This is the final part of the SalesQuants 4 part series depicting the benefits of building a cohesive sales analytics and reporting strategy ( Click here to see Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3). The same beautiful sales data that would otherwise collect dust in daunting Excel files could very well be the defining competitive advantage that sets your sales team apart from the pack. You’ll notice a theme of accountability, reliability, and consistency in our recommendations for best-practices. Our research and experience in the field of sales analytics has made it clear that these are critical indicators in determining the extent of the benefits and latent success a sales team could derive from their sales data.
To wrap up our cohesive strategy-building series, we’re discussing the reason why putting the effort into ensuring your process efficiency now will have you reaping the rewards that will just keep on coming down the road.
Analysts spend an incredible amount of time preparing various documents that they regularly produce weekly or every 2 weeks. To produce a forecast for the business, an analysts might spend 6 hours pulling it together while other ad-hoc, high priority requests might sit in the analysts’s inbox. But a robust sales analytics team/process/system would be able to work through the forecast must faster and would not be bogged down with plowing through Excel for hours while compiling the forecast. Instead, he/she might only spend 30 minutes pulling the forecast together while having significantly more time to devote to other, valuable initiatives that come up.
The analysts frequently support other organizations in a company, as they are able to pull data together from disparate data sources and identify insights into the business that no one else would be able to identify. For example, I’ve worked with sales and finance leaders to examine productivity of sales reps in terms of their travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses. I examined the number of dollars of sales are generated from each dollar of T&E expense, as this was a productivity metric I created. This metric opened many eyes in sales and finance since it identified the financially responsible and productive reps (and the ones that weren’t!).
By launching the productivity metric described above, sales leaders were able to establish T&E expectations and guidelines for their staff. Sales leader were accountable for their P&L’s and need to deliver financial results that make them appear to be successful. As analysts equip them with more valuable insights and data, the leaders are able to improve their business performance.
A reality of sales organizations is that reps come and go. The reality is that turnover can be high at times. And with new reps starting regularly, and sometimes frequently, the quicker they can be brought up to speed, the quicker they can contribute and be successful. Sales analytics folks are very familiar with the company’s sales process, and they are in tune with the forecasting process. New sales employees want to soak up as much info as they can as quickly as they can. While they get trained from corporate training departments as well as from their managers, I’ve had many salespeople tell me what I’ve taught them has been just as valuable if not more valuable than what anyone else has taught them. Sales analytics people are aware of sales cycles, various products, pricing methodologies, management pain points, etc., and can be eager to share with new reps to get them up to speed quickly.