How can you use sales analytics to increase your sales revenue?
The definition of sales analytics
Sales analytics are data measurement tools that you can use to gain a clear understanding of your sales performance, in order to set goals, refine strategies to optimise your sales performance.
What do sales analytics do?
Sales analytics help you ask relevant questions like ‘What trends are there among the sales that have been won?’ and finds out the answers for you. Sales teams use different sales analysis tools depending on what their requirements are. For example, if the team wants to know if they are going to meet their sales targets this month, they can do sales pipeline analysis to see how many deals they are likely to close. Using the sales data, the sales analytics tool might flag that your business is not on track to meet its monthly targets, and you might decide to spend more time and energy on things like prospecting and lead generation to combat this.
Making analytics the key to your modern sales success
As most businesses are becoming digitized, you can now gather daily sales data to gain critical insight into your business, customers, and sales. Used correctly, this insight can help you unlock huge growth opportunities for your business. One major advantage of sales analytics is that it helps your decision-makers choose data-backed strategies that are less subjective. Having more accurate sales forecasts, improved sales performance, reducing performance issues are all transformative in the sales process.
What are advanced sales analytics?
Predictive sales analytics
Predictive sales analytics tools analyse historical sales data to establish trends and patterns and make recommendations to help sales teams anticipate the needs of their prospects. This allows sales teams to engage prospects on a more individualised level and increase sales performance. This type of advanced sales analytics removes human error by leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to produce accurate forecasts and actionable sales intelligence.
Using predictive sales analytics makes creating a sales forecast and other sales reports easy. Because of this, more and more businesses are relying on this form of advanced analytics to help guide their sales projections and inform their budgets.
Are B2B companies using advanced sales analytics?
The quick answer is, yes they are. Combining sales analytics with machine learning has taken the business world by storm. Companies are using the valuable insights from these advanced sales analytics tools to design better marketing campaigns, create tailored customer recommendations, generate dynamic pricing and plan more streamlined financial budgets. But that’s not all. Businesses that use advanced sales analytics are greatly outperforming their rivals that are not.
The 5 essential types of sales analytics reports
1. The sales pipeline. For any business, an accurate and up-to-date sales pipeline is essential. As a sales leader, you should know exactly how healthy your business is at all times. ‘What deals will close?’, ‘How much will each deal bring to your business?’ These are the sort of questions that you simply cannot answer without a robust sales pipeline in place.
2. A sales conversion report. The sales conversion rate is the rate at which your business converts leads and prospects into customers. Looking at a conversion rate report can tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your sales processes, as well as showing how effective your overall sales strategy is. Likewise, analysing your conversion rates can help you figure out at what points in your sales cycle you are doing particularly well and what places could use a little more work.
3. An average deal size report. Knowing what your average deal size is, allows you to predict your future revenue. For example, if your target revenue for a quarter is £100k and your average deal size is 10k, you know you need to close 10 deals within that quarter to meet your goal.
4. Your average sales cycle length. Having a report on your average sales cycle length shows you the average time it takes your representatives to close a sale. Having this information gives you valuable insight into the effectiveness of your individual sales representatives throughout the sales process. When thinking about this metric, you should have an ideal timeframe in mind to use as a benchmark for your sales reps. For example, this could be the amount of time it takes a sales rep to go through the sales cycle. Having this information will show you which of your reps are struggling and need more support in order to meet their targets.
5. A report on how many deals are won or lost. To properly understand your business, keep track of both the deals you have won and the ones you lost. Using analytics, have a look to see if there are any similarities amongst the deals you have lost. Were many of the lost deals being worked by the same sales rep? Or perhaps quality leads are being lost to one of your competitors who has a great promotional deal running at the moment. You should then repeat this process with deals that you won to see what parts of your business are succeeding and why.
Tools for sales analytics
CRMs role as a tool for sales analytics
The CRM, or customer relationship management system, tracks each engagement you have with your target customers and helps you understand how well your business is performing on sales. CRM systems have become so sophisticated that it would be impossible for a person to manually track everything without the software to do so. As well as having a strong analytics capability, we would advise looking for a CRM solution that allows third-party integrations, workflow automation, and other features designed to accelerate sales.
If you’re evaluating CRM tools, also consider the reporting capabilities that it has. Reports that are particularly helpful are:
- The sales pipeline report
- Sales conversion reports
- Profitability reports
- Sales forecasting reports
- The sales cycle report
What leading sales analytics tools should your business use?
1. Zoho Analytics
This self-service BI and analytics software is versatile, has considerable integrative capabilities and straightforward data visualisation resources. Zoho Analytics lets you channel massive amounts of data into actionable and clear sales analytics reports. Noted for its sleek interface and ability to combine massive amounts of data from many sources, this sales analytics tool lets you easily translate information into cross-functional reports. If you have data stored in multiple sources, Zoho Analytics is definitely something to consider.
Cost: Zoho Analytic plans starting at $22 per month
2. HubSpot Sales Hub
HubSpot Sales Hub provided sales professionals with a wide variety of sales reports. It can track sales performances, deal forecasts, and even productivity logs alongside several other key metrics. The feature that HubSpot Sales Hub is most known for is its accessibility. Its interface is incredibly simple but it is still straightforward to use with customisable dashboards that display all of your sales analytics reports.
For larger teams, Hubspot has easily changed access privileges so you can pick and choose who on your team can view or change your sales analytics reports.
Cost: At HubSpot Sales Hub plans starting at $40 per month
3. Salesforce Tableau
Salesforce Tableau allows you to work efficiently by using an AI-based guidance system to spot trends and predict future sales outcomes for your business. With an action framework, Salesforce Tableau lets your sales team collaborate in the especially designed ‘Chatter’ while easily updating records and sharing visualisations.
You can easily integrate Tableau into Salesforce so your team can make the most informed sales decisions possible.
Cost: Salesforce Tableau plans starting at $12 per month
4. Power BI
A fully-fledged sales analytics software and data visualisation tool created by Microsoft. Power BI is a tool that can inform all departments of an organisation to improve performance (including the sales team!). There are hundreds of unique data visualisation methods and many built-in AI capabilities.
On top of that, Power BI includes an Excel integration and custom data connectors which are all backed by leading industry data loss protection frameworks. All of this makes Power BI a great option when considering which sales analytic tool to choose for your business.
Cost: Power BI plans starting at $9.99 per user per month
Other sales analytic tools
- Demand Sage
- Dear Lucy
Depending on your current resource, you might not want to splash out on the fanciest sales analytic tool you can find. You should take your time researching and find something that both fits the scale of your business and has the specific features you are looking for.
What data and sales analytics strategies should your sales teams be using?
Building your sales data strategy
Your data strategy should ideally focus on bringing together processes, people, data, and technology so you get clear information you can act upon successfully. Having a good data strategy lets people see what will be created or changed within your sales process and how it will help your business. This is important in making sure everyone is on the same page and confident in your decisions.
How to build a robust sales data strategy
Data strategy is becoming increasingly important, especially with the development of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics. The most effective strategies focus on taking useful data and putting it in the hands of decision-makers so that they can be more efficient at what they do. But hold that thought. Before you even think about building your data strategy, you need to come up with your data mission statement. Each business is unique and you need to truly understand what you want from your sales data before creating the strategy.
Questions you should ask yourself about your sales data
- How do we currently use sales data, and can we improve it? In most businesses, you find that there are some glaring issues everyone is simply working around. Talk to your sales teams and figure out what can be improved.
- What data is being used to further your business mission? This question lets you have a top-down look at your business. Looking at who is using this data helps you to understand how well the operational and strategic sides of your organisation are working together.
- Are you planning any strategic initiatives? It would be wise to define the data that will be needed for your business to succeed in any upcoming initiative, who will be working with that data, and how they will need to use it.
Process, people, technology, and data.
These three elements help you split up your needs into definable projects, creating a series of high-level data requirements which you can then structure into manageable objectives and projects. Before trying to solve these requirements, it is important to start putting priority/ranking on the objectives. Frame discussions based on your four core elements of data strategy, you will find that each objective or capability will include these elements to some degree.
- People. Who is using your data and why? What skills/experiences do they need to successfully execute the strategy and reach the sales vision?
- Process. Throughout your sales processes, how is data used? What sort of procedures need to take place to make that sales data valuable?
- Technology. What skills and abilities do you need to reach your goals?
- Data. What type of data (internal/external) do you need? How much history should that data have? What quality of sales data do you need and what level of integration and security is needed?
Tracking sales metrics to improve sales growth
There are metrics that can be measured which represent the performance of either an individual, the entire team, or the company. These metrics can help you track your progression towards a goal, award incentives/bonuses, adjust sales compensation, find any issues, and prepare for the growth of your business.
Have a look at the following list. These are the key metrics that you should be tracking within your business:
- KPIs (Sales Key Performance Indicators)
- Lead generation
- Sales activity
- Sales channel performance
- Your sales pipeline
- Sales productivity
- Converted sales
- Booked sales meetings
- Proposals issued