How to Use Sales Analytics to Identify Buyers Early

Losing out on an opportunity can be frustrating. However, nothing grinds a sales manager’s gears like losing out on an opportunity where the rep has invested a great deal of time, effort and resources. This is why sales managers are always pushing for more stringent qualification processes in order to identify buyers early and more accurately, separating them from leads who are more inquisitive and merely looking to shop around. Being able to accurately identify buyers early in the process can also lead to more accurate sales forecasting. Here are some key sales analytics to focus on when attempting to identify solid buyers earlier on in your selling process.

Sales Cycle by Won/Lost

Comparing your average sales cycles of winning opportunities against losing ones is a powerful tool and one of the most critical sales analytics for sales managers to study. With this report, managers can get a concrete idea of how winning and losing opportunities behave differently. They can then use that information to guide reps on working with future opportunities.

For example, the report below suggests that winning opportunities typically spent an average of only 2 days in the demo stage. If a specific opportunity has languished in that stage for more than 2 weeks now, the historical data suggests that it is very unlikely to close. Sales managers should then instruct the rep working on that opportunity to reprioritize and focus his or her efforts on converting other opportunities that represent a greater likelihood of converting. 

Lost reasons by opportunity

Your sales reps should be logging a reason in your CRM for every lost opportunity. This will give you a broad overview of why seemingly interested buyers are not purchasing your product or service. If price comes up as a lost reason regularly, perhaps your product team needs to rethink its pricing strategy.

Where this information can come in handy when attempting to identify buyers early is grouping similar scenarios or like-minded companies together. If timing is a regular issue among your prospective customers, keep this in mind when selling to startups or newer companies – they might simply not be ready at that particular stage of their development to handle your product or services. If problems of speaking with the right authority figure crop up consistently, instruct your reps to dedicate more effort and be more persistent in locating these right authority figures, while also being quicker to sever connections with contacts who have no buying power.

Filtered Sales Funnel

Breaking down your sales funnel into various specific filters can provide a wealth of actionable sales analytics insights for sales managers. Consider looking at your sales funnel by industry type and average size of opportunities, for instance. If your sales funnel for a certain industry or market segment reveals that 90% of all opportunities are lost before the second stage, then you can be fairly certain that an opportunity that has advanced past the opening stage is very likely to convert. Similarly, if the information in the sales funnel report suggests that opportunities that are worth more in value tend to take a longer time in the sales cycle, you can afford to be more patient with these opportunities.

It’s important to use these various reports in conjunction with each other. The Sales Cycle by Won/Lost report might suggest one thing that is then countered by the sales funnel broken down by size of deals. If the former report notes that opportunities with long sales cycles are less likely to close and the latter one suggests that long sales cycles are acceptable for opportunities with large selling prices, sales managers need to carefully consider both. They can then use those actionable insights to produce the most accurate sales forecasts and help their sales reps separate buyers from non-buyers earlier on in the selling process.

Whichever sales analytics you ultimately opt to focus on, the truth is that identifying buyers early can prevent reps from wasting a great deal of time on the wrong effort. Sales managers will appreciate having more accurate sales forecasts and a more productive sales team that consistently delivers higher conversion rates on their opportunities.