Sales is a tough gig. If your business were Queen, then Sales is Freddie Mercury, and all eyes are focused squarely on his deftly shaped mustache. The performance he delivers can either ignite the business and give it the spark it needs to ascend to superstardom, or extinguish its flame entirely, leaving it dejected and scrambling for another kick at the can.
Hell, even the highs that Sales teams enjoy are ever-fleeting. You shattered the record for new sales last quarter? Amazing, let’s triple that in Q3! There are never enough leads, never enough conversions, never enough opportunities, and frankly, never enough hours in the day. With lows lurking around every corner, and colleagues flexing to point fingers, it’s safe to say Sales is ‘no bed of roses’ (thanks, Freddie).
But here’s the kicker. Each and every sales activity is measurable, meaning Sales leaders don’t have to rely on gut intuition to guide their decisions or determine whether or not their team’s performances are up to snuff. They don’t need to blindly guess at how or what to improve in case they’re underperforming. By leveraging business intelligence and analytics, and adopting a data-driven mindset, Sales teams can not only chase that high, they can reach it, time and time again.
The importance of analytics has never been so high, as those who adapt and are able to accurately analyze, report and act on their data, are most successful. The question ultimately, is how. How can Sales teams and leadership use analytics to measure and maximize Sales performance, to elevate their businesses to Rockstar status?
What Are Sales Analytics?
To leverage Sales analytics, we must first understand what it is. Essentially, Sales analytics is the process or practice of taking raw Sales data (of which there’s often no shortage) and transforming it and generating insights from it to better understand and predict Sales trends and results. There’s an abundance of Sales data available at your fingertips, but to truly leverage it, make sense of it, and drive revenue, you need Sales analytics.
Armed with these insights, Sales teams are able to set targets and metrics, and forecast future outcomes. Without them, they’re unable to make accurate revenue predictions, and cannot set realistic objectives.
Why Measure Sales Analytics?
Your business’s profitability is based on a continuous flow of revenue from new sales. Tracking Sales activity – including the number of leads, meetings, deals closed on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis – and other key metrics is paramount for ensuring your business is on the right track for increasing sales. Successful businesses continuously monitor and measure all aspects of their Sales strategy to maximize performance.
To determine which activities are working and what changes can be implemented to increase future profitability and productivity, it’s important we first put an end to anecdotal hallway-chatter. You don’t want to tell your boss that revenue has skyrocketed, you want to tell her it’s increased 15% month-over-month. You don’t want to complain to Marketing that the leads they’re bringing in are dreadful, you want to give them facts. Let them know that 95% of Marketing Qualified Leads from your top-performing lead source in 2019 are now being disqualified within 2 weeks.
Sales analytics will do wonders in bringing to light where Sales efficiencies and deficiencies lay, and what can be done to improve performance. It’s an outstanding aid in helping supercharge your sales strategy. By assigning metrics to Sales activities – and measuring how you’re tracking against them – you’re able to create actionable objectives and can develop strategies for achieving them over both the short and long term.
(For example, by measuring the number of conversations an Outbound Sales Rep is having – and understanding the volume of conversations required to achieve a goal – you’re able to better gauge if they’re on target for enough conversations to achieve a specific revenue objective and can take action accordingly if they’re not).
Sales analytics will benefit Sales teams by helping them optimize Sales activities, improve accountability, and provide Sales reps with direction, so they can focus on what they do best.
How to Visualize Sales Analytics?
And what is it that Sales reps do best? They sell, of course! Above all else, Sales analytics should enhance and facilitate more selling, not impede it. Analytics are all fun and games, until you’re spending every waking hour performing ad-hoc analysis, cleansing data and drilling relentlessly into reports.
A simple solution to accelerate data transparency and heighten focus on revenue-generating activities is to determine which metrics need to be tracked, then visualize them! Display those analytics on a dashboard and make them accessible for everyone on the Sales team so they have a clear visual of the situation. When designed well, dashboards tell a clear, concise story, and keep everyone on the same page working towards the same goals.
If you’re up to it, throw those dashboards on monitors throughout the office to ensure key Sales metrics are made visible at prominent locations. This is a great tactic for fostering cross-departmental collaboration and generating conversations regarding Sales performance and required actions.
Here are some examples of Sales dashboards built using Dundas BI, a completely customizable dashboard, reporting, and data analytics platform.
Click on both dashboards to enlarge and interact with
What Metrics Should You Track?
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering which metrics you should be measuring, and truthfully, the specifics of that are neither here nor there. What matters most, is that in order to apply – and act on – the insights you unearth, you must choose to measure the metrics that are most meaningful and actionable to your business.
While it’s important to identify and use both quantitative and qualitative metrics, they are useless unless they are actionable. Actionable metrics tie specific and repeatable actions to observed results. You must be able to use these metrics to launch activities that lead to strategic performance improvement.
Here are a handful of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Sales you may want to consider tracking that can be applied across a host of industries.
Sales Growth KPIs
- Total Revenue
- Percentage of Revenue (Net New, Partners, Expansion, Retention, By Product, Etc.,)
- Year-Over-Year Growth / Period-Over-Period Comparisons
Sales Activity Metrics*
- Number of Leads
- Number of Meetings Booked
- Number of Demonstrations
- Number of Opportunities
*Track conversion rates for each activity
Sales Pipeline Metrics
- Length of Sales Cycle
- Sale Probability
- Average Contract Value
- Win Rate (At both the individual and team level)
Sales Outbound Metrics
- Email Open & Response Rates
- Number of Touch Points to Engagement
- Number of Conversations
Sales Productivity Metrics
- Time Spent Performing Selling Activities
- Time Spent Performing Manual Data Entry
- Percentage of Marketing Collateral Used
- Number of Sales Tools Used
(There are many more Sales KPIs worth tracking – I encourage you to take the time to identify and consistently track those important to your business to position yourself on the road to better performance and increased profitability)
How Can Dundas BI Impact Revenue?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t finish this blog without a little shameless Dundas BI promotion. The following video quickly touches on Sales analytics use cases and how Dundas BI can impact revenue.
Having an understanding of Sales analytics is a great foundation for success, however, to truly maximize your Sales performance you’ll need to take the plunge and actually begin measuring and taking action on your data! Sure, Sales may be no pleasure cruise (OK, enough, Freddie), but with analytics on your side, it’s just a matter of time before you and your Sales team are champions of the world.
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