Marketing and Sales Levers2013 New Years Resolution – The Science of Sales 2013 and the Future of Sales Management The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and analyzing large data sets or Big Data will become a key basis for new product development, competitive analysis, sales productivity growth, and sales / marketinginnovation. This generates a shift that leaders in every sector will have to grapplewith the implications of big data, not just a few managers that are data-oriented. Theincreasing volume and detail of information captured by sales CRM, marketingmultimedia, social media, and the Internet will fuel exponential growth insales analytics for the foreseeable future.The use of big data will become a key basis of competition and growth for individualfirms. From the standpoint of competitiveness and the potential capture of value, allcompanies need to take big data seriously. In most industries, establishedcompetitors and new entrants alike will leverage data-driven strategies to innovate,compete, and capture value from deep and up-to-real-time information and thosewho do not will be at a large disadvantage.Sales Analytics is a New Discipline that in 3 Years Will Be Better UnderstoodCompared to other business functions such asmarketing or supply chain Big Data, the use ofanalytics (the analysis of Big Data) in sales is still in itsinfancy. However, there is a new desire to injectmore analytics into the sales process. The increasedavailability and sophistication of this new capabilitiesand the simple necessity are driving new sales bestpractices that improve the quality of data and resultsin a higher quality of analytics adoption.Once a company recognizes the potential of analyticsto improve its sales performance, its first
consideration is where and how to apply analytics capabilities across the end- to-endsales process, from customer segmentation and planning through to post-salessupport. There are many variations of sales analytics that can be applied at differentpoints along the sales process. As with most significant change initiatives, you haveto start somewhere. This typically means focusing the introduction of analytics onone or two places in the sales process.What is Your 2013 New Year’s “Go to Market Strategy?”Most sales organizations have a small set of New Year’s objectives to guide them intoa Go to Market strategy. If, for example, one of these objectives states “focus on ourlargest prospects” , you can look for analytical approaches that zoom in on thishandful of top prospects to better understand them, their product interest, and howyou can convert even more successfully. Analytics are often a way to take veryspecific action on what can be generic objectives.Why is it so Important?You may have an area that has caused a major problem in the recent past or that hasbeen a nagging and well-known problem for a starting point.You want to choose your starting point in those areas that are true levers for growthor that support your chosen strategy to pursue growth. If the company’s focus ismostly on cost, you might want to investigate your biggest cost pools such as thetotal cost of your sales force, or the money spent on trade promotions and channelprograms or the money lost in poor sales qualification process.Managing with Data… It’s Not Managing 3 Wishes! The last thing you want to do is add to the sales problem by forcing your sales people to engage in number crunching and analysis about their territory, their accounts, and their product sales. In addition it puts an even greater, non-customer facing burden on the sales persons workweek, it also doesn’t play to their strengths. Most sales people do not have theappetite or the temperament to spend significant amounts of time generatinganalyses. However, they should have the capability and the willingness to act on the
results and outputs of analytics-whether that means understanding and acceptingthat different prospects should be approached differently from others, or numericalproof of a specific sales problem or objectives.Selling with optimism is great, but it must be based on facts and insights. This is acrucial skill for successful sales professionals and will become dramatically moreimportant over the next few decades as market complexities increaseand analytics as a competitive advantage comes to full maturity. Just don’t ask themto chase those facts and insights themselves, which brings us to the importance ofusing a support function to do this for them. The Culture of Analytics Many companies have strong organizational cultures and sales organizations often have their own subculture as well. This culture may not be tuned in to the use of analytics and may experience it as somewhat alien. If that is the case, sales leadership should take action to encourage the acceptance of analytics and foster a fact-based culture. Leadership can highlight and reinforce the importance of analytics to include: Asking for Facts-Sales leaders can achieve significant culture change by simply asking for facts to back up assertions. If, in every key internal sales meeting or account planning meeting, sales leadership asks for hard facts every time an assertion is made, the broader sales organization will quickly understand that leadership is serious about this and will seek out the right facts and insights in preparation for the next meeting. Rewarding Use of Analytics-By visibly rewarding, even promoting, sales people who have a passion and a knack for seeking out and using analytics in prospect and sales meetings, sales leadership will demonstrate to the broader sales organization that analytics use is a capability important to their own success. While it is crucial to find the right starting point for analytics it is also very important to start developing a future vision of sales analytics to communicate
and work toward. This will ensure that the analytics journey has direction and is understood by the organization.Your Analytics vision could include a number of areas, such as:Product Bundling, Prospecting to Opportunity Analytics, Channel Optimization,Talent Management, Predictive Selling, Customer Retention, Pricing/ Profitability/Cost-to-Service Analytics, Sales Incentive Compensation, customer value, close rate,pipeline process, Cross-Sell/ Up-Sell Analytics and Customer Retention.Analytic Sensing is an even more strategic long term use of Big Data TrendsIt could also include a vision for a decision-making framework on how to incorporateanalytical insights into the day-to-day running of the business. Furthermore, thereare different types of analytics such as “Market Sensing Analytics”. Most of the salesanalytical areas described involve some form of optimization based on current orhistorical data and the killer of the Big Data Analytics… is “Bad Data from inconsistentdefinitions and practices. Market sensing analytics are designed to monitor andprovide insights on business volatility by processing large amounts of unstructured ornon- traditional data and spotting patterns in the data. These patterns allow acompany to get a competitive edge by spotting market developments earlier thanother firms.Big Data Analytics is the Key driver to the Science of SalesBy applying analytics to key areas across the sales process, an organization canprovide the objective data that can help salespeople make more informed, fact-baseddecisions, use their time more effectively andboost the overall contribution of the salesorganization. But the process for applyinganalytics to sales can be daunting and filled withmissteps. Adhering to these principles whenbringing a scientific approach to selling will help assure that new analytical insightsresult in meaningful performance gains, furthering the organizations movementtoward high performance.
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