4 Ways Real Companies Sell Smarter with Sales Analytics

By Stephanie Dart, Director of Product Marketing with Microsoft Dynamics as written on community.dynamics.com
All sales managers want better numbers from their teams, but many are ignoring the obvious solution. A paltry 15 percent of organizations use analytics to drive objectives. Investing in analytics isn’t just a nice idea if you have the time and money to make it work. A sales team backed by superior data analysis is an unbeatable force. Sales analytics is a time-tested way to get more from the employees and customers you already have and uncover opportunities you may have missed.
Analytics helps sales teams:
• Identify overlooked opportunities
• Find ways to turn existing customers into repeat customers
• Track individual customer trends
• Develop new offerings to satisfy customer need
• And more

Identify overlooked opportunities

Your reps can’t spend all day trolling the Internet for hot tips. That’s where intelligent business software comes in. Kennametal, a leading material science and manufacturing company, uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to track customers in the news. Whenever client-specific content appears in sources such as The Wall Street Journal or NPR, the CRM software aggregates the headlines and delivers them to sales and marketing teams. That way, the sales team can act right away when opportunities arise. And up-to-the-minute knowledge of their customers’ competitive landscape helps sales reps generate new leads and engage in productive conversations with current clients.

Find ways to turn existing customers into repeat customers

Marketing and sales go hand in hand when it comes to customer retention and have for a long time. Analytics can turn traditional methods into sure-fire outreach. Mike McMinn, Group IT Director for the English pub chain Marston’s, links his company’s enthusiasm about data analytics to the trackability of ROI. “In the UK, companies have a tendency to just give out offers. We want to provide a better experience by knowing customers better—and knowing which of our efforts are paying off. If we can understand our customers better, [using] campaigns that encourage them to buy just one more pint we can increase our profit by several millions of pounds per year.”
Analytics can also reveal how and when your customers need you the most, so you’re able to prepare for a rainy day. When bridge repairs shut down a transit route, Transport for London prepared by studying commuter behavior. The data told a very clear story, so the transportation authority developed strategies—a temporary interchange, increased bus service in the area, personalized commuter notifications—that would keep riders using public transit despite the closure.

Track individual customer trends

On a sales team, you’re going to get good data only if your whole team is invested in tracking it all the time. Reporting software that’s easy to use makes sales teams more agile and increases the quality of the output.
Kennametal finds that visual reporting (like what Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers) helps surface spikes and trends, and this reporting provides insight into profitability and allows for detailed drilling down to the customer-detail level. Better still, reporting can be automated to provide regular updates on how the company is performing against projections. And anyone can access these tools across the organization at any time. No special analytics background required.

Develop new offerings to satisfy customer need

At accounting firm Grant Thornton, analytics is also indispensable in the discovery and development of new sales offerings. Data uncovers demands and desires that customers can’t even clearly articulate. Insights gathered according to line of service, type of service, revenue, and other factors can reveal an untapped opportunity—so the accounting firm can capitalize on it and satisfy a customer need.
We’ve highlighted four advantages here, but there are countless ways analytics can bolster your sales organization. The insights that data analysis can provide a sales team make very smart people even smarter. Since deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Grant Thornton has experienced a 450 percent jump in the number of opportunities it is tracking, a 36 percent increase in average win value, and a 700 percent rise in the number of contacts in its system. Numbers don’t lie. Let them help your team reach the next level.

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