Paraphrase of the document “Take advantage of the analysis to boost sales performance.by Brian Selby Viceprecident Senior of world sales, Tableau
How often does the sales team make important decisions based on a hunch? Are you sure that this agreement will be closed this quarter and that the agreed price is optimal? Were your sales resources allocated correctly to drive growth?
In a world where data is everywhere, many companies miss out on the power of data and analysis to drive improvements in sales performance.
Why does this happen so often? Historically, sales have been considered an art. Sales revolve around people. That is why factors such as emotions, beliefs and opinions come into play, as well as the management of relationships with customers, partners and other members of sales organizations. Being able to access the data and determine what to do with it has been a difficult task. However, thanks to the emergence of new BI platforms and the simplification of access to data on sales performance, the application of science to sales has become a key differentiator for the management of sales organizations. Companies that adopt data and analysis as the basis for sales planning and performance management will achieve radical improvements in sales productivity.
Advanced sales analysis
Improvements in the determination of prices and discounts: Many representatives and sales executives have time limitations. Also, of not having received the adequate training to apply data analysis to price decisions in an effective way. Frequently, it is easier and faster to offer the same prices to all customers or to use the base of the discount matrix in order to speed up the purchase process. It is very common for sales representatives to be unaware that other colleagues in their organization achieved higher prices for the same agreements with similar clients. It is an area in which data and analysis can generate several points of improvement in the margins. If sales leaders have an advanced analytics platform that covers all historical sales data, they can visualize where they are not achieving optimal prices. This gives them the ability to challenge sales teams to reconsider their agreement structures.
Greater precision in forecasts: The criteria of sales leaders can be an important factor when forecasting agreements. However, human judgment is often much less effective than analytical models in evaluating the possible outcomes of agreements and sales teams. The data does not lie. If data points are seized in opportunities (for example, the customer’s historical buying behavior, sales representative’s performance, product type and sales stage), a predictive model can provide a more accurate forecast than the traditional processes. The use of these types of analytical models also allows us to save countless hours of management meetings where we try to analyze the human criterion and incorporate “cancellations of the managers” to the forecasts of lower levels.
Reduction of customer desertion: It is important that sales representatives or customer Success managers have a comprehensive profile of customer behaviors (for example, support incidents, attendance to training classes and use of the website ). This will allow them to identify more accurately the clients at risk and take preventive measures aimed at preventing desertion. They can also direct marketing campaigns to at-risk clients, with the purpose of increasing their commitment.
Using data and analysis as the basis of the sales organization is not an easy task. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary for the management team to invest time and resources in acquiring the right data, people and systems to develop these new functionalities. In my experience, it is essential to create an adequate sales operations function that has the necessary resources and tools to prepare and analyze the data, synthesize the analysis into effective action plans and promote the management of changes in all sales. These leading sales operations teams apply detailed information to opportunities to improve performance. In this way, they become trusted advisors to executives throughout the company. All this is possible if a solid foundation is built with the data, from governance to preparation, analysis and reporting.
Give rise to the “science of sales”
The creation of a new functionality to take advantage of the effectiveness of sales analysis starts with clean, prepared and well-managed data. These data must come from a widely adopted CRM system. In addition, they must be analyzed through a modern and robust analysis platform. And, as we mentioned previously, it is essential to have an adequate sales operations staff with analytical thinking. This way they will be able to understand the data, extract information from the analysis and recommend effective actions to sales leaders with the purpose of improving performance.
Step by Step …
1. Start with clean data
Companies already know the difficulties of having diverse data sources, isolated departments and old software tools. All this results in a faulty infrastructure that hinders performance, growth and development. In order to scale the advanced analysis to the whole company, definitions and uniform sales practices must be available. This also requires having staff that asks the right questions, performs the analysis and decides on the next step.
2. Provide salespeople with the right solutions
How is your CRM system used globally? Do all teams define and structure the hierarchy of accounts and opportunities in the same way? For example, does the expression “closed and earned” mean the same for the commercial sales team as for the rest of the company, both in the United Kingdom and in Australia? Establishing definitions and hierarchies in the CRM is a recommended practice that results in cleaner data. Adopt an analysis platform that can connect to CRM and other data sources, that has intuitive data preparation tools and that optimizes advanced analysis to provide a single source of truthfulness. Then, you can take advantage of modern business intelligence capabilities and quickly adapt the implementation.
3. Hire new curious, motivated and knowledgeable technology talents
Beyond the standardization of processes and the definitions of data analysis, it is necessary to have the right talent so that the organization can achieve success. Sales operations staff members are trusted advisors to the company. Therefore, they should participate in decisions about sales planning and resource optimization. If the goal is to achieve a true return on investment in sales operations, they should not be limited to performing administrative tasks of generating reports. Instead, they must have the support of the organization and the necessary technological resources to use advanced analysis. In order to drive improvements in sales performance, it is essential to have the right people who have the right analysis platform and the right data backup.
Implementing the right processes, people and systems to acquire, prepare and analyze key sales data will lead to better decision making in any sales organization. If data is put at the center of the sales planning and performance management approach, huge strides can be made in relation to growth and productivity.
If you’re looking to take advantage of data analytics to thrive as a modern sales organization and apply science to sales, visit the Tableau sales analysis solutions page. In this centralized resource, which includes all the data and sales information, you will find new and better possibilities for your sales operations.