For too many sales teams, getting a live view on their targets is difficult, if not impossible. Milestones might be reviewed on a regular basis to get an overview of progress but the ability to correct problems as they arise or optimize performance is usually very difficult. And this is where sales analytics can help.
Sales analytics give you and your teams a real-time view of sales targets. They can help you understand how far from a goal you are and improve decision-making about questions such as when to offer sales discounts. This can help your teams make smarter decisions and, ultimately, means it’s more likely you will achieve your sales goals. Despite all these benefits, one study found that only 15% of organizations have any sales analytics in place. And this is a problem.
The Manual Approach to the Sales Process
In most organizations, the sales process is almost entirely manual. Sure, you might use a CRM tool to log leads and information about contacts. However, the steps involved in making a deal are almost all carried out manually each time a salesperson begins working with a lead. Emailing that customer, setting up calls, asking senior staff for approval on a discount, filling in and sending out contracts all involve that individual spending a large amount of time carrying out repeat processes.
This creates multiple problems:
- Salespeople spend as little as a third of their time actually selling because they’re carrying out repeat tasks
- It is very difficult for sales managers to locate the causes of low (or even high) sales figures
- You can only learn lessons at the end of a sales period, rather than adapting as you go
But what if these repeat processes could be tracked, counted and then analyzed? Sales analytics aims to do just this. By automating steps in your sales process, not only does the process become faster and smoother, but you are also able to track all that data in real time and feed it into useful visualizations which your sales teams can benefit from.
How Sales Analytics Help
By automating your sales process using a tool like Nintex, you can immediately track everything that happens in that process. And this allows you to perform sales analytics. Let’s look at how this would work with the example of one very common sales process using Nintex: discount approval.
- Your salesperson is on a call with a client who requests a 20% discount
- The salesperson looks at your intranet to review the discount level matrix and sees the client is asking for a level 3 discount (which would require approval from the CFO)
- The salesperson tells the customer they will call back later to let them know if the discount can be approved
- From the same intranet page, the salesperson clicks on a Level 3 discount request button to fill in a Nintex Form where they explain the request. Given the importance of the sale, the salesperson marks it as ‘urgent’
- This triggers a Nintex Workflow which sends an email to the CFO to review
- Because the sale is urgent, the CFO receives twice-daily reminders until they take an action
- On approval, the salesperson receives a notification and they go ahead and make the deal with the customer
This is, of course, a simplified example. However, by automating the process, information can be gathered at every stage of the workflow, which will then help everyone involved make better decisions. A sales analytics dashboard could be set up on the intranet site which tells the salesperson details like:
- How far they are from their quarterly targets
- What a discount on lower level requests would cost
- Information on for how much their colleagues have sold the same product
This kind of sales analytics can make a big impact on an individual salesperson’s choices when talking to a client. If they are not close to reaching their current targets, they may decide that they have to ‘push back’ and tell the customer right away that they cannot offer the discount, for instance.
But the real value of this kind of sales analytics is to the team as a whole.
Managers can review how the entire team is doing from a simple dashboard. They can also discover any ‘weaknesses’ in the chain. For instance, they might discover that one manager always automatically approves sales discount requests. Also, if the business is coming up to the end of its financial year, sales managers can also review progress on the sales analytics dashboard and decide to tell staff that they should begin offering greater discounts to close deals faster and reach those revenue targets.
Workflow Automation Gives You the Data for Sales Analytics
Without data to track, sales analytics is impossible. And this is where easy-to-use workflow automation tools like Nintex immediately provide value. You can instantly monitor any sales process – be that the speed at which contracts are signed off, sales are followed up, inactive leads are contacted or how many sales prospects are won or lost.
All this information can be turned into real-time sales analytics, which allow your sales teams to make better decisions, work smarter and, ultimately, boost revenue.
Learn more about how Nintex can be used for sales and marketing here!