For sales managers, the ability to communicate about the progress of your team in an informative way is essential. In the age of data overload,  this becomes more difficult if you don't have consolidated data that you can rely on. The adoption of sales analytics software has grown throughout the business world because it allows you to set and measure sales performance metrics - an accurate reading of how you are tracking at any given time.

Sales reports are a key feature of this process and sales performance metrics have become an important, if not the dominating element of any sales report. Sales performance metrics provide the ability to break sales down into comprehensible pieces and allow businesses to examine exactly what is working and what needs improvement.

The adoption of sales analytics software is growing rapidly as the need for urgency and ability to change compounds. Below we outline four reasons why the software and sales performance metrics can improve the efficiency of your sales team.

1. Increased accessibility

The ability to access your data and generate accurate reports with meaningful metrics from anywhere is essential to any business. Sales analytics software allows you to access the same report on any device with an internet connection. With it, there is no need to worry about the accessibility of your reports. A smart phone is all you need to view your sales team's progress from a home office or anywhere. This gives you increased flexibility and efficiency, both of which are vital in high paced business environments. A quick and easy reporting interface will simplify your decision making process and ultimately, increase sales.

2. Automatic updates

A system that frequently updates without any coaxing or input from your IT department is invaluable. Sales analytics software with an automated update feature will always keep itself relevant and up to date. This affords you time, and the ability to report even closer to the deadline, giving you a more accurate portrayal of the business at the time of reporting. Often businesses waste their time preparing for a report days in advance only to have an out of date report at the time of the meeting. Data analytics software alleviates this problem. Reports are done in seconds and presented in a readable and customized format. The software also eliminates the possibility of any error with data manipulation. Accurate current reports let you make informed decisions to address your market accurately and effectively.

3. Increased visibility

The ability to see all your data at micro level is invaluable—especially at a time of rapid change —when you need to investigate sets of numbers more deeply. Most software will also provide dashboard templates allowing you to present a visual representation of sales performance  metrics scored the way they match your business and across the variables you need. The easily interpretable information allows you to make quick data-driven business decisions.

At Harrison Sauces in the UK, Priyan Dhutia the Operations Director says:

“I also really like the visual presentation because pictures speak a thousand words. To  have a simple gauge with a red, yellow green indicator makes a huge different. People don’t need to analyze the whole data set to tell them what's the matter - the headline information is just there. People know that the colour needs to be green not red. Phocas visualizations are simple and intuitive.” 

If you have time to sit with Phocas, you can work out exactly what’s going on in your business. All you have to do is drag and drop and you can get all the data that you need. It’s also fully customizable as well,” explains Dhutia.

4. Sales force transparency

Sales data gives you complete transparency and helps in mentoring your sales team. With the information in hand, you can put in place any necessary mitigating strategies such as cross-sell campaigns or end of life promotion. You have overall visibility on every rep's progress including their priorities, strengths, weaknesses and challenges. This will have a direct influence over sales as it allows you to subsequently manipulate variables to increase efficiency.

Through all these features, sales analytics software affords sales management unparalleled insight and helps them make better decisions to drive sales for the business. Additionally, the software eases the pressure on sales managers on reporting to interested parties. It is accessible anywhere and any time but most of all it has the added benefit of being consistently accurate. Reports will always be up to date and provide the most relevant information in the most interpretable format.

To learn more about including sales analytics to your business, download this free eGuide: Build the case for data analytics.

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The blogger is Rick Toepfer, Senior Vice President - Global Partnerships at Phocas Software. Rick is a seasoned sales leader who  has created the strategic partner model with key ERP Publishers and Buying Groups such as Epicor, Affiliated Distributors, Acumatica, Infor, Sage and SAP.

Tags: Job Role - Sales, Dynamic reporting, KPIs and metrics

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