166 Potent Analytical Tools for the Sales Manager 1

Potent Analytical Tools for the Sales Manager 1


What if sales managers had powerful analytical tools at their fingertips to assist them in creating more accurate forecasts by getting better insights on active sales opportunities and their sales reps’ performance? What if managers could assist their sales team in identifying new prospective customers who are the best candidates for marketing campaigns?


Here are four examples of how sales managers can leverage powerful Data Analytics tools, visual dashboards, and reporting tools to deliver greater results. 

  1. Monitor deal progression and velocity as well as the primary factors that contribute to the sales team’s win rate. 
  2. Monitor sales rep performance, including how they are building solid customer relationships and executing the proper sales process steps.
  3. When a new solution is being introduced to the market, work with the sales team to identify the top prospective customers for upcoming marketing campaigns. 
  4. Dive deeply into specific deals to understand the actual status, what challenges are in the way, and how solid each opportunity is. Understand how each sales rep’s actions will result in advancing and winning the deal. 


Here’s how one sales manager benefits from analytical tools:


Susan, uses a Data Analytics dashboard that dials up a current snapshot of sales opportunities. With this dashboard, she can stay abreast of:

  • The overall health of the sales plan relative to achieving their forecast;
  • How well opportunities are advancing and where opportunities are stalled as weighed against standard sales process steps;
  • How sales reps are performing against their quota and advancing deals;
  • The accuracy of the forecast based on a sales rep’s prior projections; and
  • How well sales reps are identifying new opportunities that fit the profile of good prospects. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on Empowering the Sales Manager with Potent Analytical Tools in the next briefing. 


165 The Need for the Analytical Sales Manager

The Need for the Analytical Sales Manager 


A sales manager’s success is highly dependent on the performance of his or her sales team in finding, advancing, and winning sales opportunities that generate revenue and contribute to attaining and exceeding the quota. 


Sales managers must monitor the actions of their sales team to ensure that they are effective at advancing and winning those opportunities.


Sales managers often spend significant time poring over their sales team’s forecasts and regularly report their revenue forecast projections to their executive management. 


But forecasting would be easy if it didn’t deal with the future.


Sales managers review the documented details of all sales opportunities in their CRM then conduct interrogations with each sales rep to learn the status of their key deals. This includes understanding the roadblocks that are slowing down progress, identifying what relationships are in place with key customer contacts, and other relevant details. Top deals are discussed at regular business reviews (or deal reviews). 


Too often, the accuracy of the overall forecast depends largely on what is reported by sales reps. The sales manager must evaluate whether what is being reported is believable, whether the sales rep has a good handle on the customer intent and a has solid, executable plan to win the deal. 


Too often, revenue forecasts and deals expected to be won are merely a wild guess produced by the sales rep. The sales rep might need a specific amount of revenue to stay on track to reach his quota, so he inflates the revenue forecast or overestimates the true status of his deals. The sales manager obviously needs to confirm this forecast, as it becomes a promise to deliver that amount of revenue to the organization.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 


164 Integrating your data into a powerful knowledge base

Integrating your data into a powerful knowledge base


Integrating new data sources and enriching existing data that resides in sales systems can form the basis of a comprehensive knowledge base. Preparing and integrating this data for later analysis is a critical step. The success of these projects is often highly dependent on the availability of, access to, and the cleanliness of relevant data. 


Data analyst personnel can collaborate with sales analyst personnel to comb through external data using data analysis tools to deeply examine the data, searching for hidden patterns and trends. They can mine “golden nuggets” in the data to better understand their customer’s needs, characteristics of sales teams, and key solution attributes. These “golden nuggets” can be incorporated into intelligent data sets and used to deliver insights that were not previously available. 


Here are three tips for sales organizations wanting to harness this explosion of data: 

1) Data no longer needs to be aggregated into a single data store for processing. With the advancements in data access technology, information can reside in multiple places, can be stored in multiple formats, and can come from multiple sources. This greatly speeds the downstream benefits you will achieve when performing analysis.


2) Never wait until the data is perfect; if you do, nothing will ever get done. You can gain immediate benefit even from imperfect or incomplete new data. Focus on what you do have, not what is missing. 


3) This should be an iterative process. Break the data integration process up into logical steps. Never try to “boil the ocean.”


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 


163 Enriching Customer and Sales Data

Enriching Customer and Sales Data


Data Analytics is an important component of AI and can help your sales organization enrich your existing customer and sales data so you can derive more intelligence from that data. 


First, How you can enrich Customer Data


Buying Segment – Classification of customers who exhibit similar buying characteristics in terms of their buying habits, management vision, level of risk acceptance, or demographics. 


Propensity – How likely the customer is to:

– Buy your solution 

– Respond to a targeted marketing campaign

– Become or remain a loyal customer, and

– Accept a recommendation for next steps.


Customer Alignment – How well the customer is aligned with your organization: 

– How the customer aligns with your company mission and values; 

– How strongly the customer needs your solution, and

– How closely the customer buying process can be integrated with your organization’s selling process. 


Second, how you can enrich Sales Data


Sales Rep Performance – Tracking their performance in terms of their ability to: 

  • Create and qualify new sales opportunities
  • Effectively advance customers through the sales process and effectively win business
  • Accurately forecast deals and
  • Efficiently utilize sales team resources.


Sales Rep Profiles – Understanding their current skillset and where they need further development:

  • Establish mutually beneficial relationships with customers 
  • Follow established sales processes
  • Distinguish types of customers/deals where they succeed or have challenges and
  • Provide visibility to management on deal status and roadblocks. 


Opportunity Profiles – Understanding the distribution and characteristics of sales opportunities:

– Types of opportunities that most likely advance to winning deals 

– Sales process steps that are key to winning deals, and 

– The most common factors that lead to roadblocks, stalled deals, and lost deals. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 


162 Harnessing the Explosion of Data

Harnessing the Explosion of Data


Society today is faced with both a blessing and a curse: the continual explosion of data that is now available. While all this data can be overwhelming and consume massive amounts of time and energy, it can also be leveraged rather quickly to produce additional important knowledge. Sales organizations that learn to skillfully harness this explosion of data will be able to derive extensive and continuous business benefits. Here are three examples:


Extended Customer Profile

– Information about the company’s mission: its top customers, its key strategies, and how they position their offerings to their customers. 

– Their financial statements provide details about their brands, markets, competitive positions, their key risks and business challenges the company faces and must address. 

– Reports from industry analysts. These provide insights on the company’s outlook, industry direction, and buying preferences. 


Using this information can help your sales teams better define their account targets and pursuit strategies. 


Social Media 

– Press releases and social media feeds that your customer uses to announce news about new products, solutions, and services. 

– Sentiment from consumers and other business customers and whether any service issues can be identified as major problems. 


Using this information can help your sales teams better understand the competitive nature of your customers and can help formulate specific approaches for prospecting and in preparation for upcoming meetings. 


Competitor Positioning

– Information regarding your customer’s key competitors and how they position their company and their solutions. 

– Information regarding your wins and losses versus your specific competitors can help you establish winning strategies in competitive deals.


Building a competitor repository can help you gain an edge when it comes to better positioning your company and your solutions against your competitors in the marketplace. 


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com.