Does your sales team struggle with maintaining conversation consistency? Are you blind as to who your salespeople are having conversations with and the outcomes they are delivering? You need Big Data and Analytics!
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the term ‘Big Data and Analytics’ circling the office, they are two of the hottest buzzwords around. But in such a complex and dynamic business environment big data and smart analytics are more than just buzzwords, so what exactly is big data and analytics?
According to Dutcher (2014) there is no clear cut definition of big data in sales terms, but in short big data is the “collection of information at its most granular level” (Boire, 2014). This gives organizations the ability to take an analytical approach to sales to improve decision making, and ensure their sales team is one step ahead of all the rest (Harvard Business Review, 2014). According to McKinsey & Company (as cited by Forbes, 2013) organizations that have invested in sales platforms that build on big data and analytics have seen their sales team's productivity and profitability increase by 5-6%.
In our recent blog post ‘54% of all salespeople miss quota’ we looked at how management are currently faced with very little, and often inaccurate sales data due to a backlog of CRM data entry. But sales platforms that build on big data and analytics are now bridging the gap between CRM based intelligence and real-time sales performance. Ultimately, big data enables management to gain visibility into the entire sales force, and assist with the improvement of their sales team's productivity and profitability.
Better Sales Coaching
In order for management to ensure their sales team is a cut above the rest, salespeople must continuously up skill and develop. Therefore, regular coaching sessions must take place, and with a data-driven sales platform coaching is “easier, faster, and more effective. Today’s sales leaders can encourage better team behaviours in a positive manner” (Nijmeh, 2016). According to Nijmeh & Cernel (2016) sales managers the use data-driven coaching techniques have seen their salespeople’s quota attainment and top-line revenue increase by as much as 7% and 20% respectively.
Data-driven sales platforms enable management to monitor both team wide and individual sales performance via performance dashboards. Firstly, management can easily pinpoint star performers within the team and their successes in real-time. Therefore, team-wide coaching sessions can be focussed towards role-playing buying scenarios using proven best practices, so every salesperson can perform at an ‘A’ standard (Cernel, 2016).
Secondly, management can focus individual sales coaching sessions towards specific areas based on individual performance. Often individual-level sales coaching provokes negative connotations due to the focus on improvement of poor performance, and few ever want to admit that there are areas where their sales team might be underperforming. But this is exactly what sales coaching is all about, minimising poor performance through continuous upskilling and development.
As data-driven sales platforms record sales performance metrics in real-time, sales managers can easily spot areas of poor performance the moment they occur. Management can quickly intervene and arrange sales coaching sessions with little time delay. This ultimately reduces the chance of poor performance continuing. A recent study from the Corporate Executive Board concluded that salespeople who receive just three hours of sales coaching per month increase their individual close rate by as much as 70% (Kulbyte, 2016).
Sales Effectiveness & Efficiency
In today’s B2B sales landscape organizations must implement a sales process that the entire sales team can easily repeat. And it is of the utmost importance that this sales process is aligned the decision-making journey a buyer follows when making a purchase decision. According to Austin (2013) organizations that do so will have a sales team that is 33% more likely to contain high performers. With a data-driven sales platform this can be achieved and continuously refined through close analysis of sales effectiveness and efficiency.
Data-driven sales platforms arm salespeople with pre-loaded sales conversations on the go, and records conversation outcomes while salespeople are still in the meeting with customers. This gives management the ability to not only measure sales efficiency but also sales effectiveness. Management will be able to pinpoint the sales content that resulted in a closed deal and they will also be able to see why. Management can also easily experiment with new sales content, and quickly see the impacts and make any adjustments.
This removes ‘gut’ instinct from predictions on the causes of success as the sales metrics provide actual proof of causality which management can act upon, improving sales forecasting and decision-making. Management can coordinate efforts, plan for future expenses and investments, and estimate revenues in advance with accurate sales data, ensuring the highest return on investment is delivered.
As you can see big data and analytics really are more than just buzzwords, and should be a top priority for every sales manager. Ultimately, management can gain visibility into the entire sales force, and analyse every aspect of it to ensure their sales team is a cut above the rest. Arming your sales team with a data-driven sales platform that breaks big data down into actionable pieces of information is key, and in conjunction with a data-driven sales strategy your sales team can deliver an outstanding customer experience to every customer they engage with.