Today's guest post is by Lisa Fiondella, CEO of reFocus Analytics. Hear her speak at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia on March 16, where she will present “Innovating for Sales through Big Data and Analytics.”
Throughout high school, I really enjoyed math (with the exception of 10th grade geometry), and college statistics was actually fun. I can still hear our teachers telling us that we’d use math every day of our lives, while my classmates and I snickered at the thought. Other than counting the money in my measly savings account and comparing the total to the price of a really cute pair of shoes, I just didn’t get the connection.
When I decided to make sales my profession, I never dreamed that math could have such a profound impact on my own sales performance or that one day I’d develop and leverage an analytical approach to creating sales growth. After all, selling is a “people profession” and traditionally associated with such skills as
- allowing customers to express their needs,
- creating trust,
- negotiating effectively, and
- proving you and your company offer the best solution for the customer’s business.
All of these are human interactions and far removed from mathematical calculations, but as I moved from an individual contributor role to sales management and eventually to running a business, I learned that combining the “people” element of sales with the math of predictive analytics can be a powerful combination.
How so? We’ve heard the statistics about how today’s buyers buy. Based on my own experience leading large, complex sales organizations and testing many approaches, I believe that predictive insight is the way to achieve outstanding performance. Here are two reasons why:
1) Predictive analytics tell you what’s likely to happen with your customers, markets, and business performance.
You can use this insight to build strategies around resource and organization planning, territory assignments, account assignments, and quota development. This provides a much clearer picture of revenue potential – much more so than historical sales reports (or the traditional gut instinct of the salesperson and sales manager).
2) Predictive analytics allow sales leaders to more effectively execute business activities.
That’s because predictive insight can be applied at an account or individual sales-representative level. For example, if a manager understands the revenue potential of a particular rep’s account book, then individual level quota and performance measures can be established. This approach helps sales leaders focus on the right actions and measures that will propel the company to greater levels of sales success.
Sales today is a brave new world. While some of the old ways of selling still work, a predictive approach is ideally suited for sales leaders who want to achieve outstanding performance. This means you must be willing to learn how to win using methods that are different from what you used in the past.