Are you doing Analytics wrong? Try MoneyBall for Your Sales Team
I don’t know if you are doing sales analytics wrong or not. You may be the Greek Goddess of analytics. I do know that I see a lot of people using analytics effectively but are missing a critical piece, maybe even the most important piece. A piece that can set you apart from your competition. A piece that can be your Secret Sauce.
The use of sales data to understand and measure sales performance is growing exponentially. Everyone should know by now that if you are not focused on being a data-driven organization you will fall far behind your competitors.
The problem with current dashboards
I walked into a client’s office the other day and in the center of their main space was a giant TV screen showing their sales dashboard. On the dashboard were charts showing “The Pipeline Funnel”, “The Won/Lost bar chart”, “Total Revenue to date”, “The Lead Funnel”, and the proverbial “Leaderboard” (or what I like to call the “Who Sucks This Month” chart). Looking at it as an objective observer I thought “what can I deduce from this dashboard?”, “What action would I recommend?”. My answer? Nothing. I had no idea where they were coming from, where they were going, and how to tell if they were on the right track.
The problem? – These were all outcomes. They were the results of a previous chain of events. The reasons that the lowly salesperson is at the bottom of the leaderboard already happened!! You missed diagnosing the problem early enough to take corrective action. You should be able to forecast if your staff is headed in the right direction, on track to achieve your desired outcomes. You must catch the problem as it is happening, either at the person, team, or company level.
Improve sales performance using the same technique as Moneyball
I was watching the movie Moneyball the other night and started thinking about the conversations I’ve had with current and prospective clients regarding sales analytics.
I thought about how Billy Beane, currently GM of the Oakland A’s, used analytics to adjust the performance of their players before each game! Each game-plan considered the optimal behaviors for that engagement and how to leverage the strengths of each player in that situation. Real-time analytics and adjusting before and during the sales cycle are the paths to having a winning edge over the competition.
Constantly adjust your game plan to hit higher sales targets.
I’m not saying you need to sit down before every sales call and coach each salesperson through the process. I do believe, though, that you can use a combination of industry stats as well as your own internal ones to have a set of playbooks for your most common scenarios. You can then measure at each milestone through the process and watch for indicators along the way. For example, if your playbook says that each prospect needs 6 touches, with at least 1.5 days between each touch, over no more than a 7-day span (this is all actual data, by the way), then your analytics can show if your salespeople are hitting those marks. Because your stats also show that when they follow the playbook, they get presentations, which leads to more revenue.
Coaching your sales staff like professional athletes. 3 Steps to get started…
I can see a connection between an athlete and a sales professional. They are the ones that are out there on the field executing the plays, selling the products that the organization has created. So why aren’t we coaching our sales teams like professional sports are coaching their athletes?
Remember to consider all the relevant data elements like industry, organizational, and performance stats. Also, think about creating personalized playbooks for each salesperson. We’re working with companies now to not only define outcomes but determining the key data points to measure along the way. We then add these to their CRM solution at integral milestones to pinpoint necessary interventions. Create your own secret sauce using your team.
Step 1: Get started by choosing a pain point in your sales cycle like prospecting, for example…
Prospecting for qualified sales leads can be the hardest part of the sale process and often the most dreaded. Most of the salespeople I know are confident that they can close a deal once they get a chance to pitch their product. Finding the qualified company and individual that could potentially buy your product is daunting, to say the least. People are hard to reach; It seems people with buying power seldom answer their phones and even fewer respond to voicemail for people they don’t know. The same holds true for emails and other forms used to cold call potential customers.
Step 2: what are the ingredients for success for improvement?
Depending on your industry, there are many ways to improve prospecting success. If you’re not sure where to start, you can use industry data and then, as you measure performance, you can look for other data points to gather. In Moneyball, they had a pitcher that “threw funny”. They knew what adjustments to make for that pitcher to leverage his capabilities. You want to combine general performance measurements with those unique to your staff. Here is an example of a stat-based on research conducted by InsideSales Labs regarding prospecting performance indicators across all industries:
You could add this to your CRM process to capture the cadence of prospecting calls. You can see that attempts over 9 days have significantly lower chances of contact. If they have not reached the contact after nine days of a concerted effort (duration, cadence, etc.) then they should move on to the next prospect.
Step 3: Measure, coach, repeat…
Remember the scene in Moneyball where Billy is talking with each of the players before the next game? “you need to wait for those low and outside pitches”, “No stealing – I DIDN’T HIRE YOU TO STEAL, I HIRED YOU TO GET ON BASE.”, etc.
In terms of sales coaching the conversation may go like this:
“I noticed that your cadence for last week was down. It looked like 4 of your hot leads were not contacted within 2 days of your first contact and some went as far as 5 days or not contacted at all. This means that you could be off on your final close numbers by 65% by the end of the month.”
“Let’s talk about the why’s and the how’s and make sure you’re going to reach your monthly goal.”
Why aren’t we having conversations like this with our sales teams?
Finally, measure your outcomes.
Don’t forget your own outcomes around launching this kind of a program. Were you wanting to increase prospecting success by 15% or just do better coaching? Align these with the objectives of the organization and you have closed the loop.
Get your sales athletes the data and coaching they need to reach their goals and yours.
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