Cast your mind back to an era when a lone foot soldier was on the sales route for weeks on end. Aside from the odd phone call or fax from their boss, they were likely to be isolated, attempting to pitch and sell in an area where there may not be a market for the product or services. There was very little in the way of accurate sales analytics or contact with the “team back home”. Selling and negotiating relied on the rep’s knowledge of the product, an assumed level of charm, and a dose of good luck. Hard times, eh?
Returning to the present climate, it’s now a much more level and contemporary playing field when sales executives are operating the tools of the selling trade. It’s not a matter of if you use sales analytics software, but how advanced, accurate, and useful your sales performance management (SPM) solution and sales analytics software are.
Armed with the right data analytics tools and clear signposting to the most suitable products and information, your sales team has the capability to conquer many more territories and secure a well-earned victory. For themselves, that equates to decent compensation. For the wider business, closing a great deal equates to both profit and the likelihood of repeat or new deals down the line. And the secret to success? Accurate and relevant data analytics.
The rules of engagement have undoubtedly changed for the better. Your strongest weapon is not just a sales army but the sales analytics software and knowledge they go into a pitched battle with.
To the victor, the spoils… so what are the best sales analytics systems and integration tools for your sales team and how can they make them more effective at their job?
Matching the Sales Analytics Solution to Your Needs
Analytics without context is of very little help to a sales rep if they aren’t used in tandem with exceptional and accurate reports that are clearly laid out. One solution is to integrate a sales management report tool into your system that speaks the same language as your team and the people they are pitching to. This is the simplest and most effective way to connect to your current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution and business systems, so all your processes are centrally located and easy to draw data from.
When investing in a suite of data analytics tools, you’ll possibly realize it’s time to clear out the deadwood. In other words, removing that virtual stockpile of dirty data that may lead to a whole sales strategy being misdirected or a sales team heading out on a wild goose chase. The aim has to be that the reporting output is a single source of truth – both the holy grail and guiding light of sales forecasting.
The other piece of early advice to follow before making any purchasing decisions is to look past the shiny lights and attractive add-ons that are likely sound and look special but may not be right for your sales setup. To discover the best hacks and tricks to get past the hype and focused on the right package, get the full story here.
Sales Management Reports That Speak Your Language
The look and feel of a report is also an important benefit of applying the correct sales analytics reporting tool. By keeping in the necessary data fields that are up-to-date and saying an overdue farewell to the dreaded spreadsheet, your sales team can keep a sharp focus on the data that matters.
It’s well worth thinking about how the look and feel of a reporting tool affect presentation and pitch. Even your most trusted negotiators will lose face and sales if they get tangled up in either leaden terminology or unqualified information that can drip into a report. The same applies when a sales manager is presenting back to them. Clear language backs up the figures and gives your team the confidence to carry this information forward and feel they are being consistently directed and better qualified to close that deal.
With a sales analytics solution that presents in a readable format such as a dashboard, the whole team can know what is going on, even if they are based in a multitude of locations and operating at different stages of the sales pipeline. Wherever your troops are based, a clear analytical process ensures they continue to fight for the same side and outcome, thus reducing the chances of customers falling out of the buying cycle.
Evaluate to Accumulate – Recognizing Your Reporting Software’s Capabilities
Once your reporting tool is up and running, both the manager and sales team need to know how to get maximize the value of the data and recognize when to query it. On one level you can use it to track how many deals are being closed in a 30-day window and who in the sales team is a high performer. On the other hand, If there is evidence of underperformance, you can use this advantageously to either tweak the reporting window or gather evidence for what may be a tricky performance meeting with an individual.
Many of those difficult conversations can potentially be avoided by engaging with smart analytics. Run a report on pending deals and back this up with the software that provides solid quota management strategies and a transparent compensation plan and your sales team will be in a better place to feel motivated by the amount of commission they can expect to earn. And by sharing more granular reporting on what’s occurring in a territory, including buying trends or very specific geographic circumstances, you’re not sending a sales executive into uncharted waters minus a life raft and compass.
Forearmed with accurate data and predictions is forewarned, which is why you might want to explore a predictive sales analytics solution that burrows deeper into your data and specific issues. We’d recommend a software package such as Symon AI for Sales. This is ideal if you want to calculate risk, understand more about a customer’s needs as well as offering the capability for some bespoke data fields.
The deeper you dive into your system’s capabilities, the more you and your team will potentially get back. And by ensuring there is continuous evaluation of the results, the more regularly you will update and improve any weakness in reporting.
So spare a final thought for our sales rep of days gone by as he or she either takes the long road home with a skip in their step or shoulders drooped in frustration. If only they’d had the power and knowledge of data analytics in their sample case, how different that journey might have been.