Sales Best Practices

The New Rules of Revenue and Sales Data with Gong

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Cari Murray

Senior Manager of Content Marketing

Countless factors contribute to the decisions sales leaders make every day. But one thing that’s always top of mind? Data.

As our VP of sales Mark Kosoglow says, “You're going to lose if you don’t have good data.”

Mark recently shared this wisdom with Gong's vice president of sales Jameson Yung during the second session of a three-part webinar series, New Ways to Measure Engagement.

Read on for a few key takeaways…

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Examining the Impact of COVID-19

In case you missed it, Gong recently secured $200 million in a single round of funding, while celebrating a $2.2 billion valuation. Jameson also revealed during the webinar that Q3 2020 was Gong's biggest quarter to date, even as they dealt with the economic uncertainty of a global pandemic.

Gong has a rich history of maintaining data and insights, so Jameson and other leaders easily cross-referenced the past with the present once COVID-19 hit. As they examined leading indicators and customer conversations, they immediately saw budgets for commercial accounts completely lock up, while enterprise accounts seemed unaffected. As the pandemic went on, the roles flipped — enterprise budgets began to lock up, while commercial accounts got healthy.

During this reflection period, Gong unearthed another new leading indicator. Sales leaders were traditionally the main entry point into a new account. But the post-pandemic data showed that they may want to start targeting potential buyers within other roles and departments, such as marketing.

“It didn’t used to look that way,” he said. “The category, and maybe even COVID, is changing the world enough that people who weren’t always our best starting point are becoming our best starting point.”

With Brand Recognition Comes Quicker Sales

In the early days at Gong, Jameson said sales reps spent a lot of time qualifying opportunities. Only afterward did they begin to understand the customer, engage in discovery, and pitch value.

This made sense for a young, disruptive startup. But today, Gong is paving the way for a new category: revenue intelligence.

As a category leader, they needed to become more intentional about their customers’ specific pain points. Data insights promoted a better understanding of the prospect companies and learning how to sell them on value from day 1.

“It was a payoff for us long term because we were educating a market that … wasn’t qualified earlier,” Jameson said. “That’s the worst thing we could be doing at that stage as a company.”

Data as a Tool, Not as a Threat

Some sales team members may fear data, and Jameson can empathize with that feeling.

If reps believe a leader is only using data to justify terminations, they may never get comfortable with it. Instead, he suggested that leaders engage in healthier conversations with their teams about the ways data provides real-time visibility and clarity to help improve the company’s overall performance.

“No matter how good you get, no matter how good we get, there are always going to be holes, and the point of data is to show where those holes are so we can work on them together.”

Still, there’s a place for “the gut check” in sales — as long as you use data to check your assumptions.

“I still trust my gut a lot,” Jameson admitted. “The difference is I don’t cling to my gut so much when data starts to tell me something’s wrong.”

Want to hear more about the new ways to leverage data? Sign up for the Science of Sales webinar series, featuring Workday!