Tired of manually creating and reworking spreadsheets? Our Senior Manager of Product Marketing, Vincent Cotte, explains how business intelligence software can save you time and win more customers.

The area of business intelligence, or sales analytics, isn’t a new phenomenon. People have been mining data for decades. More recently, the age of digital has created a tsunami of data and this is both brilliant and frustrating at once.

Let’s focus on the ‘brilliant’ side of things as we think about how high-performing salespeople and sales teams use data to their advantage. They actually use it in two distinct ways for two different functions: understanding the customer and improving sales productivity.

Many businesses focus on the first – data about customers – and this is very important. Understanding changes in customers’ behaviour and needs is of huge value, and is expected in most sales teams.

If you turn your focus to the second though, you can see how sales teams can use data to optimise productivity. Your sales performance data gives you real-time visibility over who is performing well and who could benefit from additional enablement to reach the same targets. The team can ask those who are performing well to share their methods and to mentor those lower in the performance scale.

This also brings the conversation away from assessing numbers (business performance against targets) to improving outcomes (individual performance and opportunities for improvement). In the past, managers have spent weeks generating spreadsheets to analyse group performance. Now they can do it automatically and in real time. Which means pipeline meetings become a positive experience focused on helping sales progress deals.

As a result, performance management in companies is shifting from beating teams with a stick to focusing on improvement.

Focus on what matters

Great sales performers understand the power of data in highlighting key trends as they happen. The Salesforce State of Sales report reveals high-performing sales teams are 3.5 times more likely than underperforming teams to use sales analytics. They are also 4.6 times more likely to rate their sales analytics capabilities as ‘outstanding’ or ‘very good’.

This prolific reliance on business insights is what we call the democratisation of data, and it’s for the good of everybody. A strong data capability is an essential part of high-performing sales functions, providing a clear understanding of leading business indicators and pipeline. This transparency leads to more effective conversations about where to invest company dollars to improve key sales and customer metrics. Business intelligence helps identify where to invest in marketing for more leads, and in team training to improve opportunity conversion rates.

Useful data for everybody

Instead of only allowing managers access to data-driven insight, companies are starting to realise the advantages of giving every salesperson in an organisation access to their own reports – personal analytics! This lets every salesperson run their own business in their own territory and become responsible for their own success. Access settings safeguard confidentiality, and salespeople have the ability to compare their performance to their peers, and seek insight and direction from leaders.

And there’s another big win in this whole scenario of ‘analytics for everyone’! It frees up IT and analytics people to explore new sources of data to better direct the business. Suddenly they become more strategic in their initiatives and focus.

Do you have data in the palm of your hand yet?

94 per cent of the highest performing sales teams use analytics to measure and predict their performance. Register for our upcoming webinar and find out how to bridge the gap between data discovery and actionable insight.

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