I heard something at this week’s AA-ISP Regional Meeting in Washington, D.C. that truly disturbed me.
Typically, these events are a great opportunity to learn about best practices, industry benchmarks, and new technology to help inside sales teams and sales management executives perform at a top level. However, during an afternoon breakout session, an attendee raised their hand and asked the following question:
“I have 4 sales managers, but one of them is just way too analytical. He’s always looking at numbers and analyzing them. How do I fix that?”
A chill went up and down my spine.
It was a painful reminder of how far we still have to go in educating our market. While top performing teams and Fortune 500 companies have long been using analytics to drive improvement, many sales teams at small and medium size firms (the exact market we serve) still look at analytical sales managers as if they wore a Scarlet Letter on their suits. As a result, those skeptics are seeing that their bookings are lagging and their company’s growth stagnating.
Analytics are not a sales management ailment that needs to be cured, nor are they the wave of the future in running your business. You can go back to 1908 when the Guinness Brewery in Dublin secured a competitive advantage by running their process by the numbers. It was a secret at the time, but many high-schoolers now learn about it under the name “Student’s T Distribution”
Many of our colleagues at the AA-ISP this week already know this. Steve Richard and the Vorsight team constantly preach the value of analytics to improve your sales process, all the way down to an analytic call scoring method to help coach your reps. Ken Krogue from InsideSales gave a presentation that highlighted many industry benchmarks, with supporting data indicating that companies who exceed these benchmarks outperform others on financial metrics as well. Bob Perkins ran a session on “Metrics that Matter,” encouraging people to dig deeper and identify a narrow list of meaningful numbers to run your sales team by. Analytics are definitely a prevalent theme among industry leaders, with hundreds of other examples we could go on and on about.
Yet, hearing the question on “fixing” your analytical sales manager reminded me that not everyone is there yet. Some still view analytics as a forbidden and taboo Scarlet Letter. At InsightSquared, we’re excited about the idea of leading the charge and bringing data into every Board Room, team meeting, and rep email inbox. We still have a lot of work to get there, but as our company keeps growing, and teams run by sales managers who are “too analytical” keep exceeding their numbers (and outperforming the competition), the numbers will speak for themselves. They always do.