As a sales professional, your chief concerns are the health of your pipeline, the accuracy of your sales forecasts, and effective sales coaching. The trouble is, delivering on those three goals is seriously tricky business.
If only you had a silent partner, willing to sift through your sales data in constant search of the information you need to keep tabs on your pipeline, generate clear-as-day sales forecasts, and demonstrate to your team members which areas they can improve. You could name this partner Milton, have him work weekends, and nurture in him an unhealthy attachment to his red Swingline stapler.
No wait, that’s an awful idea.
In fact, any human partner might be a bad call. As Joseph Sirosh recently put it “such human estimates are, of course, subject to individual biases or preconditioning, such as the relative optimism or pessimism of an associate.” Or in other words, you can’t trust human judgements. When making business decisions, a better partner would in the cloud, be free of bias, and derive key insights from powerful analytics tools.
Actually, I heard that Cortana recently made some extra bandwidth available. Talk about an upgrade from Milton!
All joking and Office Space references aside, if your analytics aren’t directly addressing your needs, you’re missing the boat. Here’s how a clear view of your data can help you in each of these areas.
- Better pipeline health. Forget starting over once Marketing hands you a qualified lead. Thanks to better data collection tools and a unified, cross-departmental pipeline, you’ve now got a better picture of every customer sent your way. Not only can you confirm the strength of your leads (and consequently your pipeline), you’ll also know exactly which aspects of your products each customer is interested in.
- More accurate sales forecasts. A better picture of each customer’s specific needs and interest level will also help your team forecast just what sort of sales figures you can expect. The same goes for your newly shipshape pipeline. Add to those factors searchable analytics tools that merge your internal sales data with market data and deliver real-time reports to your dashboard, and your forecasts are going to get a lot more precise.
- Informed, impactful sales coaching. In a coaching setting, the same analytics tool you’re using to gauge the strength of your leads can be turned into a sales actions divining rod. When you give reps personalized, contextual evidence concerning which of their practices have netted them their best results, you stand a great chance of improving their habits. You’ll also know which data to monitor as they take your new game plan forward.
If you’re starting to look at analytics in a new, sales-focused light, check out our white paper, Measure Your Impact: 5 key principles of analytics proficiency.