Sales figures and the success of individuals are useful for determining your team’s ultimate performance. However, they won’t help you identify which stages of your sales pipeline are successful and which parts need attention. To do this, sales managers need a CRM partner that can help them get their data into shape and ensure they are taking the right approach from day one.
“The idea that I should trust my eyes more than the stats—I don’t buy that because I’ve seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and I know that the rabbit’s not in there.”
Those were the words of Billy Beane, the legendary manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team.
Beane rose to prominence after he revolutionised the sport by using data and statistics when choosing new players to buy.
Prior to this, scouts would look for players based on superficial qualities such as their weight, age or lifestyle and their own sense of the player’s abilities.
Beane knew that detailed, data-driven reports on performance were far more indicative of success than mere instinct.
The same rules apply to sales teams.
Sales figures and the success of individuals are useful for determining your team’s ultimate performance, but they won’t help you identify which stages of your sales pipeline are successful and which parts need attention.
With data on every action your customers and team make, you can create a detailed analysis of your entire sales process.
Of course, the solution is to use a CRM. This is a great first step; however, not every system is created equal.
Sales managers need a CRM partner that can help them get their data into shape so that they take the right approach from day one.
A dairy with big ambitions
To illustrate this, let’s have a look at a hypothetical example: a dairy that produces boutique cheeses for high-end supermarket chains.
The business has recently been acquired and the new sales manager wants to start using detailed reporting to increase efficiency in his team.
Recently, the dairy has been trying to understand their sales activities in order to improve the efficiency of their team.
The company is using an entry-level CRM that only stores customer information that is manually entered.
They have invested a lot of time in producing reports and acting upon them, but it hasn’t been improving sales. Here’s why:
Reporting based on poor-quality customer data
When it comes to reporting, you get out what you put in.
The dairy has been using out-of-date and incomplete customer data, which means their reports don’t reflect reality.
This is made worse by the fact that the sales manager is using Excel spreadsheets to store and manage the data. This is prone to human error and mistakes are introduced over time.
The longer the company uses this system, the more unreliable their data becomes.
The dairy collects data from all of its sales and marketing channels. However, each channel has its own repository for the data and so the data becomes siloed.
Combining this data for analysis is nearly impossible—the data is not collected in a consistent format, there is duplication of records and the whole process takes ages.
This is the last thing the sales manager wants to spend time on, since he has many other competing priorities.
Difficulty tracking activity
The employees at the dairy find the existing reporting system difficult to use. As a result, they either don’t want to or can’t report their work.
This means that management is unable to see which team members are performing well or understand which tasks employees need support with.
Limited analysis capabilities
The dairy’s data analysis software only allows the management to see a summary of results. This means that they can’t see which stages of their sales pipeline have been successful and which ones are hampering their performance.
When the sales manager does present the data to the board his reports are uninformative and, quite frankly, boring.
Five steps to better reporting
The dairy’s problems are not unique. Many small businesses struggle with reporting, assuming that time-consuming, manual techniques are the only alternative to expensive enterprise-level technology.
They’re wrong. Here are five steps companies can take to transform their business through reporting:
Step #1: Get your data in order
The first step is to get a CRM that enables it to manage and use data effectively.
Step #2: Clean your data
Step two is to clean the data by removing all of the out-of-date, inaccurate and incomplete information. The remaining records then need to be correctly tagged to allow users to find the exact data they need immediately.
Step #3: Get real-time data
A great way to ensure that this information remains up to date with minimal effort is to connect your CRM to a real-time data feed, which scans major UK business databases and automatically updates your CRM on a daily basis. This removes human error when updating records and ensures your reports are based on the very latest information.
Step #4: Connect your systems
CRMs can automatically log all sales activity, from calls and emails to purchases and inbound enquiries. This solves the problem of team members inconsistently reporting their work. It’s therefore vital that you get all of your sales and marketing functions running through your CRM as soon as you can.
Step #5: Dig deep
By using specialised dashboards you can cut data any way you want and achieve an in-depth analysis of sales figures and produce engaging, attractive reports for key stakeholders.
The dairy’s solution
The dairy has recently invested in a new data-driven CRM which has transformed the business. Through detailed reporting, the sales manager found that there is little potential growth in its existing market and has changed its strategy to reach out to hospitality clients.
They also found that the sales team’s close rate was lower than first thought, as some of their salespeople were not logging all of their calls. As a result, the dairy has invested in closing training.
KulaHub: Better data for better reporting
KulaHub is a CRM and suite of marketing tools that allows you to manage the entire sales pipeline and gain a holistic overview of your projects and internal workflow.
We’re data experts; we help businesses clean and manage their data, allowing them to easily access the information they need to inform and improve their sales and marketing strategies.
This also allows companies to produce reliable, informative reports based on accurate and detailed data. Our specialised dashboard allows you to analyse information whichever way you choose and present your findings in attractive, easy-to-read visualisations.
KulaHub’s integrated CRM system is the key to managing your data effectively and increasing the efficiency of your sales team to boost profits.
If you’d like to learn more about how KulaHub can help you develop a data-driven sales process, contact Andrew Booth on [email protected] or call 0800 049 6044.