CRM Data Analytics: The key to improving sales performance
By: Dan Johnson
A good CRM data analytics solution enables you to add and combine different sources of data with your centralized customer data to find new insights and increase sales. A good way to begin is to determine the appropriate metrics for your analyses. Metrics are the foundation for good analytics, but it’s also important to not let them be the be-all and end-all for utilizing your data.
The right way to look at metrics
To start, don’t bother with metrics that don’t impact your goals. Gathering and evaluating data about processes or operations that don’t improve performance, drive sales, or impact the bottom line is a waste of time. Reporting can consume time and resources, so why chew them up with an exercise of no real value to anyone?
Sales metrics, however, is something virtually every company measures (or should). Typically, they fall into one of two categories:
Metrics that motivate salespeople using data most relevant to them and that will influence them in a positive way.
Metrics that illustrate business health beyond simple revenue, including closing rates, average deal size; marketing lead qualification rates; sales cycle length; sales team quota achievement percentages; and sales process activities such as numbers of calls, meetings, and demos; to name a few possibilities.
The key is measuring relevant, timely data, most easily captured using the robust data analytics tools found in today’s enterprise-level customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This kind of real-time data is far beyond your father’s stale monthly or quarterly spreadsheet stuff.
Once you’ve got metrics in hand, the next step is analytics. This is where the magic happens. Data analytics is what creates insights out of information and there’s no one right way to do it. Think of CRM data analytics as a tool for “data discovery.” A way to coax value and understanding out of the data you’ve gathered and get answers to questions that can help generate sales and success.
A good CRM data analytics solution enables you to integrate different data sources with your centralized customer data to find new insights. For example, it might be data from external sources such as market research, surveys, reports, and analyst interviews. It could be order information from your ERP system that can help you target timely upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
Remember, data’s just data. By itself, it has virtually no value – you have to DO something with it. Data can be looked at in a variety of ways, often limited only by your imagination and tools.
Take sales data, for example. You should be able to slice it and dice it in any number of ways, including by individual, team, region, product, and more, comparing weekly, monthly, and year-over-year numbers. Looking at information from different angles might provide new insights, revealing sales trends and opportunities previously invisible.
CRM data analytics can reveal the bad stuff, too. In a good way.
There’s nothing worse for a sales manager than a salesperson or team in a slump and no one really knows why. CRM data analytics can provide a solution. Tracking and analyzing sales activities such as calls, emails, meetings, and demos can help managers spot bottlenecks and bumps in the road and help salespeople take corrective action. An added benefit is the customer experience improvement that can result from this kind of proactive activity monitoring and management.
Increasing selling efficiency through analytics
While CRM data analytics can help reveal sales weaknesses, it can also provide selling strength.
By accessing data analytics themselves, salespeople can identify their best prospects and more efficiently allocate their time and resources for the best results.
Analytics can help motivate salespeople by providing reports on potential sales opportunities to help them figure out how they can grow their business and increase commissions. And when analytics and CRM are used throughout the organization, sales reps can identify prospects and customers who responded positively to marketing promotions or had service issues and turn them into upselling or cross-selling opportunities.
With the right metrics and CRM data analytics in place, you and your sales team can gain valuable, actionable insights into sales prospects and opportunities for improved sales performance and greater success.