Today’s changing roles for both the sales rep and sales management are made possible by accurate and useable sales analytics.
How have these roles changed? For example, traditionally sales forecasts have been created by sales management, based on data entered and provided by salespeople. Believe it or not, salespeople have greater control over their own pipelines if they also create and provide their own sales forecasts.
Let’s take a look at how precise and usable sales analytics change the role of both—but especially the sales manager.
The Traditional Role
The responsibility of a sales manager is not a light one. The considerable burdens of Increasing sales, meeting quotas, training and coaching, and sales forecasting all rest squarely on their shoulders.
A sales manager, in many companies, spends quite a bit of time on sales forecasting. Forecasting is usually facilitated through regular sales meetings—each opportunity is discussed, and reps provide input on the likelihood of each sale closing, their dollar amounts, the expected close data, and other pertinent data. The sales manager then utilizes all this data to create a sales forecast, which is then sent on to company management.
Ask any sales manager: putting these forecasts together requires a lot of time. Because of this time factor, another very important aspect of sales management—coaching and mentoring of salespeople—is often reduced to a bare minimum of checking on various sales and pushing them along. This doesn’t do much to help the sales rep or the sales manager.
The Change for Reps
Accurate and truly useable sales analytics—found in an intuitive CRM solution—can bring about positive changes in this scene if implemented correctly.
Salespeople themselves can take greater control over their pipelines. Such analytics empower reps to focus on priority opportunities, as well as tasks and activities that are part of those opportunities. The result is an increase in sales velocity.
But beyond that, salespeople have everything they require to rapidly and easily create their own sales forecasts. With them, they have a full picture of how they stand for the month, quarter or even the year.
The Change for Sales Management
What does that kind of change mean for sales management? With salespeople doing their own forecasts, a sales manager can simply collect these rep forecasts, combine them into a single forecast (again, easily facilitated with the right CRM solution), and send it on to company executives. Sales forecast creation time is reduced drastically.
With considerable time freed up, sales management can then focus on actually helping reps improve sales skills with mentoring and coaching. Through sales analytics, a sales manager can see each salesperson’s closing ratio. But instead of just noting these ratios, the sales manager can now put in the necessary time and effort to improve them. What happens when closing ratios improve? Overall sales improve also.
Precision of Sales Management
There is another change in sales management that can happen because of accurate analytics: management precision. You can poll any salesperson about having been upbraided or corrected by a sales manager based on faulty analytics. Such occurrences erode trust in the sales manager and make the sales manager’s job increasingly difficult.
With precise analytics, sales management can accurately pinpoint where sales errors are being made or—perhaps more importantly—where a salesperson is performing well. Correction, backup or assistance can be applied where it is factually needed. This raises sales team confidence in sales management and allows salespeople to sell more, and sell effectively.
In the end, accurate sales analytics mean that a sales manager can really and truly manage sales.