Sales forces have an incredible amount of data at their fingertips today compared with even four or five years ago, but getting insights from it and making those actionable is much harder. Sales leaders that get it right make better decisions, uncover insights into sales and deal opportunities, and refine sales growth strategies.
The big shift we see today is from the analysis of historical data to using data to be more predictive. Sales forces use sophisticated analytics to decide not only what the best opportunities are, but also which ones will help minimize risk. In fact, in these areas, three-quarters of fast-growing companies believe themselves to be above average, while 53%–61% of slow-growing companies hold the same view.
But even among fast-growing companies, only just over half of them — 53% — claim to be moderately or extremely effective in using analytics to make decisions. For slow-growing companies, it drops to a little over a third. This indicates that there remains significant untapped potential in sales analytics.
To start with, you need to have a lot of very smart data scientists to help you mine the data, and then you need people with the business expertise to translate that into something that salespeople can act upon. Then, the next time a rep goes to see a customer, he or she knows exactly who to see, when to see them, what to say, and precisely what to offer.