Do your reps value sales data as much as you do?
You spend a lot of time, money and effort to acquire your data, keep it pristine, and use it wisely. It drives every decision you make.
So, why do so many sales reps seem to see data as a nuisance rather than the elixir you know it can be?
Evan Randall, Tableau’s vice president of sales operations, offers up six proven secrets to help your organization use data as a strategic weapon.
Sales Benchmark Index named Randall one of the Top Sales Operations Leaders to Watch in 2013, and salesforce.com recognized his team at Tableau as a “productivity machine.” Not too shabby, eh?
Here’s your chance to ransack Randall’s brain and steal his knowledge. You’ll be glad you did.
1. Simplify your process
Whether it’s a sales process or an opportunity management process, make it as simple as humanly possible.
“We do not hire salespeople to be analysts or process engineers,” Randall asserts. “We hire them to sell.”
If you don’t make it unbelievably easy for sales reps to manage opportunities and update lead records, they just won’t do it, and you’ll accumulate bad data. If your process is easy and intuitive, they’ll play along, ensuring you always have good data.
2. Create accountability through measurement
Measure the quality of your sales data. How many of your opportunities have overdue close dates?
“If you’re not measuring people on that, they will let opportunities lapse regularly,” Randall warns, citing close dates as just one common example of disregarded data.
Your reps care about following up on opportunities, but they don’t care about your CRM tool. If they feel a task is administrative, they’ll avoid it unless you create a culture of accountability through consistent measurement and reporting.
3. Highlight how data increases sales
Sometimes, sales reps dismiss data because they can’t see how it helps them achieve their goals. They view it as a management tool that robs them of precious time without producing a solid ROI.
That’s why Randall says you must empower your reps with valuable insights into the data that show them how it helps them sell better.
For example, if they consistently submit clean data, you can help them answer important questions like this:
What pipeline coverage do I need at this point in the quarter to hit my number?
If they’re behind, they’ll know they need to find more opportunities. If they’re ahead, they’ll know that they’ve set themselves up for success.
Accurate data entry enables you to provide historical conversion rates, average order sizes, average sales cycles and other insanely useful metrics.
“People will actually care about the quality of the data because they care about the insight it gives them,” Randall says.
4. Ensure instant access to accurate data across the entire organization
In many organizations, data is siloed. It’s hard to access. This system or tool doesn’t talk to that system or tool. Honestly, it’s a nightmare.
When I ask Randall how he deals with this issue, he laughs.
“Well, we use our own software,” he says.
Tableau assembles sales data from fragmented systems and blends it together in a single, easy-to-read dashboard.
“We have a dashboard that shows our reps who’s hitting our websites, who’s logging cases, who has opportunities open. They can act on it right then and there,” Randall notes. “We’re giving them days back in selling time because they have access to info they need at their fingertips.”
Does this sound like the experience you’re providing your reps? Or do you send projects like this to sales ops, where they always seem to have a three-week backlog?
If you don’t get help from Tableau, please, get help somewhere.
5. Focus on fewer metrics
The biggest mistake sales leaders make is obsessing over too many metrics.
If your compensation plan measures reps on 10 different metrics, they won’t know where to focus.
“Defocused sales reps mean unproductive sales reps,” Randall says. “That’s why you never go above three measures.”
Here are three crucial high-level metrics you can take action on to elevate your team’s performance:
Average order size
Lead to won opportunity conversion rate
Average sales cycle
“If you can increase your average order size, increase your conversion rate from lead to won opportunity, and lower your average sales cycle, your team’s going to be a freakin’ engine,” Randall says.
6. Don’t rely on intuition
Tableau implemented a five-call process based on telemarketing research that Randall has read. Sales reps must call every lead five times before giving up.
“With the amount of money we’re spending on marketing, we have to do this,” he says. “At Tableau, we’re super high growth. We’re getting an overwhelming deluge of leads. We’ve got to touch every single one. This is our time. If we don’t get to people now, somebody else is going to get them.”
Randall’s reps doubled their contact rates as a result of using this scientific approach.
Tableau’s experience matches XANT research on lead response management, which shows that you can contact up to 92 percent of your leads if you call each lead at least six times.
But calling every lead that many times doesn’t always come naturally to reps. That’s why you must trust your data and use it to build killer processes.
Randall shares more sales data secrets in this webinar: “Closing the Gap: Leveraging Data to Drive Sales Performance.” Watch it with someone you love.
See how XANT accelerates sales through science.