A sales process that maximizes the productivity of sales reps is the goal of every sales leader. To achieve that goal, the most successful sales leaders have turned to data – harnessing the power of analytics to get the insights and know-how to engage with prospects more effectively, improve processes, and increase rep efficiency.
Research shows that 57% of high-performance sales teams rely on sales analytics, compared to 16% of their underperforming counterparts. Further, Aberdeen Group reports that organizations using sales engagement analytics have a 36% higher lead conversion rate, as well as an 18% shorter sales cycle.
Analytics deliver integrated visibility across the sales cycle giving you a complete view into every stage. Every metric, from prospecting to lead acceptance to customer retention, increases when intelligent sales analytics are deployed.
Here are four key ways that data helps supercharge the sales process:
1. Identifying the most interested prospects
Data can show you which prospects are the most engaged, so that you can quickly identify the best opportunities. Because the first seller to fulfill the buyer’s vision has a 65% greater chance of getting a deal, this capability is critical for your team.
Also, it’s just as important to ‘get to a no’ quickly. It’s estimated that up to half of a sales team’s selling time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. As Sally Duby, recognized sales expert and GM for The Bridge Group, points out, “The faster that you can move on from someone who isn’t going to do business with you, the better.”
By quickly filtering poor leads from the good ones, engagement analytics help prioritize prospects – so your reps can prioritize their time, focus on the most promising opportunities, and simplify their follow-up.
2. Understanding the best approach to take
According to the Harvard Business Review, managers who make decisions using best practices achieve their expected result 90% of the time.
Prescriptive analytics help you identify the best practices and understand the right course of action. Data can show, for example, which email templates are getting the highest open and response rates and which pieces of content or collateral resonate the most with prospects.
With insight into what type of activities and what activity levels work best, you can scale best practices across your organization.
3. Measuring and monitoring to manage opportunities
The next key to productivity involves continuously seeking new ways to measure, manage, and improve how your team manages leads and opportunities. Consider the flow of touch points your sales reps rely upon to reel in their prospects. Email. Call. Email Again. Or should it be call, email, call again? Because it can take an average of nine touch points to engage with a prospect, the volume of such outreach, and the order of interactions, can have a dramatic impact on whether prospects actually become customers. And today, those analytics are available with the click of a cursor.
Tracking, measuring, and reporting on every conversion helps sales leaders ensure the team is optimizing interactions at every stage. Data also helps you identify how much prospecting is required to meet your goals. How many leads does it take to close a single deal? Ten deals? 100 deals? In politics, they call such intricate calculations a ground game. The ground game of your sales team is driven by data. Only by measuring data can you see what’s working and what’s not.
Engagement analytics can show:
- How much time reps spent emailing to prospects
- Which rep has the highest – and lowest – number of responses
- Which campaign got the highest engagement
Analytics also show you the likelihood of reps making their number – before the end of the quarter. If a rep says a deal is going to close, but you can see that the customer engagement data isn’t there to support that claim, it’s a red flag. By seeing your reps’ engagement, you can also identify areas where adjustments to their selling approach need to be made before it’s too late to make a difference.
4. Improving team performance
Data is also a powerful ally when it comes to maximizing the performance of new members of the sales team. Think about it, how much faster would talent onboarding be if managers had access to data that highlighted what onboarding techniques were most likely to reduce rep ramp-up time? Every aspect of training reps for maximum success starts with data flow. With a firm grasp on the tactical nuances of prospecting, engaging and closing, sales leaders can efficiently lay out the path to success—even providing proven scripts that new salespeople can use.
The time-savings enjoyed by sales leaders right from the start of training in turn fuels better coaching at every stage. No longer are leaders managing based on a hunch or by simply observing the body language of their reps. Instead, actual data provides sales managers a detailed roadmap that highlights where reps need to improve and where their strengths may lay.
More than ever, information is power.
Today, salespeople must engage deeply with current customers, leverage a variety of touch points, provide insightful follow-up based on insights, all while prospecting for new customers. In other words, productivity requires doing the highest-quality work at the fastest possible pace—or risking losing the sale.
Having access to powerful data gives sales leaders the hard facts and helps illuminate the right path to follow. With data, your team can know where their time is worth spending, and how to effectively sell to the top prospects.
If you’d like to quantify matters in potential hours saved and dollars earned, LiveHive offers a complimentary ROI calculator that prompts you for specifics about your organization and calculates the time-savings and increased revenue possible with an open, extensible sales acceleration platform. Answer the questions. Crunch the numbers. Then formulate your own strategy to power your pipeline. Data will undoubtedly provide the rocket fuel.
Salesforce.com estimates that the use of sales engagement tools will see a 65 percent growth rate in the coming year. Don’t fall behind. Leverage analytics now to power productivity and build the sales team of your dreams.
Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO for LiveHive, Inc., whose open, extensible sales acceleration platform empowers sales leaders with insights into the effectiveness of their team’s sales efforts. Suresh is a seasoned software industry executive with more than 20 years of operations and senior management experience. Before LiveHive, Suresh served as CEO for Armor5, and GM worldwide at Adobe Software. You can reach Suresh at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @LiveHive.