Fact vs. Opinion: One is definitely better than the other.

By Frank Donny

Have you ever tried to win an argument or a debate with just an opinion?  It’s very hard to do.  Solid facts and analyses win debates, not opinions.

With sales, you need to manage your business based on facts, not assumptions, stereotypes or innuendo. If, for example, you need to improve your close ratios, then you need a solid CRM system that can give you accurate facts.  You need to know the actual close ratios by sales rep by stage so you can benchmark sales rep performance at each stage.  The key is allowing sales people to see the fact of their performance and the stages where they need to perform better.  This puts performance in a whole new perspective for the sales rep.  They know where they stand versus their peers and how much improvement needs to happen.  No debate, no argument – just fact.  

A great example of fact versus opinion can be found in pipeline management and sales forecasting.  Savvy sales executives know that near the end of every sales period, a frenzy of “almost” deals will be advertised as closeable with extra discounting or executive participation. Which opportunities are worth the time? How do you know when to discontinue them or engage them more deeply? Giving managers the clarity on which deals to engage with, at what stage in the sales cycle, the better the chance those deals will close.

Picture a world where you know you have the right opportunities in the right stages, with the right close dates and the right values (the facts). When managers get all of these “4 Rights,” decisions have already been made. Sales reps, sales management and executive management are aligned and engaged. Issue solved. 

If your CRM system can’t give you insights like this, or if you and your sales reps can’t trust the data that is in the system, then you need to act now to clean it up and get it functioning for your team.  Bad data is worse than no data.  Data without the right structures and reports is nearly useless.