Sales is a people-focused, intuitive profession, but data is playing an increasingly important role in sales as well.
These two things don’t have to be opposites—they can go hand in hand. Sales teams can use analytics to connect more effectively with the right leads in addition to making their processes more efficient and focused.
Want to learn more about how can you use data and analytics for sales growth? In this post, we’ll discuss some tips for using analytics for sales and go over some of the ways you can use it to improve your sales team’s performance.
Using a data-driven approach to sales involves gathering, organizing, analyzing, and utilizing metrics to inform sales strategies, processes, and tactics. Sales teams can use analytics to inform everything from prospecting to closing deals to determining which goals to focus on.
Which sales metrics your team should track depends on a variety of factors, including your goals, but some examples of metrics that teams often track include:
Average deal size
Average time to close
Lead response time
Tips for using analytics for sales growth
How can you set yourself up to make the most of your analytics? These tips will help you leverage your data for improvements in sales performance.
Have clear goals
Setting clear objectives and goals is essential for successfully leveraging sales analytics. Your goals will provide guidelines for which metrics to track, which reports to produce, and how to use the insights you get from your data to achieve truly meaningful results.
For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you might look at things like getting more leads or improving your win ratio. If you’re focusing on customer retention, however, you’ll likely look at data related to your current customers.
Ensure data quality
To get valuable insights from your data, you need your data to be high-quality. You’ll want to make sure your data is up-to-date, error-free, consistent, and from reliable sources. How can you do this? Through processes like:
Data cleaning: Periodically going through data and removing or updating any errors or inconsistencies
Data validation: Carefully reviewing data after collecting to ensure it meets your standards
Data governance: Setting up standards and policies for collecting and managing your data
CRMs such as Nutshell enable you to collect data from various sources, easily update information as things change, and analyze your data to produce useful insights. CRMs also offer plenty of other capabilities, such as sales automation, dashboards, and report generation.
There’s a lot you can do with quality sales data. Here are some of the most impactful ways you can use it to improve sales performance.
Use insights to improve sales processes and strategies
While you should have a standardized sales process, your process shouldn’t remain static. You should update it as you learn more about what works well for your business. And how do you know what’s working well? Your data.
By analyzing how leads move through your pipeline, you can identify potential improvements. For example, you might identify the stages where leads are most often lost and implement changes to those stages.
Or you might realize that live demos are more effective at converting leads than phone calls. Using this information, you can increase the amount of time you spend on demos.
Any time you make a change, you can track your data so that you can analyze the results and see if it made the improvements you were aiming for.
In addition to updating your overall sales process, you can analyze and update specific tactics, such as the phrasing you use in emails and the frequency with which you contact leads.
Identify characteristics that make the best leads and customers
Analytics helps you learn more about your leads and customers, enabling you to focus on the leads that are the best fit for your business.
When you know more about your leads, you can prioritize the ones that are most likely to convert and spend less time on leads that end up going nowhere, saving your sales reps time and energy.
You can use methods such as lead scoring to help you determine which leads to focus on. Lead scoring involves assigning point values to leads based on their fit with your company and likelihood to convert. You can use demographic information, company information, online behavior, and other factors to determine lead score.
Track progress toward goals and improve focus
Tracking and analyzing your sales data is also essential for measuring your sales team’s progress toward its goals.
Tracking progress and sharing that information with your team can help keep them motivated and focused on your main objectives. When you closely track your progress, you’ll also be able to more easily make changes to ensure you stay on pace.
Forecast sales to assist with planning
Another valuable use of analytics for sales growth is forecasting. Sales forecasts are projections of how much sales revenue a company expects to earn in a given period based on data on past sales, trends, and economic factors.
Sales forecasts help businesses plan everything from stocking product to hiring employees. They also help sales teams set benchmarks and goals, and tracking sales data helps teams see if they’re on track to hit their forecasted sales.
Share sales data with other departments
Sales data and analytics can also help departments beyond just the sales team.
Forecasting can help finance departments with budgeting and help human resources departments determine how many new team members to hire.
Sales analytics can also help marketing teams generate more quality leads. When sales shares which leads convert best, marketing can use that information to target the company’s ideal leads.