Well, everyone knows about the importance of analytics. Many sales professionals sell ‘Analytics and BI’ products and services, yet they fail to embrace it. It’s quite surprising that they recognize its importance, its relevance to their growth and survival, but don’t get into action.
If you are a Sales Director or Sales Manager, have you ever wondered why this negligence?
Here are top 10 reasons for this reluctance:
The first and foremost reason that Sales Managers give is that they don’t have ‘those’ types of data in Sales. It’s difficult to collect – partners don’t cooperate, systems don’t have functionality to capture, it is not important in our business, etc. This is a show stopper.
Data provided has many empty fields, some times even incorrect, only some partners or clients share information, etc., and so it’s not possible to use this data to perform Sales Analytics. Cleaning the data is time consuming and Sales Managers feel they don’t have resources to do it.
Many Sales Managers are proficient enough in excel to plot some basic charts. But they are unable to go beyond. The challenge is that sales organization has been traditionally ignored when it comes to analytics related upskilling of talent.
Many times, it is important to frame the problem and look at the data to identify the reasons for the problem. Sometimes, it’s exactly the reverse – Look at the data to even define the problem. So a structured problem solving approach is needed by Sales Managers and many of them aren’t’ skilled in that.
Some of them, especially the Sales Analysts, are able to perform good quality analysis, but no matter how good they are in sales analytics, one question is never answered – Why is a particular phenomenon occurring? The answer to this question will only come by linking the analysis to field observations. Unfortunately, when the analysis doesn’t provide anything useful, teams loose interest.
Many Sales Managers find it easy to allow the Sales Directors to lead the conversation, lead the analysis and direct them on what actions have to be taken. Proactively analyzing the data comes with the risk of defending the analysis and insights, so identified. Sometimes it’s going to make them unpopular among their bosses. So it is understandable that there is a natural resistance to it. But another way to see it as a lack of storytelling skills based on Data Analytics.
Organizations that are laggards in Sales Analytics still work the traditional way. Their Business Development Head, Sales Directors, & Senior Managers aren’t data savvy and prefer to manage sales without much use of data and sales analytics. In such organizations, sales managers who rely on sales analytics will sooner or later be left with no motivation to pursue it.
Analytics is a skill and any skill needs practice, if one wishes to master it. In the initial stages, lower proficiency means more time in learning. Many Sales Managers are restless and feel it’s a mere waste of time and energy to crunch numbers and look for insights, especially when action is happening out there in the field!
Some sectors and organizations are lucky to be in the sweet spot. Their products and services have high demand and less supply. But history suggests that this is only a momentary state. Disruption happens everywhere, no industry or organization is spared. If not today, for tomorrow’s survival, sales managers need to upskill in Sales Analytics and learn to adapt. Failing to do so is mere complacency.
This is probably the most common explanation we hear from Sales Managers. Sales Analytics is a skill not a software tool. Traditional CRMs were only a workflow system carrying a repository of sales data but many of them have now acquired BI and analytics capabilities. But, general purpose inbuilt charts and analytics, may or may not address the problem of a particular territory or scenario. So effective Sales Managers do leverage the Sales Analytics from CRM and other sales enablement tools, but they make a point to apply their own sales analytics skills, over and above that to alleviate their problems.