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Sales Analytics Software and CRM Solutions
Blog / Sales Management / Aug 27, 2013 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 3725 

Sales Analytics Software and CRM Solutions

Sales Analytics SoftwareAre you looking for a sales analytics software?

Do you need to run a proper sales analytics and sales forecasting reports?

A company cannot function without proper sales analytics and sales forecasting—yet many certainly try. A common model is to hold regular meetings between sales reps and a sales manager so that a sales forecast can be worked out. The forecast is then put together by the sales manager, and forwarded onto company executives.

But on what is this sales forecast based? What sales analytics actually went into it? On close inspection, it will be found that a lot of it is based on sales rep instinct or “educated guess.” This methodology leaves a lot of room for error and often results in a sales forecast that is off by a considerable margin.

There are certainly more accurate ways to work out a sales forecast. But the most consistent and positive is with a CRM solution that includes accurate sales analytics that will show you the facts of the matter, every time.

Proper Balance

A sales forecast could be defined as “a proper balance between risk and opportunity.” You obviously want the least amount of risk for the most amount of opportunity.

A CRM solution with intelligent sales analytics will allow the calculation of risk versus reward, sale-by-sale. If each sale is rated by an agreed-upon-system within a company, this then makes it possible for an overall forecast to be conducted which will then give a more accurate picture of sales in the pipeline and their likely results.

Additionally, such a system allows prioritizing sales actions—visits, calls, emails and so on—to be done with much more confidence on a daily basis.

Sales Analytics Software and Its Real-Time Data

An intuitive CRM solution makes it possible for other real-time data to be gathered. For example, this data includes elements such as average length of time at a particular step of the sales process (pipeline) which will give you the length of time it should take for a sale to move onto the next step. Summated, this data is also of great assistance in figuring sales velocity and creating a more accurate forecast.

Another factor is that of closing ratio—which could be calculated as an overall average for the sales team, for each sales rep and even for separate product lines. As such ratios change constantly, this would also be real-time data that would be calculated into the forecast.

Sales Rep Performance

A key element of a sales manager’s job is evaluating sales rep performance. Unfortunately this, like sales forecasting, is often done with a measure of guesswork. Human elements such as rumor, slander, or (in an opposite way) favoritism or unjust recognition can certainly play their parts as well.

The more accurate the CRM solution, the less guesswork and emotional issues figure into sales rep evaluation.

They are judged strictly on the merits of their work—what they are moving along their pipelines and actually closing.

This type of functionality also gives the sales manager the capacity to “look don’t listen”—with precise and complete data to hand, the sales manager cannot be swayed for the positive or negative by verbal or opinionated accounts of sales activity.

Empowering Sales Reps

While sales analytics and sales forecasting are often used to keep an eye on sales reps and make sure they are meeting quotas, a flexible, intuitive CRM solution with precise and usable sales analytics actually makes it possible for sales reps to be greatly empowered. The best possible person to perform a sales forecast for a particular sales rep is that sales rep. Nobody knows their particular pipelines as well as they do. Given accurate, powerful and rapid tools, salespeople themselves can create forecasts and gain far more ability to manage their pipelines (by plezia). In a truly advanced scenario, the sales reps could even forward forecasts onto their sales managers, allowing sales managers to simply compile, modify and forward the forecasts so created.

The more accurate a company’s ability to perform sales analytics and forecasting, the better that company is going to be at meeting its sales goals, and perform in its market and industry. That ability is best brought about through a robust, flexible and intuitive CRM solution.

Watch for more articles in our series on sales analytics and sales forecasting.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

Author's Publications on Amazon

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