There is of course the basic benefit of accurate sales analytics: accurate sales forecasts. With these, a company has a much better chance of meeting goals and predicting its actual future. But there are numerous other benefits which should also be taken into account, and act as further motivations for companies to move beyond the considerable degree of speculation that commonly dominates today’s sales forecasting.
Sales Rep Control
Sales analytics are normally used so that sales managers can create sales forecasts. As part of the sales forecast creation, sales reps are normally consulted at length regarding each of the sales in their pipelines, and they use their “best guesses” as to the likelihood of closing each of these, and when they think that will occur.
This use of guesswork obviously affects the outcome of those sales forecasts. Those guesses may or may not be right, and the accuracy of the sales forecast rides upon the accuracy of these speculations. As can be seen by the percentage of sales targets normally unmet within the average company, isn’t a truly workable system.
But what of the sales reps themselves? How well do you think they control the sales in their pipelines using only their “best guesses”? How well can they prioritize the calls, customer visits and other actions they’re going to take on any given day to move their sales along to the next step of the sales process, armed primarily with instinct?
Empowering sales reps with true sales analytics—such as those provided by an intuitive CRM solution—gives them a level of understanding and control of their own pipelines previously unavailable. Priorities can be set with much higher confidence resulting in more closes.
Benefit to Sales Managers
A sales manager will benefit from accurate sales analytics by providing increasingly accurate forecasts, and by being able to stand behind them. Confidence in him or her from executives above will certainly increase along with job security.
But there is another angle that is perhaps not seen: if a sales rep is capable of producing a complete, accurate sales forecast for his or her own sales pipeline, the sales manager is to a marked degree relieved of that task. If a sales manager is over 10 reps, let us say, gone is the necessity for regular lengthy meetings with each of those reps for the sole purpose of obtaining a sales forecast. The sales manager simply combines the sales forecasts from each rep into a single report.
What could a sales manager accomplish with this great amount of time now freed up? Instead of constant worry over prediction of future sales, time can now be spent coaching those salespeople to sell better. It’s a double-win: the proper CRM solution provides accurate sales analytics which in turn make for more accurate forecasts and increasing positive control of sales, and the sales manager is then able to spend that saved time increasing the sales ability of his or her salespeople.
Benefit to Financial and Senior Executives
The farther up the corporate ladder you go, the heavier the responsibility. By the time you reach the level of financial officers or controller, it is a weighty affair indeed. Stakeholders in the company—from board members to investors to shareholders—are looking to these people to be correct in their revenue forecasts. Those revenue forecasts depend, to a great degree, on the sales forecasts they are receiving from below. While these executives may not themselves make use of sales analytics, they will most certainly benefit from them. As they do, so will the entire company.
It can be seen that everyone from the sales reps on up reaps the full benefit of complete and accurate sales analytics. Implement them and watch your company soar.
Stay tuned for further articles in our series on sales analytics.