Sales leaders cannot afford decisions based on hunches, personal relationships, or selective data reporting. A strong sales data foundation – with comprehensive activity capture and unbiased analysis – is the key to data driven sales decisions that optimize sales performance.

Relying on gut feel rather than impartial data opens the door for all kinds of biases that distort operational choices. When leaders lack the complete picture, politics and favoritism tend to fill the gaps subjectively.

However, leaders cannot act without reliable information. This pushes them to rely on partial input from their closest allies. Critical information often gets obscured under layers of personal bias – leading decisions astray.

Creating an Impartial Data Foundation

The first step to defeating bias is assembling comprehensive sales data in a single, trusted foundation across all sales channels and cohorts. This requires automatically capturing every meaningful customer activity from outreach to close  – emails, call reports, and deal updates from different systems.

This raw data intake should include rep notes and subjective scoring of deal quality or confidence. The activity log must encompass every indicator available – including “soft” qualitative opinions.

Centralizing disparate inputs is just the starting point. The sales data foundation must contextualize the deluge of unstructured information for leaders to extract insights. Deals need consistent tagging against opportunity amount, competition, milestones met, and stakeholders engaged.

Activity Volume is Not Enough

Leaders also require norms to evaluate performance. How many cold calls or demos get done weekly by reps at various tenures? What sales behaviors show the highest historical win rates for a given segment?

This is where leveraging and accumulating tribal knowledge becomes invaluable. Historical benchmarks enable impartial assessment of current activity volume and deal progression quality relative to past observed outcomes.

When current metrics significantly diverge from empirically derived norms, the data foundation triggers further exploration before jumping to conclusions. Is the divergence justified or are unknown factors at play?  Either way, consistent standards reveal reality.

Armed with the complete picture, managers can make informed choices aligned with real on-ground effectiveness – rather than relationships or gut feel.

3 Areas Where Impartial Data Optimizes Decisions

Reliable sales data foundations transform key operational decisions:

1. Territory Design and Alignment

Basing territory decisions on impartial historical deal data ensures workloads and potential are balanced across the team. Activity metrics reveal customer saturation and the remaining share of the wallet for more effective planning.

2. Compensation and Commissions

Unbiased sales activity history helps derive optimal quotas and accelerators aligned with realized win rates. Granular data on rep behaviors that convert provides insight into the right behaviors to motivate.

3. Rep Performance Management

 Comprehensive activity capture supplemented by benchmarks for tenure uncovers true outlier behaviors early for fact-based coaching. Data spotted underperformance helps managers uncover whether this is a one-off or system issue.

In each scenario, impartial data foundations prevent leaders from operating on incomplete notions while still accommodating qualitative judgment.

Empower People, Guide With Facts

Some argue impartial data curtails leadership discretion and oversimplifies complex sales issues. This notion stems from experience with metrics misused as absolute scorecards for rigid evaluations rather than directional guides.

In reality, reliable data foundations empower discernment by providing essential context to make sound situational decisions. Leaders retain judgment on corrective actions while data sharply highlights areas needing attention.

What impartial data foundations remove is not discretion but the tendency to act based on personal bias, politics or limited anecdotes that frequently mislead. Fact-based insights allow leaders to have challenging conversations rooted in shared truth rather than opinion.

By guiding difficult decisions with impartial data, managers reach optimized outcomes while retaining the autonomy of action.

Build More Reliable Data Driven Sales Systems

Constructing durable sales data foundations is a long-term play requiring investment – but the dividends compound over time. Each decision based on reliable insights sets up teams for future success.

Impartial data foundations enable leaders to continually refine playbooks, territories, quotas, and all other sales design elements toward effectiveness – rather than apply rough benchmarks. Over time, even complex sales systems become self-optimizing with enough credible signals.

While gut decisions occasionally hit the jackpot, reliable outcomes depend on facts. Impartial data foundations help sales leaders scale excellence through evidence-based decisions powered by truth.