With buzzwords like “Big Data” and “Business Intelligence” used liberally by seemingly every company, you could be forgiven for thinking that your organization is the only one left not throwing its hat into this sphere.
You’d be wrong.
Most companies are still well behind the analytics curve. Some are implementing “Big Data” initiatives to analyze their data, without any real idea of what they’re looking for or what the phrase even means. Others might be priced out by the legacy business intelligence platforms designed for large enterprises. Worst of all, many companies are simply unconcerned with the whole concept of analytics, believing that their tried-and-true traditional ways of doing business are sufficient. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke…”
Well, any company not operating with a heavy dose of sales analytics or marketing metrics are missing out on a chance to gain a great competitive advantage. With the right application and analysis – and by acting on the actionable insights gleaned from their metrics – data-driven companies can really stand out amongst the crowd. They can improve both their efficiency and their effectiveness in many different aspects.
Why Stab in the Dark when you can Shine a Light?
Take sales forecasting, for instance. The sales forecasting methods at most traditional companies involve a healthy dose of sales rep intuition and a whole lot of guessing. That is not the answer to predictable, scalable revenue. On the other hand, a data-driven sales forecast that…
takes into account historical sales stage conversion rates
monitors the opportunity pipeline in real-time
flags known “forecast killers” to avoid skewing the data
tracks opportunity changes, such as close date moves or increases in value
…will be much more accurate. Applying these various sales performance metrics and performing cross-object analysis will produce a data-driven sales forecast that you can confidently rely on. Having such an accurate sales forecast will give you a significant edge over your competitors who are still relying on the gut feel of their sales reps.
Or consider the pressure that Marketing VPs face from their CEOs, in terms of demonstrating the impact of their efforts or maximizing their returns on investment (ROI). Without the use of marketing metrics, that conversation with the CEO will largely consist of hemming and hawing about leads, campaigns or some other marketing jargon. With the right marketing metrics, however, Marketing VPs can…
Demonstrate marketing’s exact contributions to the opportunity pipeline
Draw direct links between specific deals and marketing’s efforts
Analyze their various campaigns to determine which are the most effective, and which produce the best ROI (music to the CEO’s ears)
Track their lead trajectory to see if they are on pace for monthly lead generation goals
Imagine how much more effective that Marketing VP will be when armed with such powerful marketing metrics and reports. Having these capabilities in his or her toolbox enables them to not only be better at their jobs, but also in proving their impact to the CEO.
Analytics for Sales VPs AND Sales Reps
Another common misconception about sales analytics is that it exists solely in the domain of C-level executives, with down-in-the-trenches sales reps unable to take advantage of its potential. On the contrary, sales analytics work best when it is democratized, accessible and goes all the way down to the sales rep level. Show them how they stand to benefit directly and they will buy-in and embrace sales analytics with open arms.
It’s hard to argue with the facts, which is why it is critical to coach with sales metrics. Let’s say that one of your sales reps is in a prolonged slump, unable to progress their opportunities all the way down to the bottom of the funnel. Sales funnel metrics on that individual rep will reveal where the bottleneck is occurring. Is that rep seeing a significant drop-off in the early stages? Perhaps they should be qualifying more stringently at the top. Does the rep have a poor conversion rate at the demo phase? Maybe more coaching effort should be focused on improving product demos.
Sales analytics are also tremendous for improving motivation and transparency. Make all reports available to all employees at every level on a regular basis. Each sales rep should know exactly how many calls they have made in relation to their colleagues, how many opportunities each team member has sourced, and how many bookings each person has made. This has the dual-effect of promoting transparency – so that underperforming employees can’t hide – while also motivating others. After all, nobody wants to lag significantly behind their peers.
These are but a handful of the ways in which working with sales analytics and marketing metrics can deliver a powerful and sustainable competitive advantage. Don’t fall further behind the curve – dive into sales analytics and marketing metrics ASAP!