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June 10, 2016
How B2B Sales Leaders Pick An Analytics Solution
As sales professionals, every day we look for answers to questions — and fast. Depending on the maturity of your sales organization, the questions might be very different. Smaller companies might be focused on building a new book of business while larger organizations face more complex challenges.
What Question Do You Want To Answer?
When looking for answers, many sales organizations start evaluating analytics tools immediately. This is not the right way to go. Before you even think about solutions, start by compiling a list of the most important KPIs you track, then consider which indicators show progress on those KPIs to establish your criteria. It might look something like this:
- Top 3-5 KPIs for the sales organization
- Top indicators on those KPIs that can be tracked frequently (ie weekly). It’s important to understand weekly change so you know if things are moving in the right direction.
Establish Internal Alignment
Next, decide on the level of detail you’ll provide on those indicators — and make sure everyone agrees with that plan. While sales analytics solutions can provide powerful insight and access, they can also open a whole new can of worms. Everyone will have more and more questions, all of which are important.
Take the time to talk to your business leaders about where they need better insights. Finding answers to every question isn’t your purpose, but it’s still important to consider the KPIs and indicators that matter most to your collective business partners as you evaluate solutions.
- Which key sales metrics does the CFO care about?
- What do your direct sales managers need to manage their business?
- What level of sales visibility does your product leader need, if any?
Where is the biggest risk to achieving my business objective? Ask yourself that question. Next, rank those situations. Now you’re taking a risk-based approach to your business. For instance, when entering new markets, understanding top of funnel pipeline generation, activity, and early stage advancement might be important. If pipeline is being created but deals aren’t closing, the risk might be in your late-stage opportunities. This analysis will confirm whether you’re focusing on the right KPIs and leading indicators.
Confirm Access and Expectations
As your data becomes more democratized, you will encounter more questions about access. Who has access: is it someone technical or someone who is not technical? What level of analysis do they want to do? How flexible is the platform to meet the unique business needs?
Most importantly, how frequently do your users want access to the insight? As businesses need data to be more accessible, getting insights one week later — or even just days later — won’t cut it. Previous sales analytics products would require heavy involvement from IT and weren’t friendly to the end business users.
Find something that is simple, easy-to-use and meets the expectations of end users. When it comes to predictive analytics, remember that your solution will learn from your data over time — so the sooner you implement, the more insight you get. To learn more about how predictive analytics can transform your sales forecasting process and overall sales execution, come talk to us.