Believe it or not, data analytics has not always been valued by sales teams. Like many forms of enterprise software, the early days of analytics applications left sales teams unsatisfied.

Despite promises that data would improve business decisions, many users simply struggled with the complexity of it all, and found they lacked convenient access to reliable and accurate information. Even today, many companies still struggle with these same challenges because they are using legacy systems, which can only be managed by IT specialists or enable limited capabilities. As a result, they may have abandoned any hope that data is of any use to their sales efforts. 

Here are some challenges businesses face when they do not engage with data analytics tools.

Uncovering information is time consuming

In some cases, unearthing sales trends, threats, and/or opportunities is taking hours, and sometimes days. Sales managers are struggling with cumbersome Excel spreadsheets and complex ERP systems to query their business data, resulting in delayed responses to time-sensitive issues. The common sentiment is, “It shouldn’t be this difficult.”

Reactive sales culture

For many organizations, the sales culture is too reactive, failing to actively identify and pursue relevant opportunities. This can be a direct result of simply not knowing where to look, or what to look for. When data has not been at the heart of business decisions, sales can become a reactive discipline.

Unprepared sales teams

One of the biggest concerns that sales leaders have is that their sales teams lack preparation or valuable insights needed to have productive meetings. They aren’t maximizing their time as a result, and are offering substandard customer experiences. Companies of all sizes need to ensure that customer sales meetings exceed expectations, add value to both the customer and the business relationship, while helping them stand out from the competition.

Good data can help.

A well-armed sales rep that is asking the right questions builds confidence with customers and helps portray your company more professionally. Accessible and accurate data can help team members increase the productivity of customer visits by helping them determine who to visit and what to offer.

Limited customer knowledge

It is less expensive to retain a customer than acquire a new one. In fact, one study suggests it is six times more expensive to try and win a customer . Understanding customer and product sales retention is vital to the success of any sales team. If you're unable to quickly and easily review customer spend information, and identify customers that are spending less over time, you are likely missing out on sales opportunities and/or the opportunity to stop a customer from taking their business elsewhere.

There are many benefits of modern business intelligence, and below are two that justify the investment.

BI offers actionable data

BI provides your sales team with the right information to have meaningful conversations with customers. Sales representatives will have a better understanding of customers’ needs, walk into meetings better prepared to answer questions, discuss new products, respond to up-selling opportunities, plan orders based on current inventory, and quickly address concerns. Enabling your sales team with an easy-to-use BI solution with accurate, real-time data will make every sales visit count.

Make decisions based on fact

Sales teams rely on their leaders to help them work more effectively and efficiently. They also rely on sales leaders for guidance on managing various aspects of customer relationships. Business intelligence eliminates the need to make decisions based on gut feel which is often inferior to data-driven decision making.

Every day, you have timely and accurate sales data at your fingertips. The ability to collect and review sales data by customer, product, and sales rep, enables you with insights to help improve sales and deliver better customer service. You can also use historical sales data to plan for market conditions, and more accurate forecasts by accounting for seasonal demand, product promotions, dead stock, among other considerations.

Phocas makes sales management easy by breaking down data into easy to understand visual dashboards.  Sales teams can access accurate, timely, and reliable data anywhere, anytime to see what is working and what is not, giving them the information they need to make better business decisions in real time.

To learn the common objections we hear from sales leaders about using data, click the button below to download our Sales Manager's battlecard.

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Tags: Job Role - Sales, Strategy, Management and Performance

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