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    Sales managers: use data to lead your team to victory


    Professional football coaches are ferocious users of data.  They repeatedly watch replays analyzing every detail, they know the statistics of every player on the field and they are aware of how opponents tactfully use their players.  This information helps coaches develop plays that produce touchdowns, gain yards, and lead their team to victory. If you're a sales manager, see how you can use data to lead a high performing team.

    As a sales manager, you are the coach and should be just as diligent in using data.  Sales managers that use data can improve their decision making and coaching skills, take advantage of opportunities and improve customer retention. 

    Here is why data driven sales managers are successful:

    They make better decisions

    A manager may have great intuition but emotions sometimes flaw intuition and lead to an inherent bias. Data driven sales managers are said to have a better performing team, more objective performance and improvement measures and better pipeline visibility. At the software company, Zendesk, senior director of sales, Stephan Blendstrup has a data first philosophy, stating - "We don't make any decisions without data."

    In addition, a CIO Insights report claims that "58% of sales reps are struggling to meet their quotas, and 40% of respondents said that scattered information and limited visibility into data were hurting sales performance." In sales, better decisions come from knowing the statistics and understanding the anticipated outcome. A sales manager that is armed with data has the power to lead a winning team.

    They can identify the qualities of leading sales performers

    Determining who your leading sales representative is may be as easy as identifying the person that exceeds their goals consistently.  Determining how they do this is more complicated.  By studying data from activities such as contact frequency with a prospect and analyzing your team’s emails, a sales manager can determine the qualities of a good sales representative and impart those activities on other representatives in their team.

    They can be a more effective coach 

    According to the Corporate Executive Board, coaching has the potential to “increase overall sales team success by up to 19%.”  Effective sales managers look at Key Performance Indicators (KPI) as a way to develop their team and encourage their staff to produce results.  According to QStream, a sales manager can start by “defining the desired results, tied to a sales objective, and the activities most likely to get them there.” With this information, the sales manager can coach a team member to increase the quality of sales calls, develop more personal relationships, or focus on transactions that have reached certain buying stages.

    They know what potential customers want

    Consumer buying habits are changing.  For example, during the 2005 Christmas season, sales increased on the Monday following Black Friday leading to the term, Cyber Monday. This was no accident.  Shop.org surveyed 1890 consumers, and more than one-third said they would shop online while at work on Monday.  Capitalizing on that, retailers offered promotions and discounts to encourage online sales during working hours.  They noticed a 77% increase in sales the Monday after Black Friday. Sales managers must stay attune to customer trends and keep abreast of data relating to customer buying habits. 

    Sales managers can also use data to work closely with the marketing team on the next big campaign. A sales manager that presents suggestions backed by data or fact driven information can help your team get support for the campaign it needs to make the next big sale.

    They know their customers

    Knowing what customers want can increase customer retention.  For example, Starbucks implemented their My Starbucks Rewards program offering perks to card holders. In return, the program processes over 25% of sales and creates a massive opportunity for consumer data collection. Recently, they implemented a pre-order system, allowing customers to order and pay online before they arrive at the nearest Starbucks adding convenience to their experience.  According to CIO Magazine, Starbucks are working on creating a more personalized experience that will give baristas the ability to greet customers by name, display their usual order, and show their favorite treat, all before reaching the drive thru window.  This experience will be available at all Starbucks including those that the customer has never visited. With the data that is being created, sales managers have even more data driven insights available to them which can help their team make the next sale.

    One of the reasons sales managers don’t rely on data is that gathering the information can be time consuming and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.  Phocas has solutions that make data driven sales management easy.  Our analytics software breaks down data into dashboards that help managers see what is working and what is not, giving them the ability to make better decisions.

    It allows managers to monitor their sales team so they can coach and develop their team. They can access the data anywhere, any time, with any internet accessible device.  Finally, automatic updates give accurate, real-time information.  If you want to lead your team to victory, data driven sales management with Phocas sales analytics software can help you.

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