Using Advanced Analytics: Gain Insight into Your Revenue Stream

CRM Magazine, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Using Advanced Analytics: Gain Insight into Your Revenue Stream


Leverage People, Processes, and Information

Take Advantage of Existing Resources

LEVERAGING PEOPLE

A typical company may find that its sales force comprises 10% to 20% of salespeople who sell intuitively. These salespeople don't always understand why and how they are successful, and yet they often meet quota, typically self-train within 90 days, and are adept at impacting the market with new product offerings. The other 80% to 90% of the sales force does not sell intuitively; they function best when provided with tools, methodologies, and processes to execute in a consistent way. Because many intuitive sellers are not conscious of what they do well, they also may not know why they are not performing, and their unpredictability can outweigh their contribution. In addition, as managers they can't articulate why they themselves performed well or analyze the performance of another.

LEVERAGING PROCESSES

This is not to say that you should replace the intuitive sellers and managers with the more process-oriented sellers and managers--each serves a purpose. The goal is to provide a system that gives the process-oriented people a road map to the high level of productivity yielded from the intuitive sellers. You must also give the intuitive sellers a path to become more consistent and communicate more effectively. Leveraging a defined, repeatable sales process enables both sales and marketing organizations to drive consistent, and therefore more predictable, behavior and results. If your organization has a defined sales process, you can track your ability to successfully execute that process. You can also identify early indicators of where the process or adherence to it might be breaking down. Management can then use this information to make business decisions to improve results.

LEVERAGING INFORMATION

The methods for collecting information on sales and marketing activities have evolved in recent years. Top-performing organizations have learned to discard the outdated practices of manual calculations within static spreadsheets in exchange for advanced analytics. Such analytics allows key decision makers to view information in real time and then take appropriate action. These advanced methods provide business users with an intuitive way to move from analysis to insight to decision making more quickly. Additionally, when these tools are deployed via the Web, such as within software-as-a-service or on-demand models, the business user can receive value faster--without the need to engage IT.

Whatever your company size or complexity, your sales and marketing teams can improve their performance via analytics combined with business logic. Provided that each segment in your sales cycle has some identifier representing specific progress points, you can use analytics to measure the quality and efficiency of its execution. Consider the following scenarios.

Implement Analytics to Improve Business Performance Apply Analytics to Sales and Marketing

ANALYTICS APPLIED TO SALES: PIPELINE HEALTH

Scenario: Sales management has difficulty determining if there is enough potential revenue moving through the pipeline--and if it is moving quickly enough--to meet quarterly targets.

Analytics lets you create a view into the pipeline that reveals not just the volume of revenue in the pipeline but also individual deals, account managers, and actions needed to move each deal through the funnel. This enables sales management to learn earlier if that revenue will come out the back end of the pipeline and what steps are needed to ensure that the team will meet the plan.

Scenario: Salespeople are directed to "overfill" their pipeline because the manager sees risk in meeting quarterly targets but does not know how much prospecting activity to assign to make up the shortfall.

With analytics, you can view an "ideal" pipeline model and compare it with the actual pipeline. …

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