to increased customer lifetime value, as they are more likely to continue doing business with you over a longer period of time. This can result in more overall sales over the long-term.

    Track the Right Metrics

    Data monitoring and reporting is always helpful if you’re looking to optimize your processes and make more sales. But do you know which metrics you should include in your dashboard? Brenton Thomas of Twibi Agency suggests several metrics to look at to discover new sales opportunities.

    “The truly important KPIs need to vary based on every specific business model and goal. We switched to tracking activation rates, customer churn rates, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), average revenue per customer, and monthly active users. The takeaway here is that there’s a lot to learn about the average customer, and the metrics above can track and reveal their journey with you. If you measure these metrics well, they can help build your total revenue and improve the bottom line.”

    Brenton Thomas

    Brenton Thomas

    Founder at Twibi

    Want to get highlighted in our next report? Become a contributor now

    Create a Referral System

    Tapping into referrals allows you to actively work on generating new sales opportunities and many businesses highlight referrals as one of the most effective ways to create SQLs.

    Referrals come from a trusted source, so the potential customer is more likely to trust you and consider making a purchase. This makes your sales cycle shorter since you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to gain the lead’s trust or qualify them—you already know the lead is a good fit.

    Additionally, referrals can be an effective way to generate sales because they can lead to a “snowball” effect, where one referral leads to another, and so on. This can be especially powerful if the referrals come from people who are influential within their networks.

    Sometimes, you’ll be able to get referrals by simply asking your customer if they know someone else who would benefit from your product or services. But, to keep customers engaged and answer the “what’s in it for me?” question, you can offer a discount or another type of incentive in return.

    PRO TIP: Use this free Google Analytics Referrals Overview dashboard template to idenitfy which external sites drive traffic, and which ones drive conversions. Use the data to uncover:

    • Which referral sources drove the most traffic this month?
    • Where should you search for more guest posts or links?
    • Which types of referral traffic drive conversions?
    google_analytics_referral_overview_preview

    Refine Your Sales Pitch

    It’s a mistake to think that once you create your sales pitch, you can use it forever without revisiting it. Your audience will change over time and you’ll have new product features or services to sell. This is why it’s critical to refine your sales pitch from time to time, especially if you’re able to get (potential) customer feedback on how effective it is.

    Remember that prospects today prefer a natural conversation to a scripted sales pitch. It’s important to know all the details of your product, including its benefits and any associated problems. This will enable you to have in-depth conversations with customers about the product.

    A few ways to fine-tune your sales pitch are:

    • Using storytelling: People are more likely to remember and be convinced by a story than by a list of facts and figures. Use anecdotes and examples to illustrate the value of your product or service.
    • Using language that resonates with your audience: Use words and phrases that are familiar and meaningful to the people you are speaking to.
    • Seeking feedback: Ask for feedback from colleagues, friends, or customers to get a sense of how your pitch is being received and where you can improve.

    Related: How to Write a Sales Pitch: 15 Proven Tips to Get More Clients Right Away

    HubSpot CRM – Sales Analytics Overview Template

    Know Your Leads Inside Out with Databox

    Learning as much as possible about how your customers and leads engage with your brand help you uncover insightful data that can further fuel your sales efforts. To get these insights efficiently, you should streamline your data tracking and reporting and make it accessible: this is where Databox can help.

    Through simple, customizable dashboards, our tool allows you to get a quick overview of your most important KPIs, but also a more granular view of your data through custom metrics to better match your needs. You can easily build a professionally looking dashboard in minutes with no coding skills required and connect it with any data source, or use one of the 200+ templates from our gallery.

    Databox recently launched Benchmarks to help you understand how your company measures up. If you’re in the B2B space and use HubSpot CRM for sales and marketing, join this Benchmark Group for free and share your deal funnel metrics to see how you’re doing compared to your peers. If you don’t already use Databox, you can create a forever-free account today.

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    Article by
    Stefana Zaric

    Stefana Zarić is a freelance writer & content marketer. Other than writing for SaaS and fintech clients, she educates future writers who want to build a career in marketing. When not working, Stefana loves to read books, play with her kid, travel, and dance.

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