Sales Analytics, when done correctly, has great potential to increase sales and decrease costs. Successful projects have yielded 15% to 20% gains in net margins. This kind of success is achieved through:
- Automation of Sales Operations functions
- Better alignment of sales efforts to products and services that produce higher margins
- Better alignment of territories to sales reps and products
Unfortunately these projects do not always produce the anticipated results. This article will explore the reasons why and suggest solutions that will ensure Sales Analytics projects produce ROI.
- Management resistance: Information Week says “Despite what data might tell us, Fortune Knowledge Group found that 62% of business leaders said they tend to trust their gut, and 61% said real-world insight tops hard analytics when making decisions.” (Source 1).
- Unclear understanding of the needs of the business: Analytics Magazine says “Almost everything needs to be a business rather than a technology solution. Before companies start collecting big data, they should have a clear idea of what they want to do with it with from a business sense.” (Source 2).
- Lack of communication between data people and decision people: Deloitte in a CIO Magazine article says “Data modelers and analysts can do more effective work when they maintain an ongoing dialog with the decision makers for whom their work is intended.” (Source 3)
A common pattern emerges from these authoritative sources. Sales Analytics projects, like any other analytics project, fail largely because the technical analysts implementing them and the management who use them do not adequately communicate with each other. When this communication falters the analysts develop the tools that they feel are relevant to the business but in reality are not what business leaders need to gain actionable insights that will improve the business. This prompts the question, what steps can be taken to improve this communication between business leaders and technical analysts? Here are a few simple suggestions that will help:
- Select analytics tools that are business user friendly – this will eliminate the communication gap between technical developers and business leaders by relying on business subject matter expects who already understand the key drivers that management is looking to measure against
- Engage a third party provider of Sales Analytics solutions – an organization with experience delivering projects that connect the needs of business leaders with the technical capabilities of analytics products.
- Keep it simple – narrow the scope of your first project to a few high-value deliverables. This will eliminate unnecessary complexities resulting in a higher probability of success. A successful deployment will make it easier to gain support for larger, more involved initiatives.
Intangent has been a trusted advisor in Sales Analytics solutions for over 10 years. We are experts in Incentive Compensation Management, Sales Performance Management, Territory and Quota Planning and, Quote Automation solutions. We have strategically aligned our business with partners like IBM, Domo, Anaplan and PROS.