Analytics, insights, big data …. One can’t avoid hearing these terms in any business conversation today. Every company wants to be digital and data-driven – though it is unclear whether everyone who talks about these has the same understanding of what they really involve.
Things like mobile, analytics and digital are really important long-term trends. That is why it is really important for us to not get caught up in the hype and focus on the essence of how they impact business.
I want to focus this discussion on the use of analytics in sales and channel management area. Here is my list of 3 things to focus on to make Channel & Sales analytics more action-oriented and useful to the organization.
1. Focus on what the front line sales managers need
- Increasing the effectiveness of front line sales managers is the single biggest impactful thing companies can do to improve sales performance. This is often the weak link in sales productivity in most companies
- Analytics should help the front line sales managers manage their teams better – by providing them highly focused and “curated” action inputs. Just focus on 2-3 things they need to do on an everyday basis rather than providing with overwhelming number of charts and data points
- In a way, analytics delivers far better ROI when it is focused on immediate actions and helps the front line sales managers – rather than being only focused on providing analytics to senior managers at the head office
2. Simple is Better
- Sales guys (and gals) have to deal with a lot of complex variables – internal and external. Data and insights should reduce this complexity – not add to it!
- Provide them simple data points, in a manner easy to understand and even easier to put into action
- So for example, if you are a lending company, your analytics should move beyond customer segment wise EMI collection analysis – towards specific actions each sales person needs to take in his / her area over the next 1 day / 1 week / 1 fortnight as a result of the analytics insights
3. Less is More
- How many times have we seen nice looking charts and tables with bunch of data – and yet have struggled to make the connection between the data and what we need to do as a result of that analysis
- I believe Quality trumps Quantity – always. Not only that, too much quantity actually hides those little pieces of quality which may be present in the analysis and makes it difficult for the user to get to the real quality part
- Providing charts, trends, tables of any information which is not directly or immediately relevant to the receiving person is counterproductive. One needs to be extremely brutal in cutting out non-relevant information – only then will the real useful information will be understood and actioned
While less is more and simple is better, it is definitely not a trivial job to achieve it. It is difficult to distil the sales analytics into a small number of simple yet powerful insights. But if done properly, the payoff to the organization can be huge.
We would love to hear your views and comments.