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The Benefits of Sales Analytics Software

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The Benefits of Sales Analytics Software

For any Sales Director, the ability to measure and communicate your team’s sales performance quickly but accurately is essential.

Sales reports are a key feature of this process and sales analytics have become an important, if not the most important, element of any sales report.

In this blog, we explore what sales analytics is, how it differs to what data analysis capabilities might already be available in your CRM tool and the six main reasons why we believe it should be in your business’ tech stack - if it isn’t already.

What is sales analytics?

Before we dive into the benefits of sales analytics, let’s start by better understanding what it is.

Sales analytics critically combines business intelligence (looking back using historical data) and data analysis (looking forward using forecasting), and involves collecting and analyzing sales data to improve a business's current performance and predict future sales performance.

It helps sales directors and managers to better track their sales activities, identify trends and make informed decisions.

Sales analysis is important because it provides valuable insights that can drive wider business growth and efficiency. For example, by analyzing sales trends, companies can identify which products are performing well and which aren't, allowing them to make strategic decisions about inventory, pricing and marketing.

The link between sales analytics and CRM

While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems like HubSpot are invaluable for managing customer interactions and organizing sales processes, they’re not without their limitations when it comes to performing advanced sales analytics.

Many CRM systems only offer basic reporting features that are often not customizable or detailed enough to provide deep insights that sales managers require. This can make it challenging to analyze complex data sets or uncover underlying trends in sales performance.

Additionally, CRM systems may not integrate seamlessly with other data sources, such as ERP systems or operational platforms, limiting the ability to obtain a comprehensive view of the sales landscape. This can really hinder a company's ability to make fully informed, data-driven decisions, necessitating the use of sales analytics tools like Phocas Analytics to bridge the gap.

Below we outline six of the major reasons why sales analytics software has become such a crucial part of any Sales Director’s toolkit:

1. Sales analytics software provides a competitive edge

Done well, sales analytics can provide businesses with a real competitive edge over other organizations that aren’t yet realizing the full potential of their sales data.

It can help your business to respond faster, and more easily understand customer behavior. This enables you to tailor your sales strategies to better meet customer needs and preferences than the competition, which results in increased customer retention and lower customer churn.

Some Phocas Analytics users also use it to track customer acquisition cost. By having a better understanding of the total end-to-end cost of obtaining a customer, salespeople can proactively channel their efforts into the types of sales that generate the highest returns. For example, if e-commerce sales have a lower customer acquisition cost than in-branch sales, sales managers might look to try and generate more online sales opportunities by working with marketing to optimize the website and run social media advertising campaigns.

Leveraging sales analytics leads to more informed decision-making, improved customer satisfaction and increased profitability; all of which are critical to maintaining a competitive advantage.

2. Software that automatic updates

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.

Sales data analytics software alleviates this problem entirely, as well as the possibility of any error with manual data manipulation. For example, in Phocas, automated reports are ready instantly in a pre-customized format, and custom ad hoc reports can be produced in a few simple clicks.

A system like this that frequently updates without any coaxing or input from your finance or IT department is invaluable. Sales analytics software with an ability to automate updates 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.

In Phocas Analytics, you can also automate alerts so that users can be sent the information straight to their inbox on set days or times of the week, and view it without even needing to login.

3. Increase data accessibility

The ability to access your data and generate accurate reports from anywhere is essential to any business. Cloud-based sales analytics software allows you to access the same report on any device, as long as it’s connected to the internet.

With sales analytics software like Phocas, a smart phone or tablet is all you need to view your sales team's progress from anywhere in the world, and in real-time. This gives you increased flexibility and efficiency, both of which are vital in fast-paced business environments.

Greater data accessibility can also drive improved sales team performance as they’re able to respond faster to customer needs. For example, in Phocas Analytics sales reps can use the in-built interactive dashboards functionality as a visual aid in key account meetings and drill down into the underlying detail with ease, all whilst locking the view to a specific customer account to ensure complete confidentiality of business data.

4. Bring data to life with data visualizations

Talking of dashboards and visualizing sales data, sales analytics software is highly beneficial as it can help to transform static spreadsheets into clear and actionable insights, especially for less analytical audiences.

Visual tools like charts, graphs and dashboards make it easier for sales teams to spot market trends, patterns and anomalies, aiding in strategic decision-making and planning.

Most sales analytics solutions will come with pre-built dashboards as standard that allow you to see a visual representation of certain metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). However, these are sometimes difficult, or in some cases impossible, to customize to your specific needs. In contrast, all data visualizations and dashboards in Phocas Analytics are fully customizable.

5. Greater sales force transparency

Sales analytics provides greater transparency on the performance of your salespeople by offering insights into their sales activities and results. It allows sales managers to track key metrics such as individual sales targets, conversion rates and customer interactions by sales rep.

Armed with real-time data, sales managers can instantly see which team members are excelling and which may need additional support or training. Sales analytics also helps identify patterns and trends in sales behaviors, ensuring efforts are more closely aligned with sales goals.

Through all these features, sales analytics software will provide your sales team with actionable insights and help them make better decisions to drive profitable sales for the business.

Additionally, the software can also ease the constant burden on sales managers to generate sales reports for senior stakeholders because they can self-serve by logging into the sales analytics software, or receiving an automated alert via email.

6. More accurate sales forecasting

We frequently hear from sales managers that trying to produce an accurate sales forecast using spreadsheets alone is virtually impossible.

Sales analytics software can significantly enhance the accuracy of a rep’s sales pipeline by leveraging advanced sales forecasting techniques. By combining historical sales data, market trends and other real-time data from within your business, the software can generate precise and reliable sales forecasts. This allows sales teams to anticipate future demand more effectively and make informed decisions about inventory, staffing and resource allocation.

Accurate sales forecasting helps businesses minimize risks, avoid overstocking or stockouts and improve overall efficiency, leading to more consistent and predictable sales performance. For example, by being able to forecast sales more accurately, businesses are in a much stronger position to predict which months they might experience cashflow issues in the future.

Phocas customer, Savona Foodservice has seen huge success from combining Phocas Analytics with Phocas Budgets & Forecasts. Managing Director, Mike Morgan says:

“We've implemented monthly budgeting for the field sales team, which they have access to daily. And they're actually knocking on my door waiting for the system to update because they want access to that data immediately so they can react.”

 

Maximize your sales performance with Phocas Analytics

Embracing the latest sales analysis tools like our AI-powered Phocas Analytics is no longer optional but essential for any forward-thinking sales organization. By offering a comprehensive view of sales data through powerful visualizations, automated updates and dynamic forecasting capabilities, Phocas will empower your sales teams to make informed business decisions, respond quicker to market changes and optimize their sales strategies to drive sales growth.

For example, our new AI functionality allows Phocas customers to type any questions relevant to their own business databases, helping them fast-track decision-making and problem-solving. For example, a sales manager wants to determine the top performing salespeople across regions. She can ask Phocas AI “Show me top sales reps grouped by territory for 2023” and get an instant answer.

Phocas AI uses natural language processing to analyze questions and retrieve data insights from the connected data which is transactional data integrated directly from the customer’s ERP and other data systems; eliminating the need for sales managers to perform manual steps.

 

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Written by Rick Toepfer
Rick Toepfer

Rick has decades of management experience in data and tech. He currently oversees the Phocas strategic partner model working with key ERP Publishers and buying groups such as Epicor, Kerridge Commercial Systems, Affiliated Distributors, Infor, Sage and SAP. Rick is a problem-solver and connects like-minded people.

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