How To Improve The Sales With Reporting & Analytics
Justin Jarus of Informatica shares how to improve the sales process using reporting and analytics.
In this article:
- Justin Jarus: Principal Sales Operations Analyst from Informatica
- Passion for Data Analytics
- Reporting and Analytics
- How To Set Up Metrics for Data Reporting: Determine Your KPIs
- Paralysis by Analysis
- What You’re Doing Wrong In Reporting
- Importance of the CRM Software
- How To Determine Leading Indicators
- Drive CRM Adoption on Sales Reps by Using Data
- Data Advice for Sales Leaders
How To Use Sales Data Reporting and Analytics To Your Advantage
Justin Jarus: Principal Sales Operations Analyst from Informatica
I help design standardized data sets that the team can use to do their analysis on. I also find other ways to improve processes.
Before joining Informatica, I was part of a company called Dude Solutions. There, I started out as a Sales Application Engineer, then I crossed over to Sales Operations.
My background is actually on the technical side of database management. I have a passion for data — I like making it more accessible and unlocking the information that it holds.
Passion for Data Analytics
Why am I passionate about data analytics? It’s because I see data as something you can glean so much from.
When you are able to track the right items, you can do so much more. If you look at what you can do with artificial intelligence, you really marry technology with the human condition.
At that level, you’ll be able to guide yourself based on what has happened before, or your previous experiences. The way I equate it is, we all take the information from our past to color our experiences moving forward.
The same is true with data in the technical world. You basically use the data to create the information and make data-driven decisions.
Reporting and Analytics
A lot of times people want to start where they already have their artificial intelligence. Remember, though, that before you achieve artificial intelligence and predictive reporting, you have to be good at the very first step.
You need to apply the concept of “crawl, walk, run.” You have to be good at analytics 1.0 before you go to 2.0, and so on.
What you need to do is go back to the basics. Make sure you nail these down first before you move to the next level.
Then from there, you’ll be able to capture data in such a way that it’s useful. This is also applicable for when you want to track something new.
You can report the data you capture, get what you want out of it, and measure it.
How To Set Up Metrics for Data Reporting: Determine Your KPIs
If you want to measure the process you’re applying, the first thing you need to do is to determine three to five key performance indicators, or KPIs.
These are the must-have pieces of reporting. Your KPIs will serve as your guide in determining whether or not your process is succeeding.
They will also let you know where there is room for improvement. From there, you can figure out the supporting measures and information you need to discern how you’re doing in those different key areas.
In revenue, for instance, your KPI is the quota you need to hit. If you want to increase your attach rate, on the other hand, you would check who your top performers are with that behavior.
You’ll want to know who are those attaching multiple products. Then you can have a conversation with them that’s beyond, “We want to do X.”
Determine who your top performers are and learn what they’re doing to make other people successful. That way, when you capture what success looks like through the data, you can improve your team.
Paralysis by Analysis
For some, data is accessible, but they struggle to glean insights out of it. Numbers are everywhere, and they often end up wondering, “What do they actually mean?”
How do you start pulling out insights from data and figuring out what is good for your business? How do you act on the data you receive so that it becomes valuable to you?
These days, reporting and analytics are everywhere. You have metrics for every kind of piece.
It gets to a point where it’s actually more noise than being effective, and it becomes what we call “paralysis by analysis.” This means you have too much information to be really effective.
This concept also applies to the choices you make on a day-to-day basis. Having two to four choices will make it easier for you to decide instead of having ten choices.
What you need to do is to focus on what actually has a correlation to where you’re going, or the direction you’re supposed to take. If it doesn’t make sense, take it out.
If you find that you need it moving forward, then bring it back in and start playing with that data a little bit. Remember to always stick to the basics and don’t get overly elaborate.
The danger with going too far into the data is you can end up making it more convoluted than what it really should be.
What You’re Doing Wrong In Reporting
Now, what are the problems that people run into when it comes to data reporting? What are they missing when they’re trying to make it work successfully?
The problem I see is, a lot of times people try to make data more functional than report-friendly.
Take for instance the notes field. This is a common field where you’re saying all this information that happened.
At the end of the day, when you try to use it for data reporting or build any kind of metrics off of it, you’ll find that there isn’t a solid way to do that. You can’t pull out those keywords that really matter.
Anytime you can use things like a drop-down over a notes field is infinitely better, because then you can track it. You can control it and report on it.
Don’t get me wrong — natural linguistics programming and machine learning can kind of break down some of that. At this point, though, we’re not yet at the level where we can really break down everything and pull keywords out of it.
Validate the data in and of itself. Make sure that you capture the information you want.
Also, ensure that your sales representatives and marketers are entering the right information. You’ll have trouble with the data if your sales reps are not logging their activities.
Information from your sales reps is absolutely needed because, based on their activities, you can predict how to go forward. It’s about getting people to use the system to begin with.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Definition: A strategy used by companies to handle interaction and relationship with customers, with the goal of retaining them and increasing sales.
Importance of the CRM Software
Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is essential. If you don’t have the data from it, you won’t be able to get reporting right.
You won’t be able to really get that program going and up your analytics to 2.0, 3.0, and so on without it. As mentioned earlier, it’s about getting people to use the system, in this case, the CRM software.
If it isn’t in the CRM, it didn’t happen. That’s a powerful statement right there.
At the end of the day, your sales reps are there not only to sell. They also have a base salary on top of their commission, and they’re there to support the activities you need.
Even today, you’re seeing that data is being considered more and more as an asset rather than just a system for tracking. Data is the new currency.
How To Determine Leading Indicators
Leading indicators are different for each vertical and what you’re selling. They are a little bit tailored to each process because at the end of the day, what you track is going to change your leading indicators.
Typically, a lot of communication is a great leading indicator. Even progression-wise, like how long they are staying in each of those stages depending on how you have them set up.
All of those are going to affect what your leading indicators are. It’s about finding what matters and what really is that leading indicator.
This is where the data scientist can come in to help you find what the leading indicators are.
Don’t just guess on it. Use your data to find out what you should be focusing on because that can drive the outcome you want.
Drive CRM Adoption on Sales Reps by Using Data
Earlier, we talked about the importance of the data that come from your sales reps. This brings to light one of the problems that the sales industry has, and that is adoption.
It can be a challenge to have salespeople adopt the CRM software process and to get them to input the right information in the system. How do you drive more adoption, and can you use data to help with that?
The answer is yes, you can use data to drive more CRM adoption. You need to show sales reps insights into their own pipeline.
Then you can use this information to turn things around. You can show them the data on what they are likely and not likely to close.
You can also gently push them to get back on board with contacting those they haven’t touch-based with for a while.
As you can see, the data is there to help sales reps be in control of their business. If you give the same kind of data reporting to your sales reps as with your executive and high-level people, it’s really going to empower them.
The whole end game is to be able to put metrics and analytics on top of an account. Doing so will help you observe an account’s buying behavior, their product mix, and other indicators relative to that account.
You’re taking insights from the data and using them to improve your sales reps’ interaction with each account.
Data Advice for Sales Leaders
When it comes to utilizing data for the benefit of your business, my advice for sales leaders is to make sure they go back to the basics. Look for the core competencies.
Know if you’re asking the right questions because it’s not always about wanting to accomplish something. It’s more about figuring out the behavior you need to achieve what you want to do and determining if you’re exhibiting them.
Remember that when it comes to data, you need to get the basics right first before you can go on to anything else.
Data plays a big role in improving your business as it can provide insights such as how to increase sales. That is why making sure you have the right data information is essential. When done right, data reporting can help you solve problems and motivate your sales teams. These are the ways on how you can use sales data reporting and analytics to your advantage.
How are you able to maximize data for your salesforce? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
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- Xant Team