With the advent of Big data and Analytics, every single discipline of business entities have seen tremendous benefits derive out of data based insights. While Analytics has penetrated Operations, Supply Chain, Marketing, HR, and IT, one of the biggest beneficiaries that directly contributes to the top line of the organization is Sales Analytics. Marketing Analytics & Marketing Automation has ensured high return on investment for the marketing costs, increasing reach and quality of marketing communication. The demand so generated through effective marketing has to be converted to business volumes. This is where Sales Analytics plays a big role. Sales processes are quite complex, involving various partner organizations, internal functions, several legal and regulatory requirements. Adding to this complexity are factors such as engagement of off-role employees, high staff attrition, competition activity and economic conditions.
Sales Analytics plays a significant role in this pursuit. The dynamics of sales data and the factors mentioned above, demand that Sales Analytics be approached a little differently from other analytics programs such as Supply Chain or Operations Analytics. Traditional focus has been on acquiring an efficient Sales Analytics Solution, Sales Process Automation and Sales Intelligence technology tool. There are a variety of products in the market with incredible capabilities such as SAP Business Objects, Oracle Business Intelligence, Salesforce Wave analytics, Alteryx, Tableau, Qlik Sense Enterprise, Sisense, Microstrategy, etc.,
However, now-a-days, the business benefits from Sales Analytics are not usually constrained by technology capabilities rather by other factors such as:(arranged in no specific order)
Unfortunately, leaders spend too much energy in selecting the right technology tool only to realize their team members aren’t ready for a heavy dose of data driven insights or ecosystem isn’t ready.
It’s no secret that sales data quality is a challenge as it involves partners, customers and external factors. Though hand-held devices, cloud storage and real time analytics tools have made eased things, no one can disagree that getting data that is reliable isn’t easy in sales. Further, many times it is difficult to audit its authenticity. Read More about the Importance of Data Quality & Data Governance for Sales Analytics.
Sales is considered an art and building relationships with customers is considered as an enabler. Many Sales leaders don’t believe in looking beyond sales numbers. Metrics and data that provide insights and help us identify drivers aren’t given too much importance. Without this conviction, it is very difficult to see any real ROI for Sales Analytics investments. In fact, this is a show stopper. Read More about the Tips to build Sales leadership buy-in for data based selling through Sales Analytics
In order to fully leverage Analytics and Big Data, Sales leaders need to build skills & capabilities among sales teams that include Quantitative Skills, Data or Fact based Decision Making & technical skills, Data based Problem Solving which will help them to decide what data is needed in any given scenario, framing hypotheses and validating the hypothesis through data. Read More about What specific analytical skills are needed for Sales Managers in the era of Analytics?.
Prima facie, Sales Analytics seems to be an internal matter of the Sales function.However, true and meaningful Sales Analytics will require strong alignment of various functions such as Marketing, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Quality, Product Development, Service, Business Planning, HR, etc. Studying the association of cross functional factors on Sales or Business Outcomes such as Market Share, Revenue, Profitability is very important. This means cross functional data sources will need to be analyzed in Sales Analytics. Read More about Non-Sales Data & its value in Sales Analytics.
Thus Building Organization’s Sales Analytics Capability needs a thoughtful & comprehensive approach.