Sales Analytics Consulting Advice

The Sales Analytics Consulting Continuum

Sales analytics consulting services range from tactical decision support to more strategic data transformation.

Tactical goals might include using tools like Power BI or Tableau to create custom dashboards or sophisticated reports.

Strategic goals generally place less emphasis on tools and put the focus on operational support. For example, in our work we find clients may want predictive analytics. Or perhaps they want to figure out how to make data their most valuable company asset.

Most often, we find we can help clients achieve the biggest impact in the shortest time by pursuing the three objectives below.

  1. Convert data from a raw material to a finished product in the form of information or insight.
  2. Route information to the right person at the right time in order to make a better decision, improve a customer experience or achieve a business outcome.
  3. Advance information reporting from hindsight to foresight with predictive analytics.

Here's how our sales analytics consulting experts achieve these strategic goals.

Use a Proven Framework

Business intelligence and sales enablement experts apply one or more of the following four building blocks to transform data into insights that drive actions that deliver outcomes.

01. Convert Data to Insights

Data is the digital currency for 21st century. Every person, process, information system and decision in your company is improved with more relevant data.

But many companies are data rich and information poor.

Data transformation is needed to convert data from an unused byproduct to actionable information. When done at scale, this transforms data from a raw material to the company’s most valuable asset.

Sales Data Transformation Pipeline

But it's hard to talk about data without talking about data quality.

For example, sales reporting includes lead, company and contact data. This type of customer data depreciates at about 2 percent per month. Therefore, it's essential to also consider a data hygiene program to ensure data quality.

In God we trust, all others must provide data. — W. Edwards Deming.

02. Route Information to Point of Action

Information must be automatically routed to the person who can use it to make a better decision, improve a performance action or achieve a business outcome.

But the data must first be centralized and accessible.

For sellers, that usually starts with a 360-degree customer view. This view should include the five types of customer data that are used for things like customer segments, lead and opportunity scores, guided selling recommendations, and all kinds of information reporting.

360 Degree Customer View

That centralized 360-degree view is generally the best place to harvest data and information that can be delivered to support customer engagement and seller actions. For example, generative AI can extract the right data to craft relevant, personalized, and contextual emails or other documents. AI and similar analytics tools can use that customer data to determine the optimal information to include in an offer, promotion, or proposal.

But keep this in mind. Many managers fail to recognize that when it comes to information, more is not necessarily better.

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. Information overload actually repels sellers. Dashboards solve this dilemma by focusing on the most important data.

Sales Dashboard

Business intelligence tools such as dashboards and alerts should be used to deliver information needed at a particular time or to support a particular use case.

Instrumenting performance with real-time key performance indicators also permits sellers to know what's working, what's not and when to intervene with timely course corrections to remedy deviations.

And one more thing. Information is powerless unless and until it creates action. That's why it is important to focus on the insights and metrics that elevate information from being merely interesting to inducing action.

The top 7 methods to elevate information from being visible to being valuable include the following:

  1. Prominently display the most important metrics
  2. Align performance metrics with seller outcomes
  3. Show KPIs alongside quota, forecast, or industry benchmarks for context
  4. Shift from lagging to leading KPIs
  5. Allow the data to be interrogated, manipulated and used for predictive analytics, and
  6. Link the data to recommended actions such as a Playbook

03. Advance Information Reporting

Our sales analytics consulting shows how to advance information value using a steppingstone approach.

As an example, Johnny Grow uses something we call the analytics continuum.

It shows how different types of information and insights deliver increasingly more business impact.

Analytics Continuum

It actually defines information value based on business outcomes using a progressive four tier model. Higher value analytics deliver insights that yield more powerful decisions and results.

One important note here. Advancing the value of information and making your way up the pyramid does not start by evaluating tools or technologies. It starts by defining what information will most drive the most important business outcomes.

04. See the Future

Data becomes much more actionable when it advances from historical to predictive.

That's why predictive analytics are essential.

In fact, without predictive analytics, the view and information for every seller and manager is entirely backward looking.

Selling is a process, not an event. So, to visualize that process we use a proprietary model we call the Predictive Pyramid. It's an interactive dashboard that shows how lower-level execution drives top line results.

Sales Growth Predictive Pyramid

Predictive analytics sift through historical data to show patterns, trends, relationships, and anomalies. The data is assembled to create simulation, propensity, and predictive models. This assembly essentially extends the trajectory of data to deliver data-driven forecasts.

If you don't yet have enough historical data, then apply industry benchmarks as an interim substitute. An example is shown below.

Sales Win Rate Benchmark

A model like the predictive pyramid is needed because no revenue process, sales program, or selling tactic lives in isolation. Each has cascading effects that impact other areas. Those impacts must be considered when making tradeoffs.

The ability to apply what-if scenarios or pro forma modeling is a powerful lever to compare competing alternatives and allocate budget and scarce resources. It's extremely helpful in determining where to invest your limited time to achieve the biggest uplift.

The More You Know the Faster You Grow

Business intelligence is one of only four sustainable competitive advantages. It's sustainable because making better business decisions never loses its value.

The most successful selling organizations are defined by their ability to collect and curate the right data, use data to improve seller actions and customer conversions, make insights actionable at the point of decision, and apply data to measure what's working and what needs improvement.

Converting data to actionable information is a complex undertaking. That's why those who succeed will achieve competitive advantage over those who don't.