The benefits of data-driven storytelling with Workday

Posted November 20, 2020

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By Cari Murray

Senior Editor at Outreach

In what feels like a lifetime ago, salespeople relied on personal observations to identify helpful data trends. It was the best we could do, but it left a lot of room for error.

We now have far more advanced data insights, delivered by powerful technologies. So we rely more on the data to tell “stories” about customer patterns and trends — and less on subjective observations.

During the final session of our three-part webinar series, New Ways to Measure Engagement, Mike Madsen, Global Program Manager of Demand Strategy at Workday, talked about how identifying data-driven stories has improved Workday’s sales processes.

Moving from anecdotes to data-driven stories

Workday sales leaders used to see their conversion rates in a CRM, a setup that didn’t reveal reasons behind customer engagement. Leaders simply asked their teams which emails moved deals along and which ones didn’t. Responses were all anecdotal, leaving them at a loss on how to systemically improve performance.

Today, as Mike sees it, “data is king,” a powerful resource that leads to more informed decisions when a story emerges.

“Now that we have something like Outreach, where we can dive a little deeper into the content performance itself, it makes it more objective,” Mike said.

On the sails of those stories, Workday distills data into practical actions and next steps for the sales and marketing teams. Outreach helps leaders measure the effectiveness of motions throughout the funnel, from MQLs into the sales pipeline.

The power of embracing data-driven stories

Companies must be ready to change behaviors in response to new data stories, which leaders highlight during monthly stand-ups. Sales reps eagerly learn from the available data so they can pivot their responses in real time, like when they receive a series of objections.

Objections aren't necessarily a bad thing. Getting a prospect to reply with details about their specific pain points gives reps an indication about what problems they're looking to solve.

Sure, reps have to make sales. But they can still learn a lot from objections — an ethos Workday has adopted.

Outreach helped them get there. The team’s approach of using advanced data to find stories has empowered both managers and front-line reps to understand how to overcome objections.

The way stories emerge may sound counterintuitive. Leaders don’t look for patterns in small, less cumbersome data sets. They seek stories in large data sets, with a predetermined threshold, which helps to eliminate biases that smaller samples can create. Keeping that threshold consistent means team members are all on the same page. Leaders also keep the conversation going by running different types of enablement through a team that works closely with sales.

Sales data drives collective success

Workday leaders know that with pivots comes change management. Implementing any new sales tool means a couple of cycles’ worth of adjustment while reps get the hang of it.

“Because they aren’t data scientists,” Mike said, “they may not be comfortable with interpreting data.” Companies, like Workday, must have a process in place that will “allow folks to come along on a journey with you.”

That kind of continuity lays the groundwork for collective success.


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