Your reps spend a lot of time entering data into Salesforce. But what are they getting out of it? No really – what information or insights are they getting out of Salesforce? Unfortunately, for the vast majority of companies, the likely answer is: not much.
While we might be in the midst of a big-data revolution, the power of big-data that companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix have harnessed in the consumer space, has so far eluded enterprises. And this is especially true when it comes to sales organizations. Sales is still relegated to using the same tools that existed 15 years ago. For the most part, these are dumb CRM and ERP applications that require users to input data to be played-back faithfully at a later point in time. But where are data-driven insights? What role has data science played in sales effectiveness? Or in sales coaching, pipeline management and sales acceleration?
The lack of effective data science driven solutions for sales results from a profound misunderstanding of how sales works, and how sales can benefit from data science. A majority of the vendors in the data-science-meets-sales landscape are focused on SoLoMo – Social, Local, Mobile – because those are the “in” areas at the moment. There are hundreds of mobile apps that can mash up your Salesforce with your LinkedIn and purport to provide “insights” about your contacts and plot them on a map on your mobile phone as you travel to New York in time for your meeting with Acme Corp – in a clichéd (and rather anti-climactic) use-case that crops up ad nauseum.
Instead, data science really helps sales people by providing them, what we like to call, “unbiased guidance”. Imagine a day in the life of a sales manager and all the things they are asked to do:
- Recruit, retain and develop reps
- SYT (Strengthen Your Team): Recruit, hire, fire, and top grade
- Drive demand across all product lines
- Go on 8-10 calls per week
- Entertain two nights per week
- Drive channel activity
- Drive programs and campaigns
- Help reps with career progressions
- Deliver training once a week
- Hold weekly 1:1’s for 45 minutes with each rep and inside sales rep
- Hold weekly calls with the whole team
- Attend weekly 1:1’s with VP
- Attend weekly calls with VP
- Attend bi-weekly sales ops call
- Etc., etc., etc.
Not one of the SoLoMo apps is going to make a dent here.
Take #9, weekly 1:1’s with all reps. Here is what the typical sales manager would say: “… I had to export the deals from Salesforce, go through each deal with the team, apply my filter and personal knowledge, and then roll it up on my call with my VP.”
This is not an efficient process. What is needed is a system that can help run your 1:1’s, identify deals to focus on, prioritize your deals for you, provide guidance on how to allocate your resources, measure rep performance and identify areas for improvement, provide data-driven coaching tips, provide next-steps for sales acceleration, and so on.
As data-science based sales applications emerge, Chief Revenue Officers must carefully consider what they want to get out of their systems, and what business outcomes are desired. Sales productivity tools are easy to deploy, but their ROI is limited at best. The most value will come from a longer-term outlook with systems that can help drive revenue growth. Look for systems that offer rich capabilities that include:
- Opportunity scoring
- Opportunity targeting
- Pricing analysis
- Anomaly detection
- Daily dashboards
- Predictive bookings forecast
- Forecast rollup
- Rep performance management
- What-if analysis
- Easy integration with CRM and ERP systems
- Scalability as you grow
- Customization to your data needs
Look also for concrete metrics that can be measured to compute ROI.
- Increase in number of reps hitting or exceeding quota
- Uptick in win-rates
- Narrowing the closest-to-pin range (i.e. reduced variance in bookings v. forecast)
- 100% elimination of spreadsheets for forecast rollups and dramatic time-savings
- Efficiency improvement in manager-rep one-on-ones
- Improved Sat score for rep coaching tools
As leading-edge companies look to data science to transform their sales organizations into efficient deal-closing machines, it’s clear that a data science based system is no longer a luxury. But for the system to be a real game-changer, it’s imperative to pick one that can bring real insights to sales users and help them close business, rather than address concocted use-cases with dubious outcomes.
Aviso Insights™ works seamlessly with any CRM system, including Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP and Oracle CRM.
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