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Transforming sales with data and analytics 

Sales is an area with huge potential for data driven excellence, and yet often when working with customers we find sales organisations and sales leaders are finding it difficult to get a consistent view of qualitative performance, and have to rely on traditional measures and metrics which might not tell the whole story.

We have proven that data driven sales leaders and teams using sales analytics solutions, with consolidated data and predictive capabilities, in their daily processes can achieve significant results such as:

  • 15% increase in revenue 
  • 100% increase in average deal sizes
  • 40% increase in pipeline quality and health
  • Reduction in cost of sales through more effective resource usage

Situation 

Through our work with sales leaders at major enterprises, we've found they often struggle to get a clear, coherent and comprehensive view of sales function performance across the full range of the marketing, sales and revenue recognition processes, which prevents them from making informed decisions on how to allocate their resources and time to give them the best results.  Challenges we have identified through working together with our customers include:

  • Difficulties with data cleanliness and quality (or data honesty in the case of some sales people...)
  • Issues with combining data from marketing, finance and operations to get a full picture
  • Scarcity of time at the management level to coach operatives on a 1-1 basis
  • Labour intensive, manual reporting process
  • Predicting success of deals or opportunities depending on resources allocated

These problems become even more pronounced when working across multiple business units, product groups, geographies and teams, severely impacting on sales leader's capability to drive excellence.

Solution

Its possible to overcome these challenges through the use of data and analytics, and empower sales leaders to make a real difference.  We've worked with global sales leaders in financial services, telecommunications and manufacturing to build analytics solutions and every time we've been able to succeed in making data work for them.

Efficiency

By bringing together and consolidating CRM and sales data from across the organisation, applying consistent measures, and visualising them rapidly on a clear dashboard, we're able to give sales leaders an automated view of performance without the need for manual reports consolidation.  This provides at-a-glance performance management enabling accurate and rapid decision making around performance management.

We do this using our rapid data preparation techniques designed to quickly bring together and clean data sets without lengthy IT involvement, and our data storytelling tools and techniques to visualise it in a meaningful way.

Often we can demonstrate value to customers just by getting validated answers to simple questions like:

  • What have we sold?  Who have we sold to?  Who sold it?
  • What are we selling?  Who are we selling to?  Who is selling it to them?

That's before we start asking about what should we be selling, who should we be selling it to, and who should be selling it.

Effectiveness and Coaching

Once you have consistent measures and metrics, we're able to add a range of other analyses and data sets to get the insights behind the top level performance data.  Overlaying qualitative data at this point can help to draw out the behaviours and attributes of top performers, using patterns in the data and processes available to us to get to the "how" and "why" of top performers, and use those insights to coach the not-so-successful performers.

Identifying the highest value coaching opportunities and where to focus their time was one of the biggest challenges sales leaders described to us across industries, and being able to quickly identify patterns in the data that show those enables them to focus in on those particular groups to really understand why, and then target coaching at those that need, but don't demonstrate, those attributes.

By adding further data sets this can become even more valuable - including the marketing funnel to link sales to marketing campaigns, and adding operations and finance to identify the gap between booked and implemented revenue can really draw out the behaviours that contribute to excellence across the sales process.

Evolution of the sales team

As a result of this deep, readily available and timely insight into sales performance and behaviours, we've seen customers radically restructure the way the allocate sales resources.  Using advanced analysis and data science techniques, we can build models to predict the likelihood of success of a deal or opportunity progressing, and also predict the attributes of the sales resources most likely to succeed with that opportunity.

Using historical data, we can analyse success rates across a huge range of attributes such as products, customers, customer industry, deal size, opportunity stage, sales team, sales manager, region etc. to determine the best mix of resources to deliver the greatest amount of success 

This has enabled us to ask and answer questions including:

  • Which customers and sectors should we sell strategic product X to for the best success?
  • How much success do we have selling product Y to customers in sector A?
  • What product sells best as a follow on to customers who have bought an initial product?
  • Which sales team has the best success rate selling products X and Y to sectors A and B?
  • What is the percentage probability that a particular sales team will progress this opportunity?

As a result of this kind of predictive analysis, we've seen customers completely change the way they allocate sales resources to strategic accounts, moving away from a traditional sector, product or geography based allocation to a highly flexible and responsive allocation based on the highest probability of success.

Results

The results we've seen from driving sales excellence with data and analytics have been incredibly positive - based on engagements with enterprise, multi-national customers we've seen:

  • Up to 15% increase in overall sales revenue in markets using our sales analytics solutions
  • Up to 100% increase in average deal size and pipeline value
  • Up to 40% increases in pipeline accuracy
  • Reduction in cost of sales against revenue ratios

Approach

The approach follows our engagement model for workign with customers to deliver value from any kind of function or data.

We start with a sales-specific version of our Making Data Work Report to identify business value from using data and analytics to drive sales excellence.

Once we've jointly identified areas of value, we prove it with our rapid delivery approaches, using our cloud-based data preparation, data discovery and data storytelling techniques.  This gets working content in front of the people that need it in a meaningful way without spending too much time and money on platforms at this point.

With the value proven, we then pull together the technology, architecture, delivery, infrastructure and data requirements to fully implement your solution in line with your corporate production standards, and then we engage on a rolling basis to help you keep innovating.