Data in Sales: Where to Start

Data in Sales: Where to Start

My mum was speaking about how much data she needs per month for her mobile phone… but she had nothing to compare it to. The sales guy was saying “you need 2 GB of data a month”… but 2 GB of what? What do you get for 2 GB? 2 GB could be a lot… or hardly anything! Unlike measurements such as distance, time, weight; data is tough to monitor, certainly if you don’t know much about it!

Data is everywhere, and not all of it is useful. We are bombarded by data every day… and I’ve read that less than 1% of the data we receive is actually useful.  To improve processes and productivity in your sales team, you can collate all the data possible, but what does it mean? What does it show? And most importantly, how do you use it?

To actually make use of it to increase our sales, we need to decide on which areas we want to monitor. The useful stuff!

With this in mind, here are 3 areas that all sales teams should be monitoring data from, to inform future spending decisions and future sales strategies.

Where are your existing sales coming from?

If you want to increase your sales, the first place to start is to find out where your sales are coming from. How are people engaging with your brand? What are your sales team saying? What is your marketing team producing? Getting an understanding of how your clients ‘became’ your clients in the first place can be a great indicator of what you are doing well, and conversely, not well, in terms of brand awareness and positioning.

What sales sources/activity provides you with the best ROI?

What happens if you are spending £100k on a mailshot campaign, and you make £150k of revenue; in comparison to £20k on client entertainment but generating £100k of extra revenue? One generates an ROI of 50%, the other is 400%. In this case, the best source is pretty obvious and it shows that you don’t necessarily have to throw more money at something to make more profit. Also when looking at ROI, sales managers also need to take into consideration the time spent on certain activities. If your sales team is spending hours a week on tasks that provide no actual revenue, are they necessary? Or can the time spent be reduced?

Which of your sales team and over performing? How can this be replicated?

What is your top performer doing that others aren’t? What are the common traits of your weakest team members? How can you avoid replicating these? Often a buddy system, especially for more junior members of the team can work well; picking up good techniques and new skills.

Dissecting your current procedures and activities may seem daunting and frankly, a bit of an arduous task, but as Peter Drucker said:

“If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.”

However, the key when starting to look at your data is to focus on a couple of areas at a time, rather than overwhelming yourself gathering all the data possible.

This is a topic which could go on and on and on… but if you have any hints on how to use data to increase sales, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Richard.Gibbard@finlayjames.co.uk, 0161 438 1930 ext. 1010.