How to Use Sales Analytics to Hit B2B Sales Goals
B2B sales is a tough job. Selling into businesses large and small takes thick skin, yet many skills required are more than skin-deep. You’d also better be able to build strong rapport, stick to a tight strategy, and identify and deliver true business value if you want to succeed. Leading a B2B sales team can be equally challenging, which is why having strong data and sales analytics to inform big decisions is so valuable.
What’s more, the COVID pandemic has forced teams to become even more data-focused. In 2020, 63% of sales reps surveyed by Salesforce reported logging more details about customer interactions than they did in 2019, and 67% said they log activities more strictly. Once you have the data collected, however, how do you leverage it to the fullest extent to grow your sales?
5 Sales Analytics Strategies
Below are 5 ways that sales analytics help sales leaders and teams get more visibility and make data-driven decisions.
Prioritize your time
There are only so many hours in the day. Reps need to know where to focus their time and energy that will deliver the best results for their time. Don’t you wish you’d known not to waste your valuable time on an account that’s showing minimal engagement?
Sales analytics can tell reps if their effort is paying off, or if their voicemails are falling on deaf ears. For reps, gaining this knowledge is beneficial in multiple ways. By capturing data on account engagement levels, reps can reach out to the most engaged accounts or contacts before any momentum wears off. Track and take advantage of buying signals, and you’ll find deals move faster through the funnel.
This helps reps close deals faster, and also refocuses them away from time-wasting, low-probability accounts and contacts. These accounts may be in your ideal customer profile and may even have been interested in your company at one point. However, if the data shows that engagement has slowed down, they likely aren’t ready to buy and your time would be better used on an account with higher engagement. Instead of wasting time with these accounts, drop them in a nurture Flow to keep them warm until they are ready to buy.
Identify best messaging
Most reps know strong messaging when they see it. Countless hours of pitches, demos, and conversations with customers give them a sixth sense for what works, and what doesn’t with their audience. However, most reps only see how their own messaging lands – rarely peeking over the hedge to see what is working for their peers.
Sales analytics can give a B2B sales rep a look at “how the other rep lives,” so they can use the most effective messaging to help their own conversations. Basic messaging analytics require capturing open rates, reply rates, and link clicks for email communications. Other key content to track may include collateral, call scripts, voicemail templates – and any other prospect-facing communication. More advanced analytics will also capture the outcome of an email or call, so that reps can see when a specific email sequence or template results in a higher rate of meetings booked or opportunities created – and use it accordingly.
Keep campaigns fresh
When sales and marketing teams are on the same page, everyone’s happy. Marketing campaigns land the first time, reps hit their goals, and all seems right in the world. While it’s ok to dream, we know that it doesn’t always happen so smoothly. Almost all campaigns have room for improvement, whether that’s in the messaging, execution, or somewhere in between. The key is knowing what to improve to gain that extra edge, or to rescue a failing campaign.
In similar fashion to tracking effective messaging, sales analytics gives sales and marketing teams a clearer picture of where a campaign is working, and where it’s breaking down. Marketing can also look at the performance of individual email or voicemail templates and optimize accordingly. Without campaign analytics, sales teams come running back from the field to tell marketing, “This campaign stinks!” to which marketing replies, “But why?”
With sales analytics, sales and marketing teams can pinpoint specific areas of weakness and address them quickly so that everyone can go back to hitting goals and being friends again.
Track sales rep performance in-depth
In sales, everyone talks about hitting “The Number.” However, there are other important stats that help to paint a full picture of a rep’s performance. Paying attention to a wider range of metrics can more accurately indicate high-performing and low-performing reps. It can also help leaders to diagnose where a rep may need support.
Slicing sales analytics by rep can be motivational or diagnostic. You may find that tracking and displaying sales activities (like calls made or emails sent) by rep leads to an increase in said activities among competitive reps. For others, leveraging this data during 1-on-1’s or performance reviews can be a non-threatening way of calling out areas of improvement and working towards a solution.
Other useful data to track can include opportunities created by rep, demos given, or times logging into Salesforce. There are countless metrics to track. Make sure that the ones you choose are the most impactful ones to your business.
Be a better predictor
Sales forecasting is hard to get right. It’s especially difficult when relying on spreadsheets and gut feelings, which many sales teams do today. And unfortunately, the pain of an inaccurate sales forecast cuts deeper than most. In sales-driven organizations, a missed forecast can signal a stressful upcoming quarter for leaders and reps alike.
Sales analytics help make the “sales crystal ball” clearer for reps, sales leaders, and other executives. With important sales data tracked, teams can more accurately predict how deals will progress based on their engagement and other deal factors. It’s all about having more information at a rep’s disposal when it’s time for them to make their commits.
Other things to keep in mind
- Data is worthless unless it’s captured: You have no sales analytics if you have no data. If it’s not already, make sales activity data capture a priority. However, there’s a fine line between capturing necessary business data and bogging down reps with CRM tasks. So focus on capturing what’s critical first, then look to track more detail. Even better, use a sales engagement platform to automatically log sales activities back to CRM in the background – from emails sent to meetings booked.
- Focus on the business problem – not the tools: It’s tempting to be lured by the shiny sales analytics tools that are on the market today. However, the tool doesn’t make sales analytics valuable – your process does. Before looking outwards for a product, look inward at the business problem you’re trying to solve with analytics. Need more funnel visibility? Look for a data tracking solution. Need a predictive assistant? Check out AI. There are countless products out there, but only a few will be right for your needs.
- Help your team trust the data: Especially in legacy industries with veteran sales reps, a new data capture process will likely raise suspicion. Be prepared to show these reps how the data can help make their lives easier. Show them expected time savings and how leveraging data can help them close deals. Once they warm to the benefits, they’ll be onboard in no-time!