Companies that embrace sales analytics have better performing sales teams. In this blog, we discuss how to get started and where to focus your analysis to give you a competitive advantage.
B2B Sales is a difficult, brutal job. Leading and managing a B2B sales team can be equally challenging, but good analytics, built to benefit your sales team, can help your team become more effective.
Does your sales team have the tools they need to prioritize and organize their sales efforts? Are leads falling through the cracks? Is your team working on the right accounts? Can they monitor on a daily basis how close they are to hitting their quota?
While most companies have an abundance of sales data, many are not able to answer these types of questions because they are not embracing sales analytics as the foundation for sales planning and performance management.
When implemented well, sales analytics will make your team stronger, improve forecasting, and speed up decision-making.
Once you have a BI tool in place that is driven by your sales teams’ needs, you can start digging into your sales data. There are a million ways to slice and dice this data, but we recommend focusing on the following five kinds of B2B sales analytics:
You need an easy way of looking at all your accounts and determining which need attention. This is nearly impossible if you rely only on your CRM software and the built-in reporting that comes with it. There are other factors and data outside of your CRM that should be considered, such as where leads and accounts are engaging with you online, offline, or within marketing campaigns, their location, their industry, and your own history with those accounts.
Sales analytics should also be used to expose potential clients. The key is doing the analysis at the account-level, and not the contact- or opportunity-levels. Visualization or machine learning techniques can help you separate the wheat from the chaff when looking at which of the thousands of potential accounts you reps should spend time on.
For those reps that “farm” existing accounts, additional data is needed for analysis, such as your financial relationship and support interactions with them. The more information you can make available to your reps or account managers, the better equipped they will be to serve those clients and enrich the relationship.
In order to get as much value as possible from campaign analysis, you’ll need data from your CRM system plus your marketing automation systems (like Marketo, Hubspot, or Pardot), your website, Google Analytics, LinkedIn, and others.
If you pay on bookings, you may only need data from your CRM system. If you pay on invoice or on actual cash receivables, you’ll need to hook into your financial system to provide the necessary data.
In addition to tracking sales, you should be tracking call/meeting/email activity. Tracking activity can give an early indicator of actual sales. It can also help understand the lifecycle of your clients so your reps (especially new ones) can get a feel for how much effort it takes to get a sale.
Sales organizations feel the pains of “sandbagging” where closed deals show up out of nowhere, “grandbagging” where projected magnificent sales never materialize, and inaccurate projected close dates. When this is exposed through data, reps can work to improve. Pipeline accuracy allows sales leaders to better project sales, which enables better financial forecasting. Accurate financial forecasting is critical for organizations to make big decisions and to secure capital to grow.
Great analytics can make a huge impact on your sales effectiveness, but it requires support by leadership. Your organization needs buy-in from leadership to make data-driven decisions, and leaders must instill discipline among sales teams to use and track data. They must also be committed to investing in a strong data infrastructure and the tools needed for better sales analysis.
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