How Advanced Analytics Can Help You Improve Your Sales Team’s Performance
Is a sales job the ultimate performance test? After all, success depends on the primary objective: selling a product or service to a customer. At the same time, management often measures a salesperson’s value with a single metric: the sales record. Everything else is just filler. However, advanced analytics will tell you there’s more to sales than just closing the deal. It’s about empowering the customer to make a decision that aligns with your solutions.
Advanced analytics can provide the valuable insights needed to identify each rep’s strengths and pinpoint areas where they can still improve. With effective sales performance management, leaders can make good sales reps even better.
How Do You Track Sales Performance?
Managing a sales team is a tricky proposition. Lead with a heavy hand, and you’ll find yourself fighting fires and addressing complaints of micromanagement. But let sales reps loose on the field, and you’ll hear accusations of not caring enough.
Management must strike a delicate balance between responsibility and empowerment. To do so means providing a clear roadmap of goals and expectations. Establishing SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) goals are a great way to set them in the right direction. However, leaders will need tools that can help track individual performance against various metrics.
Tracking and measuring performance against set metrics allows sales managers to discuss a sales rep’s performance objectively. Instead of just issuing general instructions such as “Give it your 110% effort” or “Go the extra mile,” leaders can point to specific areas for improvement—and use numbers to tell the story.
For example, managers can show how much time a sales rep spends on administrative tasks versus field visits. Or they can compare success rates with one target market versus another. In these instances, advanced analytics software can provide the hard data and insights that show a clear picture.
The Importance of Sales Performance Management and Advanced Analytics
Coupled with SMART goals, sales performance management allows managers to provide the right direction at the right time. Upon review of an analytics report, managers can call on a sales rep and pore over the data. Together with the sales rep, they can identify inefficiencies in the sales funnel. Then, the manager can draw insights and provide expert advice on how the sales rep can improve performance.
Sales performance management helps uncover many mysteries surrounding your sales team. Specifically, it can identify why both high-performers and underachievers are doing what they’re doing. Using advanced analytics, sales performance management can provide a number of benefits that lead to increasing revenue:
Track and Follow Market Trends
All sales organizations would be happier if market trends remained predictable all the time. Unfortunately, markets tend to behave like the weather: one moment, it’s stable, then it suddenly turns worse. Sales performance management uses advanced analytics to make sense of market behavior. By looking at an industry’s recent history, analysts can recognize patterns and determine the market’s probable direction.
Let’s look at how analysis works. Obviously, the summer season comes with warm weather. This means many households will turn on the air conditioning more frequently. However, an additional observation discovered that electricity costs will continue to rise this year. For cost-conscious households, a higher power bill might disrupt the family budget for months. So, vendors of alternative energy products such as solar roofs or home battery generators might want to ramp up their sales efforts during this time.
Understand Sales Patterns
Advanced analytics can also monitor and identify patterns in the sales team’s performance. Many veterans in the sales industry know firsthand about the hockey stick sales curve. Basically, this means that as the end of a sales quarter approaches, sales reps who are desperate to hit their quota will begin offering more promos and discounts to clients. The result is a sudden upward spike in sales that lasts until the absolute end of a quarter. Afterward, sales numbers will return to normal.
While these promos and discounts mean closed sales for individual reps, it also means reduced revenues for companies. Of course, no manager worth his pay would dare to remove these incentives at a crucial time. Instead, managers can use analytics to identify the most opportune time to start offering promotional prices. Rather than using promos as a panic button, managers can plot the best time to greenlight sales programs.
In addition, analysts can identify the right price point for both buyer and seller. Sell too low and you risk lowering profits drastically. Sell too high and you risk losing customer interest. But with advanced analytics, teams can determine the sweet spot for a win-win situation.
Boost Customer Service
The modern sales process doesn’t end during the handshake or signing. More than ever, the buyer now expects the seller to provide more support after the sale.
Thankfully, customer relationship management (CRM) software already does a good job recording every available detail about the customer. This includes purchase histories, abandoned carts, documented complaints and resolved issues. Compiling this information and running advanced analytics can help establish areas where enhanced customer service can increase customer loyalty.
For example, many customers expect some form of return for their loyalty. During milestone events such as birthdays or anniversaries, sales reps can give out personalized greetings that come with token rewards. This small gesture can go a long way in enhancing loyalty further.
In addition, sellers should take steps to present the right offers at the right time. Advanced analytics focused on a customer’s buying patterns can also identify which products or services would make good cross- or upselling opportunities.
Challenges to Tracking Team Performance
The great thing about today’s sales performance management is that it relies on measured and recorded data. In contrast to advanced analytics, manually tracking sales performance can be a difficult undertaking. Before, evaluations relied on anecdotal information on everything from reactions to a sales pitch to the probability of a close. Instead of adding even more guesswork to already vague statements, sales teams now contend with factual data.
What’s more, requiring sales teams to record their own activities can be very time-consuming. Administrative work such as filing reports, submitting field schedules and liquidating expenses already takes a significant chunk of a salesperson’s time. These hours could be better spent meeting clients on the field or prospecting for leads. Adding more things to do at the office can handicap a sales rep from getting more deals done.
Finally, there’s the question of data accuracy. Filing reports filled with anecdotes or opinions won’t help much during alignment meetings with managers. Similarly, when determining efficiency, managers might look at a sales rep’s time in the field along with the route plans. However, recorded data via tracking software can provide information more accurately compared to an unverified field report.
How Advanced Analytics Can Help
Collecting information is the easy part when servicing customers. Sales reps simply need to pay attention and write down each customer’s details.
Today’s sales teams also have it easier in the modern markets. CRM and other software can track and record everything a customer does online. However, that information won’t be much help if companies don’t look at it. Of course, nobody in the organization relishes the idea of going through mountains of data to establish patterns and generate insights.
Thankfully, advanced analytics software can do that job better and more efficiently than humans. Specifically, it can sift through the terabytes of customer data and identify trends. In effect, advanced analytics can see things and correlate data that sales teams might overlook. For example, analytics can identify the best times for companies to release new social media posts. By doing so, companies have a better chance of getting noticed by their target markets.
Increased awareness and engagement often correlate to better sales performance. When showing a presentation to clients, how would you gauge their reaction? Would you rely solely on your sales rep’s recollection of the meeting? Or would you find better information from the presentation software’s analytics features that track time spent on every slide?
Metrics To Track With Advanced Analytics
Certain sales metrics become easier to track and analyze with advanced analytics from sales performance management. These metrics allow management to identify employee strengths and weaknesses, threats from competitors and opportunities for improvement.
Activity metrics measure the effectiveness of sales reps and sales teams’ efforts in going after their clients. These metrics track not only effort but also efficiency. In doing so, they paint a clear and accurate picture of how sales teams and individuals spend their office hours in pursuit of the deal.
CRM software is crucial in tracking salespeople’s activities. When synced with the sales rep’s tools of the trade such as laptops, phones and service vehicles, the CRM can track and record data such as:
- Meetings scheduled and attended
- Phone calls made
- Clients visited, route traveled and distance covered
- Proposals or presentations sent out
- Administrative work time
Meanwhile, performance metrics cover actual sales-related activities. This includes all activities that are part of the sales funnel, from prospecting to closing. Along the way, these performance metrics will track the movement of prospects as they become leads and eventually clients.
Performance metrics include measuring the time spent on the following activities as well as their success rates:
Results metrics consolidate the outcome of each sales activity and track them against the established SMART goals set at the start of the sales period. These metrics look into the success rate of each salesperson and compare them against others.
In today’s modern marketplace, closing a sale is just the beginning. This is why results metrics also consider other factors such as efficiency rates and revenue amounts. They include the following parameters:
- Sales cycle length
- Closed deals and closed deals rate
- Average sales amount per deal
- Average order value
- Customer lifetime value
- New versus existing customer revenue
- Customer retention rate
- Customer satisfaction rating
In Today’s Digital Marketplace, Advanced Analytics Are a Must
Measuring modern sales success is more than just counting the money at the till. You’ll need a better, more in-depth understanding of how your sales team members perform on a daily basis. As a leader, using guesswork to ascertain where your sales reps are or what they’re currently doing isn’t an option.
Using sales performance management software and advanced analytics ensures you can keep up with your sales team. You’ll also have an idea of how efficiently they’re performing their tasks. More importantly, you’ll be ready to provide coaching or other assistance the moment it’s needed.
A side bonus of having software help is that you don’t need your sales reps to do the actual reporting for most of their activities. The software will collect the needed data faster and more accurately.
Ingage is sales presentation software that gives sales teams the insights needed to get a better assessment of their customer. A key component of Ingage’s interactive presentation is the advanced analytics features. Once a presentation is sent to the client or prospect for review, Ingage tracks important metrics such as Time on Page and Button Clicks to gauge customer interest. These metrics reveal which areas caught the client’s interest and which sections need improvement.
Learn more about how Ingage can keep your audience engaged. Contact us today to set up a free demonstration.