During these uncertain times, it's critical businesses become stronger, more adaptable to change, and in turn, ready to capitalize on future opportunities. Now, more so than ever, it's time for businesses - and especially their Sales departments - to double down on Business Intelligence and data analytics to boost ROI, maximize employee performance and ultimately position themselves for sustained future success.
During the financial crisis in 2008, and again during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009/2010, we saw an increase in demand for Business Intelligence and Data Analytics solutions. Businesses around the world needed tools to help them better manage their bottom-lines, and analytics were a way for them to acquire a level of confidence over what precisely was happening internally and externally. Businesses were looking to remove guesswork from their decisions. It was critical nothing was left to chance. They recognized the severity of the situation and understood Business Intelligence was a highly viable option for success.
Fast-forward 10 years, and we now find ourselves in a similar position. The economic climate is as uncertain as ever, we’re faced with the threat of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and as a result, workers are transitioning to a fully remote state of working – and are looking for ways to thrive. Since Dundas’ inception in 1992, we have helped countless companies, like yours, become stronger, more adaptable to change, and in turn, ready to capitalize on future opportunities.
A common thread tying businesses together during these times, is their vulnerability and unease towards properly tracking metrics and monitoring their businesses effectively. How do they monitor and track employee activities that drive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to maximize performance? How do they support and motivate an increasingly distributed workforce? Many businesses must continue to run as efficiently and effectively as possible during this time of uncertainty yet are worried they don’t have the proper tools in place to accurately measure activities that will lead to peak, continuous performance and success for both individuals and the business. Face-to-face management and monitoring employee effectiveness is a challenge in-and-of-itself on a good day. Now, as more and more businesses are forced to adjust to allow for remote work, these challenges are intensified tenfold.
So, how can businesses leverage Business Intelligence and analytics to not only measure and maximize performance and survive these – and future – difficult times, but boost ROI, and ultimately position themselves for sustained future successes? Well, let’s follow the crumbs to the heart and soul of every business; the engine of any money-making machine… Sales.
Guarantee the success of your sales team
Think, for a moment, about the Sales activities your business partakes in. These are activities that directly impact your revenue and bottom-line. Now, with your workforce working remotely, you need more than ever, to be able to easily and accurately track their day-to-day activities that will lead to success and ensure their actions contribute to individual and company success. You need to monitor and track their progress to ensure peak performance. On the flip side, Sales reps need to also be able to track their own progress, to make certain they’re working efficiently and are contributing to overall strategic objectives.
With travel restrictions in place and more meetings and Sales processes going digital, your Sales team will likely have to adjust – if they’ve not done so already – how they sell, and you’ll have to adjust what you track for success. Every activity Sales performs is measurable and directly impacts revenue. It’s on you to accurately analyze, report and act on that data – often daily or in real-time – to ensure your engine is the well-oiled revenue-generator it was built to be.
You’ll never be able to properly evaluate performance if you aren’t measuring the steps needed to reach your objectives.
Activities = success. How are you evaluating individual sales performance?
To equip your remote Sales team for success, you must first set clear expectations and encourage individual Sales Reps to perform at high-levels. Using a Business Intelligence application – such as Dundas BI – you’re able to easily provide and make visible KPIs on dashboards and offer detailed reports on each Rep containing their specific tasks and desired performance goals. Sales Reps can keep track of their daily/weekly/monthly activities along with project statuses/timelines, understand where they sit in relation to overall and their personal objectives, and make changes to their processes in real-time to increase efficiencies. Sales performance is dependent on visibility and insight of key metrics, and Business Intelligence allows remote Sales teams to make quick decisions based on facts and data.
The following are Sales activities leading to revenue that both Inbound and Outbound remote Sales Reps should be tracking to monitor and improve their performances:
Inbound Sales Activities
- Leads Assigned
- Qualified Leads
- Disqualified Leads
- Lead Response Time
Outbound Sales Activities
- Cold Calls Made
- Connections Made
- Cold Emails Sent
- Email Response Rate
- Number of Meetings Booked
- Number of Meetings Completed
- Number of Meetings Cancelled
It’s highly likely your Sales team’s efforts will be rooted in a mix of Inbound and Outbound activities. For Inbound, it’s important each Rep understands how many leads they’re working, how many they’re qualifying – and subsequently disqualifying – and what their response time is. Each of these metrics should be tracked against an overall target, in turn helping Sales Reps better prioritize. In this case, targets should be numeric – as opposed to monetary.
For Outbound, the metrics are similar, but it’s important to adjust them to account for remote work. Instead of face-to-face meetings, you may want to track digital meetings. Instead of in-person product demos, you may want to track video demonstrations. These changes are rather simplistic but are reflective of the activities your Sales Reps are performing. They’re more likely to achieve their targets if they align with what they’re actually doing.
That said, our list of recommended metrics for Outbound Sales activities include tracking the quantity of ‘cold’ outreaches – both via call and email – the number of meaningful responses/engagements, and the number of virtual meetings booked, completed, and canceled. With Dundas BI, Sales members can even leverage Writeback functionality to input data directly on the dashboard allowing them to adjust targets based on new business directives. Again, like with Inbound activities, these metrics should all be tracked against overall targets to inform Sales Reps as to where improvement is required and where they’re exceeding expectations.
- Number of Opportunities (Inbound)
- Number of Opportunities (Outbound)
- Total Opportunity Value
- Average Opportunity Size
Remember when I mentioned Inbound and Outbound targets should be numeric? When tracking opportunities you’ll now want to make use of monetary targets such as total opportunity value and average opportunity size. These metrics will assist Sales Reps in understanding whether the leads they’re working – and opportunities they’re generating – are having the desired impact. You don’t want your Sales Reps wasting time and effort for minimal return and neither do they, so these metrics will ensure they’re expending energy in the right places.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “When 10%-20% of salespeople miss goals, the problem might be the salespeople. But when most salespeople miss, the problem is their goals”.
By setting realistic, attainable goals, and visualizing/tracking progress against them, Sales Reps are incentivized to perform and are more likely to reach peak effort levels. And if they don’t, well, at least they’ll know exactly where they’ve fallen short!
Are your decisions informed? Drill into sales activities to understand trends.
There are certainly unique challenges with managing remote workers. For Sales managers, however, the challenges are compounded as they’re tasked with not only tracking and monitoring individual performances, but also overall Sales numbers. As businesses become more disparate and leaner, it’s crucial Sales managers are able to accurately link all activities to revenue and act on their data.
In addition to providing granular details into the above metrics, Business Intelligence has the ability to offer a more holistic view of the Sales landscape. Remember, when working remotely, Sales Managers do not have the opportunity to physically see what their Sales Reps are working on or coach as effectively as would they in an office. It’s important they leverage technologies that simplify these tasks.
Whereas Sales Reps are more concerned with their own numbers – and whether or not they’re hitting targets set for themselves – Sales Managers care about higher-level analyses that drive business decisions and identify the actions and activities needed to correct or improve corporate results. It’s imperative they track Sales activity, but equally as important they are equipped to identify and prevent trends that could potentially result in efficiency challenges, as well as identify new opportunities for incremental revenues. Business Intelligence will arm Sales managers with dashboards displaying pipelines, revenues – at yearly/quarterly/monthly intervals – leaderboards, conversion and win-ratios, and more, all with the intention of monitoring performance, identifying which techniques are working, improving customer service, and discovering new opportunities.
Accurately measure sales performance and success, regardless of team distribution
How to properly track employee performance and monitor an increasingly distributed workforce is a top concern of many businesses today. The drive to maintain efficiency during times of uncertainty is as strong as ever, but more often than not, businesses are not adequately equipped with the necessary technologies to accurately measure performance and success and come out on the other side stronger than before.
Now, more so than ever, is the time for businesses – and especially their Sales departments – to double down on Business Intelligence and data analytics to boost ROI, maximize employee performance and ultimately position themselves for sustained future successes.
About the Author
Jordan Zenko is the Community & Content Manager at Dundas Data Visualization. As Dundas’ resident (and self-proclaimed) story-teller, he authors in-depth content that educates developers, analysts, and business users on the benefits of business intelligence.Follow on Linkedin