This is an article originally for G2Crowd by Gryphon Networks. Read the original here.
When it comes to data, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve upon it.
This is why a tool that provides accurate sales data can be a game-changer for managers. The rapid turnover of sales managers is known to anyone in the sales space. A management role requires consistently hitting benchmarks, upping standards, and is often met with intense scrutiny.
To alleviate these pressures, a sales tool serves to provide management with easy-to-access, 100% accurate information to make data-driven decisions. With this type of tool, the job of a manager only becomes easier and more informed.
Sales today is more and more tech-driven; without a top-of-the-line tool to enhance your processes, it is likely that your team is prone to fall behind the competition. So why delay in adopting a performance tool?
These tools serve to provide sales management with fully accurate data, allowing for greater visibility into the daily activities of reps, more informed coaching and training initiatives, and higher performance standards to drive quota and revenue goals.
Accurate sales data is a manger’s strongest asset
Improving rep performance and growing revenue are key indicators of a sales manager’s success, or lack thereof. So managers, don’t let inaccurate data skew your management abilities. At the end of the day, better data leads to better management, and better management leads to better rep performance.
In sales, improved performance is a reflection of a higher volume of successful calls being made and more deals being closed, which results in revenue growth. So, here are a few ways that accurate sales data can optimize performance and improve processes to drive revenue across your sales team.
1. Better visibility for sales managers
One of the greatest advantages of having real time, accurate sales data at your disposal is a better understanding of what your reps are doing every day.
With the growth of mobile technology, dispersed teams and branch locations are more common than ever, making it difficult for management to fully understand what activities reps are doing daily.
In today’s technology-driven business climate, manually entered data reports are outdated. Naturally, these reports are often prone to human error, and are a waste of valuable time that reps could instead be spending on revenue-generating activities like making calls. If you are still using manual reports at your organization, chances are you’re not getting the full picture of your sales team’s activity.
Manually entered data reports are outdated
This is where sales tools and automation technology come into play; imagine how many more calls your reps could be making if they didn’t have to enter their activity into spreadsheets on a daily or weekly basis. Automated activity reports generate 100% accurate sales data in real-time, eliminating room for error or skewed information.
These reports replace:
- Spreadsheets to record daily rep activity
- Manual CRM updates reporting call results
- Weekly phone check-ins with individual reps
- Monthly in-person team meetings
By 2021, 15% of all spending on B2B sales technology will be allocated to sales enablement technology, up from 7% in 2017 . Sales enablement technology encompasses tools ranging from analytics tools to content management systems, or even machine learning. In particular, analytics and performance tools serve to give sales managers the visibility they need into the routine activities of their teams.
Know what reps are actually doing daily
With a sales enablement tool, managers gain visibility into actual performance metrics, not guesswork or manually reported data. Eighty-five percent of businesses operate CRM systems or Salesforce automation databases with up to 40% bad records. If your data isn’t precise, how can your management decisions be what’s best for your team?
The data provided by a sales tool allows managers to see who is struggling, who is succeeding, and who is slacking. Automation gives reps more time for revenue-generating activities like cold calling – rather than unproductive data entry – and provides managers with a better understanding of when and where coaching and training initiatives are needed.
2. Improved coaching and training initiatives
When you can access accurate sales data, you can see real problem areas, revealing skills that need improvement and reps that need extra training time. Effective coaching can improve win rates by as much as 29%. However, the key word here is effective.
As previously mentioned, coaching efforts based on guesstimated data are bound to be less precise (and therefore less effective) than automated analytics reports. Using a sales tool, coaching initiatives are more focused, and target actual issues based on actual data.
Accurate sales data allows for tailored coaching, making it 100% apparent to managers where problems may be occuring. This allows them to identify areas of improvement, implement targeted training accordingly, and from there, influence positive change across their teams.
Further, one-on-ones with reps become more productive and personalized. According to CSO Insights, nearly 60% of organizations take a random or informal approach to sales coaching, with no real methods for daily, weekly, or monthly coaching or one-on-one sessions. Allow your organization to set itself apart with a data-driven process for training sessions, beginning with an understanding of key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant to your team and their outreach.
Coaching to KPIs that are accurate and attainable
No sales team is the same. Tailoring your goals and performance standards to your team is necessary to seeing reps succeed in the long run. While growing revenue is the end goal, it is not the only metric that matters.
Setting KPIs that are relevant to your team’s particular goals, whether it be call attempts per day or length of conversations had, serves to not only challenge your reps, but to elevate them and their outreach abilities.
Once data-driven metrics are in place, you will be able to hold your reps to a higher standard of performance and drive revenue goals.
3. Holding reps to higher performance standards
Managing your reps to a higher standard by utilizing data-driven KPIs will naturally lead to higher performance results. While the data is important, the attitude of a sales manager also can affect the performance of their entire team.
Fueling motivation and fostering friendly competition can enhance the results of utilizing a sales tool. The data provided is not only for management’s visibility – sharing these results with reps lets them know where they stand against their peers and where they should put in the extra effort.
Only 42% of reps expect to meet quota, and shockingly, only 26% of reps will hit their numbers this year. However, the data-driven insights provided by a sales dashboard can positively affect these statistics.
Performance dashboards influence rep performance
According to Forbes, improving reporting and dashboards were the top two business intelligence initiatives being adopted by companies in 2019.
When reps have access to accurate data, they can understand and visualize their performance on a dashboard against their goals or quota, as well as against their peers’ goals/quotas. Instead of guesstimating the number of calls they made at the end of the week and tediously entering those estimates into spreadsheets, all the information they need is available at a glance.
Performance data is an asset for your organization that is either being utilized, or squandered. A sales performance dashboard is a window into the daily activity of sales teams that allows management to capture this data, measure it, and multiply the successful behaviors of their sales reps across the board.
For reps, these dashboards include features like call heatmaps and leaderboards. These aspects not only let reps know where they stand against their weekly or monthly goals, but can fuel friendly competition via monthly contests for extra incentive.
Data-driven performance standards improve onboarding and offboarding
Another reason for the popularity of adopting sales performance tools are the benefits towards onboarding and offboarding initiatives.
With data-driven onboarding processes in place, new hires are clear on what is expected of them. Accurate data also helps managers coach them up to speed. Unsurprisingly, Urbanbound found that 77% of employees who experience a formal onboarding process hit their first performance goals.
Further, for offboarding purposes, data insights can properly weed out those reps who don’t show improvement after training sessions or consistently fail to hit quota. Hopefully, with data-focused training, custom KPIs in place, and greater visibility for managers and reps, your need for offboarding will naturally decrease as your team improves.
Optimizing performance, growing revenue
Accurate data leads to improved management, which leads to higher rep performance. Take the concept of the Pareto Principle for example – 80 percent of your company’s revenue is produced by 20 percent of your sales team. This is a trend plaguing sales teams today.
Relying on a small percentage of a large sales team to generate most of your revenue is a consequence of a lack of visibility into daily selling activity. It means that management can’t properly coach or improve rep performance, often due to a lack of the data insights needed to do so.
Instead, with the accurate information provided by a sales tool, management can make more informed, data-driven decisions to increase visibility, improve training initiatives, set higher team standards, and therefore optimize rep performance.
Optimizing performance means all reps – not just the top 20 percent – are performing to their highest potential and driving revenue for your organization.