Can organisations train their sales force to use predictive analytics to add to bottom line?
As the business landscape gets more disruptive, customers more fickle and product lifecycles short, there is tremendous pressure on the sales force to deliver more and soon. Sales executives are expected to grow revenue year on year with fewer sales resources. In this scenario, the tools to predict where the next opportunity lies and close deals faster, at a lower cost per sale, can give any sales professional the competitive edge they need.
Natwar Mall, SVP, Fractal Sciences, Fractal Analytics tells us how organisations can maximise this opportunity.
Are sales organisations maximising the opportunity to use analytics for better performance?
No, organisations are capturing more data about prospects, leads, etc, but are failing to capture the entire sales cycle data. If you want to win customers, you need to harness all of this data – from within the organisation and beyond – to make smarter predictions about their needs and behaviours.
There is a lot of data but very little insights. How can sales use data and analytics to improve performance?
There is a lot of data being produced by the analytics and IT teams, however they are not solving the problem. We believe that there should be complexity in creating analytics but there should be absolute simplicity in understanding it. Data teams need to understand the pain points of sales and provide the right inputs to better business performance.
The best example here is the FMCG industry, here the sales team are scouring cities, covering 30-40 outlets in a day, it is impossible for that individual to analyse customer behaviour, but if they were given inputs about an outlet that tells them what products sell there, who buys them, how are buying decisions made that would resolve a lot of the pain areas. It is incumbent upon data teams to simplify data and present solutions.
Should organisations train their salesforce to use data? If yes, how?
Yes, they should be trained. However, firstly, this will need a change in attitude. Sales is considered an art, organisations should train them to understand that sales is an art and a science. Secondly, sales teams have to be given the right tools, can we tell an insurance agent what a high potential lifetime customer looks like, that will increase his conversion rate.
While sales is about communication, a lot of it is also about how you actively research. A lot of data about prospects is available in the social space and in the proprietary data of the organisation like the CRM tools, it is important for them to assimilate this data and gauge how to grow their business.
Please share an example of how sales performance improved by using analytics.
An auto and home insurance organisation was struggling with the quality of customer acquisition, even though they were meeting their numbers. They looked at their customers in the past three years and evolved data around – the range of products they bought and the length of time they stayed with the company and came up with ‘a life time value model’ of a customer. Using analytics they were able to build profiles to make insurance agents understand good customers. That led to a 10-15% year on year growth in profits. They were able to get high grade customers. In sales, time is precious if that is spent on a less effective lead you are setting yourself up for failure.
- Sales professionals can use data analysis to focus their time on the opportunities most likely to close, enabling them to efficiently manage their pipeline and provide more consistent results.
- By studying patterns in the past, one can predict strong opportunities. As a result, sales leaders are able to deliver more confident and accurate forecasts.
- By mapping common buying preferences, the sales force can prescribe new pricing and selling strategies.