Odds are that every member of your sales team uses a smartphone to engage in a host of day-to-day activities: Posting status updates about a great movie or restaurant on Facebook, sharing photos on Instagram and streaming music through apps that learn the user’s preferences. When they want to order takeout, send flowers or even have groceries delivered to their homes, they can do so simply by swiping and tapping. Technology has created an ecosystem in which millions of consumers can share and access information, track activity and make decisions.
Your company may have the best strategy in the world, but until you streamline and modernize the way you translate that strategy into actionable insights for your sales force, your team will continue to miss out on key business opportunities. Now compare those digital experiences to what your sales professionals encounter when they use your company’s sales tools and technologies:
- How does your sales force access its call plans?
- Are plans and reports still delivered via PDFs or Microsoft Excel?
- How well do your reports integrate with the CRM solution or other tools your sales force is using every day in the field?
- Are reports delivered quickly and in a simple format that delivers timely insights?
- How easy is it for your sales force to obtain specific, actionable guidance on where and how to focus their efforts to increase personal performance against objectives?
These questions are pressing. You may have the best strategy in the world, but when you streamline and modernize the way you translate that strategy into actionable insights for your sales force, you will uncover opportunities that you may not have had the capability to access previously.
Connecting the Data Dots
“Business-driven analytics” is an often misused and misunderstood phrase. Many companies believe that a dashboard featuring a few key performance indicators and alerts or a list of customers decreasing or increasing in sales volume constitutes “business-driven analytics.” However, true business-driven analytics start with a sales objective, then quantify impact on performance and finally provide recommendations to drive positive change.
Most companies continue to struggle to implement the insights in the field by tying data to sales objectives and sales performance. In most cases, the hurdle is not business related but rather stems from technology shortcomings and the high cost of the multiple, siloed systems that support your sales team. With the enormous amount of highly granular data available combined with the right technology platform, you can now tie objectives to specific customers and track performance against those goals. Sales analytics should therefore be able to pinpoint the customer who is affecting sales performance as well as provide timely insights to reps to inform their decision-making.
The time has come and the technology is available to empower your sales force to own the brand strategy. The best way to do this is by putting the right information in their hands at the crucial decision-making moment. For a truly informed and empowered sales force, you need to employ mobile devices and move from the “dark ages” to the “digital era” with rich, integrated information that delivers real-time, actionable insights. Four key points to keep in mind:
1. Keep Technology Intuitive
Ideally, every objective placed on members of your sales force will be accompanied by a mechanism for monitoring progress against that goal. Objectives should be mechanisms for influencing—not “policing”—reps’ behavior. To that end, objectives should be tied to and presented with sales performance metrics. Keep it simple by linking objectives to the behaviors that need to be achieved, including:
- Making the calls that achieve desired market share.
- Engaging the right physician influencers.
- Distributing samples and/or vouchers to those physicians with patients who will benefit from using the drug, thereby increasing the number of new patients on a particular therapy.
2. Make Insights Relevant
Your sales team should not have to mine through myriad systems or reports and link information together. Rather, the perfect combination of technology and data will help your sales force course-correct before it’s too late. Technology will enable you to take business intelligence far beyond basic reporting to deliver relevant answers to key business questions.
3. Ensure Insights Are Actionable
Simple and relevant insights presented via powerful and innovative technology are valuable only when they are timely and actionable. Sales performance data is the most valuable information your sales force has to make informed decisions. However, such data updates very slowly and will not be actionable if not made available when, where and how a member of your sales force needs the information to make a decision.
4. Give Reps News They Can Use
For your sales force, getting streamlined, integrated information should be as easy as posting a tweet, checking a bank account or ordering merchandise online. Let’s not contribute to information noise by giving sales professionals faster devices and applications that promise larger data bandwidth and superior visualization—yet still require them to “connect the dots” to make a decision. Instead, why not provide your sales force with relevant, actionable information that is linked to objectives that drive business strategy. Make intuitive, relevant and actionable insights available to your sales team when, where and how they need it to improve sales effectiveness and boost win rates.