In a market where buyers have multiple channel options for interacting with companies and even more options for researching and getting recommendations for products and services, sales teams are under more pressure than ever to deliver results.
While sales organizations may have eschewed advanced technology in favor of spreadsheets, the most effective organizations are providing their sales teams with predictive analytics to gain the insight needed to boost revenue.
That’s according to a blog post from Mark Smith, CEO and chief research officer at Ventana Research, which has found that more than half (59%) of organizations still use spreadsheets to manage sales forecasts.
“Doing so wastes time and prevents immediate access to critical information,” Smith notes.
Instead, mature organizations are using predictive analytics and data mining of centralized repositories, Smith notes.
“Just as quality information is critical, so is the ability to use analytics to build metrics that can provide immediate visibility into the progress of sales,” he adds. “Depending on periodic reports and dashboards doesn’t work in the accelerated pace of business today.”
Analytics can help to develop metrics for performance and planning, according to Smith.
“Sales will need to think beyond conventional wisdom and examine what is needed to be effective from sales management, manager and operations but also down to how [to] help every account manager be as efficient as possible,” he says.
For those organizations that have put data analysis into place, the results can be significant, according to a recent survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
According to the survey, big data can help sales organizations:
- Expand sales by offering the next logical item (52%)
- Make multi-channel customer tracking and management more profitable (50%)
- Make more effective seasonal pushes (42%)
- Enable dynamic pricing, in particular around the holidays (40%)
- Enable dynamic forecasting, using unconventional parameters like weather forecasts (40%)