Keep companies competitive with a data-driven sales approach
If you’re not tracking sales analytics, you are falling behind. Learn why sales analytics are crucial and how a CRM can change your trajectory.
By Donny Kelwig, Contributing Writer
Last updated March 25, 2022
When you think of sales analytics and metrics, do you only think of your company’s net gains and losses? If so, you’re not alone. Up to 73 percent of company data goes unused every year.
That’s despite the fact that more and more companies are talking about big data and putting substantial amounts of money and manpower into capturing that data. It seems the business industry knows data-driven selling is important—but doesn’t necessarily understand why it’s important, or what to do with that data once it’s collected.
Below, we’re going to highlight the benefits of sales analytics and CRMs, and then show you a real-life example of how utilizing sales analytics correctly can promote exponential company growth.
Purpose of sales analysis
As a refresher, sales analytics refers to any technology or process used to gather and analyze sales data. This data encapsulates everything about the health of your company and sales performance. Sales leaders around the world use sales analytics to determine KPIs, improve sales and marketing strategies, and forecast sales and revenue.
Different sales analytics can be determined and used in different ways, but one thing is undeniable: sales analytics are crucial to the success of your business. In fact, according to Forbes, sales analytics are “probably the most important tool a company has today to gain customer insights.”
Here are just a few of the sales metrics that you can significantly boost with good sales analysis:
Improve lead generation
Lead generation and lead scoring are all about identifying the right customer at the right time. By consulting previous purchases as well as demographic brackets (wealth, age, gender, location), lead analysis can indicate which prospects are most likely to buy—before your sales team ever interacts with them.
Good lead generation can also predict the best time to target these prospects.
In all sales, but especially in B2B sales, timing is key. A company may be interested in your product, but may be waiting on annual budget reports before moving forward into the negotiating phase. If your sales team contacts them repeatedly during this time, you might lose the sale because you didn’t understand their pain point. Data analysis of this company tells you when their fiscal year runs so that you know the best time to make your move.
In all sales, but especially in B2B sales, timing is key.
Certain companies that used sales analytics to determine lead qualification reported increases in lead conversion by over 30 percent.
If using AI technology isn’t an option for your company quite yet, you can still take advantage of data-driven lead generation through simple customer questions. If you have a contact information box on your website, you probably also have a field for “how did you hear about us?” to inform your marketing team. Right under that question, take a moment to add “Have you looked into (insert general product) before?”
This simple yes or no question tells you a lot about a site visitor. If they answer yes, they’re clearly looking to buy, they just aren’t sure about brand, pricing, etc. This is a qualified lead and should be followed up with immediately.
Maximize customer lifetime value
A lot of sales success hinges on converting leads into customers, but what about down the line? How does your company keep its customers happy? How do you prolong subscriptions or incentivize additional purchases? You do it with sales analytics.
Once customers are in your sales pipeline, it’s even easier to follow their involvement with the company, their purchasing habits, and when they might be at risk for churn. And once again, timing is everything. With an automated CRM, you can alert your sales teams when it’s time to contact existing customers. You can also plan for cross-selling and discount opportunities with these alerts.
With an automated CRM, you can alert your sales teams when it’s time to contact existing customers.
If you have a new product launching in two weeks, and it’s time to contact a wave of customers, keep the content relevant. You can capitalize on your message and send them an exclusive preview of your product, offer an early discount, or even offer a free version of the newest product if they renew their current subscription. This type of planning ensures your customers are kept in the loop, and makes them feel valued.
When you personalize communication, you build long-lasting customer relationships.
Increase forecasting accuracy
You cannot forecast accurately without sales analytics. It’s telling that 80 percent of sales organizations don’t have a forecasting accuracy larger than 75 percent. What’s even more telling is that 55 percent of sales leaders don’t have confidence in their forecasting accuracy.
If only a little over half of sales leaders believe in the usefulness of sales forecasting, why waste the resources on it to begin with? The answer, unfortunately, is that without sales forecasting, your company is operating blind.
Sales analytics is the key to unlocking accurate sales forecasting. When you track finances on top of buyer habits, you can develop a sales plan that accurately reflects your budget and your consumer behavior. For instance, let’s say you want to roll out a new product and you schedule the roll out for March. Based on revenue generated by similar products and previous launches, you assume the launch will generate $500,000 in the first month and budget your spending accordingly.
Sales analytics is the key to unlocking accurate sales forecasting.
However, with a closer look at your full analytics, you might realize that March is statistically a lower revenue month for your company. Despite your marketing efforts, your clients just might not be looking to buy at the end of the first annual quarter. You can assess that your launch will generate less than originally assumed since March is statistically a lower-performing month.
The results of successful sales analytics usage speak for themselves: 97 percent of companies that worked to implement sales forecasting best practices in 2020 achieved their quotas as opposed to 55 percent of companies that implemented zero changes. That’s a huge margin.
There will always be some unpredictability in sales forecasting, but the numbers prove that companies that use sales analytics to achieve more accurate forecasting see the gains in their accounts.
Gain insight into customers and personalization
Nothing helps you craft a better sales and marketing plan than your customers—if you listen to them.
We all know the phrase “the customer is always right.” While we may not agree with it, when it comes to sales, it is important to remember that “the customer is always the one with the money, so it might be important to pay attention to their wants and needs.”
With sales analytics, you can track your customers’ behavior and use it to predict everything from future budgets, to product success, to pointed sales. Customer behavior tells you when you can spend money because of when they spend money.
With sales analytics, you can track your customers’ behavior and use it to predict everything.
If you’re tracking your customers and you notice an uptick in repeat buyers in the third quarter, you can look at products sold during that time and alter pricing, add VIP sales, and send email incentives to make the most of natural behavior. That consistency of revenue allows you to plan for spending in the fourth quarter knowing you’ll have the funds to back up everything from expansion plans to product development.
You can also play around with personalized marketing and adjust based on the results. When you have the data, you can start asking questions like, “What made consumers open email B, but not email A?” or “Should we discount products A and B when B is selling twice as much as A without the discount?”
Making decisions as a business is never a risk-free activity, but when you know what your customers want and what they respond to, it’s infinitely easier to calculate that risk.
The data-driven sales approach
The tried-and-true methods of marketing and sales aren’t working as well in the modern buyer market. According to Harvard Business Review, in 2020, buyers answered a mere 1 in 18 sales calls and opened only 1 in 4 sales emails. These discouraging numbers deflate even further when you consider that only 5-15 percent of leads move to the next step in the sales pipeline.
In today’s market, you can’t afford one-size-fits-all marketing and sales tactics. Customers do their research and explore their options before they ever see an email blast, which means they don’t need you to tell them what your product is; they need you to tell them why you are better than the competition. They also expect you to understand their pain points.
The problem with the ‘all leads are good leads’ methodology is that not everyone needs your product—and some might never. Because of that, you’re wasting hours and dollars on prospects who will never buy. With the data-driven sales approach, you can work smarter, not harder. A smaller pool of qualified leads may seem risky, but at the end of the day, 30/100 leads converted into loyal customers is a much stronger percentage than 30/1000 leads converted into maybes.
Let’s look at a real-life example of the data-driven approach in action.
Sales analytics use cases
Standard Beverage is now the leading distributor of wine, spirits, and beer in Kansas, but that wasn’t always the case. Most of their 70+ years in business were as a distributor to local liquor stores. They thrived in that market. There was nothing wrong with their business—but in 2019, everything changed.
Suddenly, with the passing of Senate Bill 13, their stock and supply became eligible for sale to retail stores and supermarkets, not just liquor stores. Overnight, Standard Beverage went from 1,500 grocery and convenience customers to around 7,000.
To succeed, they needed a sales overhaul with an emphasis on communication, supply line, and forecasting. In other words, they needed a CRM.
Before this huge growth opportunity, the family-owned business didn’t have a centralized process. Most of their reps stored customer information in the local computer or simply “in their memories”—a true sales analytics disaster. With an influx of literally thousands of customers, there was no way to keep track of everything the old-fashioned way.
Standard Beverage realized they needed to implement a CRM, and this investment made all the difference. Suddenly, all reps could access the same customer information on any device, whether in the warehouse or out on delivery. Because of this, it was significantly easier to keep track of customers’ purchases and communications. And what happened? The once small company rose to the task of handling a 300 percent growth in customer accounts and 66 percent growth in sales reps.
This is a successful family-owned small business. They already knew fantastic sales tactics when it came to customer relations: they just needed the data to back those growing relationships up. That’s the power of sales analytics.
Unlock the power of data
Standard Beverage’s success came down to their hard work and their trust in a powerful CRM. That CRM is Zendesk Sell. When you’re looking to turn conversations into conversions, Zendesk Sell is the modern sales CRM you need.
We believe that data-driven decisions are healthy business decisions and it’s our goal to help you make them. With easy-to-use software and an intuitive interface, Zendesk not only helps you keep on track of your sales analytics, but it also shows you how to implement them. Not only that, we keep track of the latest sales trends so that you’re always using software in line with the current market.
74 percent of companies say that CRM solutions give them better access to customer data and allow them more personalized service. Now that’s strong data.
Request a demo of Zendesk Sell today and see how an affordable, streamlined CRM can catapult your business ahead of the competition.
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