New Report on Data Analytics to Optimize Sales Performance

Blog119_OptimizeSales_DataAnalytics_docx_-_Google_DocsIt’s human nature to want to compare ourselves to others we think are doing well in their field.

So I want to share with you today, an important 32-page sales behavior report from CSO Insights, the research arm of MHI Global, to help you get a bead on how world-class sales organizations behave. It’s a deep read but totally worth the time as you learn best practices behavior.

First, however, in a 2015 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, it was revealed that 79 percent of companies believe sales performance is “much more important” or “somewhat important” compared to other business objectives.  Why should we care about this?

Because only a quarter of the respondents felt they were very good at sales performance.

Where would you put your team in this line-up?

Tracking Manually

When asked the biggest barriers to success, the most common answer (after resources and skills) related to data analytics. This response comes as no surprise because many organizations still rely on instincts and manual spreadsheets to run their business.

While there’s so much market buzz around big data, the reality is that most sales organizations still struggle with the basics. Most organizations still do not have a solid handle on their existing internal and external “little” data, let alone big data.

The Sales Behaviors Study 2016 Trends Analysis indicates that sales organizations are often one of the most objectively measured departments in a business. Someone is always taking the temperature of the sales team.

The study identifies a select set of behaviors driving sales excellence today by reviewing best practices observed in global sales organizations we work with, as well as through our analysis of emerging trends in B2B sales.

When judging performance, the report tells us that the numbers speak to success or failure, and often this performance is binary. Did the sales professional, frontline sales managers, or chief sales officer make the numbers? Either he did, or he didn’t.

Look Deeper

The use of data analytics allows us to look deeper into the historical performance of the sales organization, and with this information, model future performance or identify revenue opportunities.

Less than half the respondents in the CSO study reported that their organizations are using sales analytics to measure and predict sales performance. That is a drop of 10 percentage points from the 2015 study.

There are no hard data to indicate why the decline in the use of analytics year-over-year occurred. One could read into this that purchasing an analytics tool set alone is not the answer, and there is more to obtaining a selling advantage from analytical tools.

Customer At the Core

Tom Chamberlain from CSO Insights in a recent blog said “the ability to leverage data is a skill that separates World-Class Sales Organizations from all others. When sales operations provide sales data that places the customer at the core, it helps shift the organization from internally focused to customer-core processes and aligns sales activities with the needs of the customers.

To create a competitive advantage in 2016, sales operations leaders must focus on a practical approach to capitalizing on analytics data. The first step is to identify the activities that directly or indirectly lead to a win, and manage forecasting like the critical process it is.

They can also help organizations gain better control over their growing cost of sales by analyzing the number of people involved with the opportunity. Finally, implementing a customer-core approach begins with the language used to describe an opportunity.

When sales operations reinforce standardized terminology that focuses on the customer’s perspective and their buying process, customer centricity is a natural outcome.  Ask yourselves:

How will analytics provide sales managers with a selling advantage?

How can sales operations help sales leaders achieve greater forecast accuracy?

How do sales organizations monitor and mitigate the growing cost of sales?

How will sales operations evolve the sales organization to connect to the customer?

70 Selling Behaviors

To answer these questions, we encourage you to spend some time with CSO data we’ve compiled from over 1,500 respondents worldwide, collecting information on 70-plus selling and sales management behaviors, some of which include improving the funnel management process; improving dialogues between salespeople and high-level executives; social media to support the sales process and more.

The study identifies the strategic issues in B2B sales. These issues are complex questions that require research, data, perspective, and knowledge for sales leadership of an organization to be able to answer within the context of their organization. By addressing these issues effectively, sales organizations can produce consistently superior results.  Happy Reading.


For more information on how to simplify the complex sale, go to Or call William L. MacDonald in San Diego at PleinAire Strategies LLC at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700

[styled_box color=”Blue” title=”Sales Behavior Study”]Download the CSO Sales Behavior Study – 2016 Trend Analysis[/styled_box]

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And, if you’re not a reader and prefer interactive learning, take our MERGE 2.0 online learning course.  Go here for more info.

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