You’ve Been Doing Sales Analytics Wrong. Here’s What to Do Instead

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Without question, sales analytics is a must for driving sales.  

The motivation is clear: instead of making vague observations such as we must improve here or that is not up to the mark, quantifying or measuring performance enables a sales team to pinpoint areas of concern, and take definitive steps to make improvements.  

Unsurprisingly, the use of tools that enable sales and sales analytics has increased by 40%, in the last three years. The market for data analytics in the US alone is estimated to be worth more than $275 billion by 2022.  

However, despite the meteoric rise in data analytics solutions and increasing adoption of sales analytics tools, sales teams have been unable to get the most out of them. This is because they —  

  • Ask the wrong questions 
  • Lack a defined strategy  
  • Measure data incorrectly  
  • Communicate poorly  

Many teams, in fact, are not even aware of the problem in the first place! Which is worse! Here is how sales teams ought to use sales analytics to unleash their full potential.  

The right questions 

To ask the right questions is to set the right objectives. Even the most potent sales analytics tool can be unproductive if sales teams don’t know what they are looking for.  

The right objectives are products of well-built and meaningful collaborations.  

First, sales heads must effectively collaborate with product developers and marketers to gain a deep understanding of what customers want and what are their pain points are. The insights inform their sales pitch, which focuses on meeting their expectations and eliminating those pain points. 

Second, sales heads must collaborate with the IT department to design business intelligence tools that make sales analytics as seamless as possible. The tools must be tailored and built around the objectives identified above and make sales monitoring, analysis, and forecasting as efficient as possible.  

But it all starts with the right questions.  

A defined strategy  

A defined plan prevents sales teams from taking unnecessary risks. And by taking fewer unnecessary risks or engaging in fewer unproductive routines, sales teams get more bang for their buck.  

As for how a defined strategy improves sales analytics, a plan or algorithm imparts structure to the entire operation. Asking the right questions, for example, could be the first step of the plan. Followed by — 

  • Collection and monitoring of data 
  • Analysis  
  • Learning 
  • Communicating 
  • Acting/Improving 
  • Measuring  

And repeat.  

If the right objectives answer what is it that you are looking for, a defined strategy describes what is it that you should do. And when. And how.  

Don’t put out fires. Take control. 

Measure data incorrectly 

The best plans are incredibly detailed.  

The steps, for example, highlighted above form a very high-level plan. In reality, each operation is further broken down into multiple smaller operations.  

The greater the operations, the more granular the data, and, therefore, the higher the quality of sales data. The result is much-improved sales analytics.  

The implication is deeper than you think.  

Yes, high-quality data makes for more accurate measurements, which makes for more accurate predictions.  

However, the real breakthrough for sales teams ought to be their much layered and deeper understanding of the sales funnel, which enables them to make better strategic decisions.  

And hence, before investing in data management, sales teams must invest in data governance, the infrastructure or foundation on which all data-driven structures are built.  

Good communication 

Learning cannot translate into action without communication.  

Sales teams have so much to gain from sales analytics, but a lot of it goes untapped when inferences are poorly communicated.  

Poor communication can undo all the good work of sales analytics since it, in fact, encourages sales teams to take unnecessary risks.  

And hence, the most successful companies invest in data visualization solutions, which, as the name suggests, visualize findings and reports, making them more accessible and easier to comprehend.   

And that is sales analytics done right.