How to Better Leverage Data and Analytics to Drive Sales Success

I’m Ken Cross, Director of Sales Enablement Technology, working with our innovation team to bring the most advanced sales enablement solutions to our clients.

What are some of the biggest changes in sales?

Some of the biggest changes that we’re seeing is usage of data and data analytics usage to not only make the organization more successful, but also individual sellers. We can leverage data analytics to coach sellers on exactly what to do to move opportunities forward. We’re able to prompt them with smart alerts and other insights and information about their opportunities, or even their pipeline. So, they know exactly what to focus on to move opportunities forward, grow their pipeline, expand their client base.

How are managers using data analytics to improve sales performance?

For managers, one of the most consistent challenges we hear is that they just don’t have enough time. They don’t know where to focus their time and how to best utilize it. By leveraging data analytics, we’re able to show them exactly where to focus their time. For example, we could analyze their pipeline and tell them:

“Is the pipeline big enough?”

  • Is the quality of the opportunities within the pipeline where it needs to be?
  • Do they need to coach their team to create new or better opportunities?
  • Do they need to coach them to move their opportunities forward more quickly?

These types of analytics could help a manager save an enormous amount of time. Rather than just taking a report from CRM and trying to interpret all that data into insight, we help to provide them with the specific actions to take, based on what the data is telling us. We see this as the future of sales management and coaching.

How important is mobile?

There’s no way to overstate the importance of mobile and the changes in the seller demographic. But, it’s not even the demographic. I think everybody, at all ages and all demographics, expect the ability to pull out their phone and know exactly where to focus their time, energy, and effort. Even guiding their selling engagements directly from their phone is very important. We’ve created tools to help sellers be guided throughout the entire selling engagement directly from their phone, including how to interact and collaborate with the buyers.

How do sellers access learning?

One of the important components that we consider with building guided selling or smart selling playbooks is reinforcement. However, it has to be easy to access and easy to digest. We have a concept that we call NanoLearning. It’s essentially small, bite-size pieces of learning that are in the context of the selling process.

NanoLessons in Action

Here’s an example. You’re getting ready to have a discussion with your power sponsor. That’s somebody who can make a buying decision. You need a quick refresh on how to frame the discussion. For example, maybe anticipate what pains they may be suffering from, the reasons for those pains, and questions to drill into the problem to determine how big it is.

You, as a seller, may also need an idea of how your capabilities could help to address that problem. We think it’s very important to be able to quickly refresh a seller through NanoLearning. They can watch NanoLessons, two to three-minute video lessons, on how to conduct that discussion. This bite-size way of consuming information allows sellers to get it quickly. They can get them in the context of exactly what they’ll be doing and directly from their mobile device.

How can the tools integrate into other CRM systems?

CRM, for a lot of our clients, is the single source of truth. At least, it should be. We see enablement tools as being most effective when they’re able to connect, integrate, and be embedded within CRM. That way, sellers don’t have to worry about things like double entry or get confused about where to go. These tools are most effective when we can leverage the data in CRM. By also leveraging the data in CRM, our analytics are much more powerful because they have more data to work with, including existing opportunities that reside within the CRM database.

How can organizations begin moving their sellers into the future?

The first step in moving your sales organization to the future is to really understand how your sellers engage with their buyers. It really starts with understanding how your buyers buy. What type of decision making process do they go through? If you’re able to understand that, you can align your organization around how your buyers buy.

It really starts with the fundamentals of knowing what good looks like. Once we understand what good looks like, we can put that, process, methodologies, job aids, etc, right into the palm of sellers’ hands through mobile playbooks and guided smart selling playbooks.

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