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SOA & WOA: Article

Can Sales Analytics Improve Your Bottom Line?

New technology gives sales teams the data they need to close the deal

It has never been more important or difficult than it is today for sales people to make sure their messages are reaching their target audience. This is because potential customers are bombarded with a deluge of information everyday. They filter a growing amount of phone calls, scan endless amounts of email, and are often drowned in the constant tide of social media updates, text messages, alerts and reminders. For most salespeople, the once simple task of making sure their message is reaching the right people is now a daunting, seemingly impossible endeavor. Even with the ever-expanding options of communication and analytical tools available to sales professionals, the most well-connected sales teams have difficulty understanding what is working to engage customers and what isn't.

The underlying issue is that it's impossible to know what resonates with customers when they don't provide feedback. And that's exactly the problem sales professionals are up against today. A new generation of sales analytics tools provide a solution because they are designed to give feedback to sales professionals by illustrating what shared information is actually being consumed, by who, from where and when. In short, sales analytics help figure out what works and what doesn't when it comes to engaging with potential customers.

Useful sales analytics are garnered from algorithms that track access to sales materials, interactions with those materials and even re-sharing of materials. This new technology shines a light on an otherwise blind part of the sales process. When sales professionals can access this type of information, it gives them the feedback they long for and the answers to their biggest questions:

  • What information is being looked at?
  • Who is looking at the information?
  • Where are prospects looking at information?
  • When are prospects viewing information?

Answers to the above questions help sales professionals gain invaluable insight as to which sales materials are most helpful at each phase of the sales cycle. With today's sales analytics technology, it's possible to know when a prospect viewed information, what they viewed and if they shared it with anyone else. This equips sales professionals with the data they need to pursue stage appropriate follow-up with prospects immediately after they view sales materials.

Sales analytics also help sales leaders understand how their sales teams are engaging prospects and customers throughout the sales process. According to a recent survey conducted by Forrester Research, sales leaders have poor visibility into where and how their reps and partners sell, with only six percent reporting they were very confident they had accurate visibility into their team's sales process. Over half of sales leaders surveyed reported that they were either "somewhat" or "very" unconfident in the visibility of their sales team's activity. Sales analytics make it possible to stay in the loop on sales team activity from lead follow-up all the way through to close. It's a win-win situation for all sales team members.

Sales analytics are created by a new generation of sales engagement platforms. A sales engagement platform is a selling tool for direct and channels sales professionals that focuses on creating, measuring and analyzing online engagement between sales professionals and customers or prospects. Incorporating a sales engagement solution is the first step towards a more highly integrated sales division that can eventually lead to predictive sales forecasts and insightful employee training.

In today's sales ecosystem, barriers or "silos" form within organizational departments, most typically between the marketing and sales teams. These silos prevent effective communication between the departments causing inefficiency and departmental isolation within companies. Sales engagement solutions contribute to interdepartmental collaboration through the use of communication tools, workspaces, shared materials and shared data. If the marketing team has found success through one tactic, that helpful information is shared directly to the sales team through the engagement platform. In this way, company-wide analytics show what's really working to engage customers and prospects, taking the unnecessary guesswork out of the equation and leading to a more efficient sales process.

Some useful sales engagement platforms are:

When using sales engagement analytics, teams have the ability to see which people and materials are getting the best results with prospects. With this information, organizations can analyze buyer behavior and optimize their sales processes. Sales analytics eliminate the blind spots between sales leads and the close of a sale enabling sales teams to take the feedback they've received from the engagement analytics and adjust their tactics accordingly. This process of tweaking the sales process based on feedback from analytics leads to a more efficient sales cycle and increases the bottom line.

More Stories By Laura Lilyquist

Laura Lilyquist is a leading technology and marketing expert with a passion for innovation. She is currently Vice President of Marketing at LiveHive, where she is responsible for global marketing strategy, communications, and business planning.

For the past 20 years, Laura has successfully launched and marketed a myriad of first generation technologies across the globe, beginning with Sun Microsystem’s earliest networking products. She played a key role in the revolution of digital video, from marketing early desktop video to deploying a new generation of digital TV. Laura also drove some of the earliest mobile apps as a corporate investor and business developer.

Despite her strong left-brain focus, Ms. Lilyquist keeps her right-brain sharp with her love of design. Whether in fashion, interiors or gardens, she always has a design project underway, mirroring her eye for best form in marketing. She received her B.A. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin.

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