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What does Creating “a single version of the truth” even Mean for Sales?

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Translating data into actionable insights can be a nightmare for most sales teams.

Whether it’s insights from Google Analytics or figures and stats from your own CRM, data is everywhere. And with so much of it coming from different sources, the crucial question is: which source should you trust?

Here’s where a SVOT (Single Version of the Truth) comes in handy.

By defining certain data as ‘correct’, it’ll be much easier to align your goals and objectives while keeping everyone in your team working on the same page.

Now, I admit this whole SVOT concept might be confusing at first and that’s why we created this guide.

We’ll show you exactly what a single version of the truth is, how it can improve your sales performance, and some of the best practices related to this concept.

What is a single version of truth (SVOT)?

In short, the expression “single version of the truth” represents the dataset that will be used throughout the company to measure performance and define future objectives.

Instead of relying on multiple data sources for decision-making, a SVOT helps you define the metrics that´ll mean success for you.

Let’s say you’re a SaaS trying to optimize your efforts for lead acquisition. In that case, different tools might register different data as “leads.”

For instance, an online form completion might register as a lead in Google Analytics, but downloading an ebook from your website might also register as a lead on your CRM. So how do you know which data you should be using to measure success and progress?

Well, a single version of the truth identifies one of these metrics as the ‘correct’ data. By doing this, the entire company will use the same data to measure success.

Single version of truth vs single source of truth

People tend to equate the concept “single version of truth” with “single source of truth.” While both concepts are pretty related, they’re slightly different.

So, before we get into the “nitty gritty” of this guide, let’s quickly talk about the differences between these two concepts.

The difference lies in the intent.

A SSOT is a data storage principle designed to keep data organized, avoid duplicate or denormalized data elements, and increase data accuracy. This principle, related to data center infrastructure, states that information should always be sourced from just one place.

On the other hand, a SVOT is intended to provide clarity to decision makers. It’s a verbalized agreement on the data you’ll trust and rely on.

Instead of depending on a variety of tools, you and your team will discuss what success means for you and define the data that better represents it.

As Bren Dykes states, “If a single source is focused on integrating and synchronizing data, a single version is about consolidating and aligning the reporting and analytics.”

How to improve sales performance with a SVOT

In today’s world, most business departments deal with an increasing volume of data, and sales isn’t the exception.

According to Capterra, there are over 5,000 sales tools available in the marketplace.

Even if your team uses just a handful of them, it’ll be hard to choose which numbers to focus on. To solve this problem, you must design a SVOT.

By centralizing your information and deciding which data you’ll trust, you’ll improve decision-making.

So let’s cover some of the best practices and benefits of an effective SVOT.

1. Increase organization-wide transparency

By removing silos between departments and making the right data more transparent to your sales team, you’ll maximize your sales efforts.

Let’s take this article on PEO companies as an example.

To see the best PEO companies in your area, you’re asked to enter your zip code.

What does Creating a single version of the truth even

Imagine they’re trying to launch a partner program where small businesses can get access to PEO companies at a discounted price.

With a SVOT in place, the sales reps in charge of promoting this program could access zip code data to identify the cities and areas that use their service the most and focus on businesses within those zones.

This way, their efforts would be more effective.

2. Improve customer experiences

According to Statista, 61% of decision makers in the US correlate fast customer service with an increase in revenue, which is a clear sign of the relevance of customer experiences in the sales process.

All the teams that manage customer data should work together to offer the best experience possible for their buyers. This will also improve their revenue operations strategy.

For instance, knowing whether a specific client has contacted customer support in the past, and being able to read the conversation before a sales call, can be helpful for a sales rep.

Or clearly stating what a “lead” means in your organization will help your marketing team send you more qualified prospects. This is why you need to have a sales tracking process in place to make sure all your leads are in the pipeline.

If you pay attention to Orizaba —a Mexican-style clothing store—you’ll notice how they use every channel to improve the overall experience.

You can’t only buy their products from their online store, but also from their Facebook page.

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By consolidating all of this data into a single source of truth, they can increase consistency across all channels and build better relationships with their customers.

By applying this principle, each interaction will be aligned with the company’s goals and objectives. As a result, you’ll provide customers with consistent and concise messaging, and an all-around better experience.

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3. Create consistency with branding

Lack of trust is the killer of sales.

If your prospects don’t trust your company, no matter how good of a salesperson you are, you won’t get very far.

That said, branding consistency is one of the best strategies to build trust and goodwill.

If your messaging is well-aligned with the values and beliefs of your customers, they’ll feel more connected to your brand.

An example would be Quetext and how they explain on their homepage the benefits of their plagiarism checker for the different users of their tools. By explaining the benefits for each, they are connecting on another level with these users.

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Without a SVOT, achieving consistency becomes utopic, though.

If different departments are seeing and interpreting different data, their priorities will differ, and thus, your branding might seem dispersed.

You see, this is crucial.

Your branding should communicate a message that resonates with your audience. If your data is dispersed, you can’t find the right insights to base your brand on.

For instance, let’s say you want to increase brand awareness and decide to create a corporate video for your company.

If you don’t have access to data from customer support, it’ll be hard for you to discover the most frequent questions your customers are asking. A great idea to gather data from your customers is to implement a chatbot like MannequinMall is doing.

You can have a direct conversation with potential buyers, provide information about your products but they also invite them to book a demo, which helps to convert visitors into buyers.

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Analyzing what your customers are asking through a chat plugin can help you discover their most frequent questions and can help your sales and marketing teams to provide better insights.

Now, this might seem a rather simple example, but it emphasizes the importance of a SVOT even in the smallest of your activities.

4. Identify key activities

The current problem with most sales teams isn’t the lack of a defined sales process, but a deficiency in focus.

Most sales teams don’t understand causality and correlation—they don’t know which activities drive the most results.

They don’t know whether the customer support team is doing all the heavy lifting nor which outreach and marketing emails are driving the most qualified prospects.

A SVOT can solve this problem by telling you exactly where you’re spending your time and the correlation between those activities and your actual results.

Quoting William Oleksiienko, from Reply.io:

“If you want to build a strong SDR process, you can’t just set it and forget it. To get results, you must keep an eye on how your SDRs are performing and then make any necessary changes […] SDR performance is determined by how many meetings they’re able to book. It would also make sense to check other metrics, such as positive reply rate and pipeline generated, to measure the quality of their outreach.” It is also highly recommended to utilize meeting notes to ensure their results are accurate and efficient.

Now, just knowing your key activities isn’t enough. To get results, you should communicate such activities to your entire team.

So, once you figure out your most productive activities, you should streamline the process and design a roadmap that showcases these activities in a logical order. A good way to do this is to install a Gantt chart for all your teams.

This way, everyone will understand what they should focus on. Additionally, roadmaps will clarify your value proposition and will support your sales reps during presentations.

In the end, a SVOT isn’t a luxury, but a necessity, especially in sales.

5. Leverage the power of software

Implementing a SVOT in your organization might seem intimidating, but with the right process, it’s relatively simple.

The first step is to verbalize an agreement with your team and define which data will represent success for you.

With this agreement in mind, now you should integrate and consolidate all of your data into one source of truth.

By doing so, you’ll reduce the amount of time spent flicking between different platforms. Also, you’ll make it easier to see the data that’s most important.  

Now, it’s worth mentioning that a SVOT shouldn’t only integrate marketing and sales, but also accounting, finance, HR, and every one of your departments.

This process might seem difficult at first and, if you do it manually, it can be a true nightmare. Fortunately, many platforms out there offer integrations to speed up this process.

For instance, take a look at Frevvo’s homepage. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll find a section about their integrations:

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Even though Frevvo is a workflow automation software, you can integrate most of your tools and still centralize your information into one place using their low-code workflow automation tools.

You’ll be glad to hear that most platforms offer this type of integration.

Key takeaways

So there you have it.

Now that you understand what a single version of the truth is and the benefits of implementing this concept, let’s talk about some of the key takeaways of this guide:

  1. Don’t just look at your CRM data and reports to craft your next sales strategy: create a SVOT by combining your sales pipeline, telephony, marketing campaigns, support tickets, and after-sales services data to improve your customer experience throughout the entire journey.
  2. Identify key activities by analyzing data from other departments: use the data you’ve got from your SVOT to find the correlation between results and activities to justify the actions you’re including in your sales processes.
  3. SVOTs increase trust through consistency: by standardizing your processes and messaging throughout all of your channels, your customers will trust you more and, therefore, your sales will increase.

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Finally, remember that choosing the right field management software to consolidate your data is a vital step. If you’re looking for a business intelligence tool to connect all your data sources, blend that data, and visualize your KPIs in real-time, then MozartData may be a good fit.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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