Posted by Indusa Admin on December 4, 2014 12:55 pm
How often have you planned your sales strategy around a previous quarter’s result or the latest competitive wins rather than building a well-planned strategy built upon data-driven analysis of historical trends and future predictions? Sales teams can crush their sales goals by seeking to implement a fact-based decision model, that provides continuous access to unbiased data to perform past, predictive and prescriptive analysis.
By leveraging sales analytics, sales management can effectively recognize, understand and respond to emerging trends in sales cycles and markets. Successful sales analytics positioning delivers competitive rewards in improving agility, and exploiting opportunities quicker than competitors.
In addition, improved sales performance analytics empowers executives and line managers to better prepare and guide their sales teams on achieving and exceeding sales targets.
Here are five best practices that may help you strengthen your sales analytics initiatives:
Best Practice 1: Understand the Sales Analytics Requirements of Field Sales, Inside Sales, Partners and Management
Sales analytics provide advantages to all divisions of a sales organization, be it executives, sales managers, partners or front-end sales representatives. Analytics provide insights on progress to quota-carrying sales people in creating plan, the quality of leads and opportunities, liabilities, and the growth potential of accounts or prospects. Similarly, analyses of information extracted from various systems can be leveraged to enable sales management better prepare and direct sales actions. Let’s take a look at the following requirement and benefits mapping example on how sales analytics for an application offers quality and value for field sales, inside sales, partners as well as management.
- Sales application – Lead management
- Analytic insight – Lead quality
- Value for field sales, inside sales and partners – Lead qualification, Increased pipelines
- Value for management – Higher close rates, New business growth
Best Practice 2: Focus on Sales Metrics
Better equipping salespeople with superior information and tools improves sales efficiency, reduces time spent on non-selling activities and allows for emphasis to be placed on those key interactions with clients and prospects. Because revenue goals are a collective responsibility among front-end sales and company management, organizations are realizing the importance of sales analytics solutions to have collaborative decision-making environments for sales effectiveness. Tools like dashboarding and reporting should be complemented with robust workflows and auditing capabilities in addition to automation and self-service that can reduce administration effort and time that aid in higher sales staff effectiveness. Thus, sales metrics can make your sales processes both efficient and effective.
Best Practice 3: Use Visibility, Usability, and Practicality as Core Design Principle
If a front-end sales incentive is linked to cross-selling, the real-time view on quote discounting and profitability is critical. From the perspectives of usability and practicality, the ability to modify a quote can allow sales people to understand what other products can be proposed and what price can be revised to achieve profitable margin range. Visibility can be explained by how well the analytics solution provides access to key insights for the targeted users within the required time to make an informed decision. Sales organizations should take measures while adopting new sales analytics technologies like capturing sales user requirements, piloting with a small group of people, evaluating data quality tools, using an agile approach to capture feedback and respond to users, looking at key metrics for driving adoption and communicating them effectively to sales, and more.
Best Practice 4: Take a Platform Approach to Orchestrate Information
Sales teams must use a prospective technological solution that is intuitive, easy-to-use and packaged to deliver immediate access to relevant information without requiring any training, preparation and knowledge on the part of the user. Sales organizations are now concentrating on specific sales analytics niches because of the expense and complexity of large deployments involving larger IT rollouts.
Best Practice 5: Don’t Ignore IT
Implementation of an application becomes the IT department’s responsibility, with input from sales to ensure the use of the right standards on data quality, usability, analytics effectiveness, so it is ready for live production. Responsibilities for creating project scope, requirements analysis, recommendations on products, and confirming the implementation of final systems, should be shared among sales and IT departments. Thus, sales organizations should build a balanced team of sales and IT personnel, and encourage for team accountability for the entire project.
When carefully implemented to reflect user preferences, sales analytics can be extended to support fact-based selling in the field as well as inside sales, to increase the knowledge of target buyers, opportunities and the use of best practices for closing deals. What steps are you taking to reinforce your sales analytics initiative?
About the Author – Neha Kumar
Neha Kumar is a digital media evangelist and marketing professional. She overlooks Indusa’s content management, social media, online events, email marketing, blogs, digital campaigns, lead generation and inside sales activities on a broader scale.