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Sales Reports Aren’t Sales Results

All too often, analytical toolsets are implemented based on somewhat vague notions of what “could” be done with all of that data, all of those slice-and-dice capabilities, and all of those stylish visualizations. People are often so beguiled by all of the possibilities and potential applications that they tend to forget that the only capabilities that really matter are those that actually get used to produce meaningful results.

To produce meaningful results, you need to have meaningful objectives, right? But if you take a look at the outputs of many sales and pipeline analytics efforts, you’d have to conclude that the overall objective must read something like this:

The objective of our sales analytics effort is to distill reams of data into slightly smaller reams of nice-to-know information, presented through colorful reports and interactive workbooks that people will only look at when they’re bored or seeking to use data to rationalize a decision they’ve already made through personal intuition and gut-feel.

These types of sales analytics initiatives often start with meaningful ambitions and objectives. But somewhere along the way, they lose sight of those aims and begin focusing on the day-to-day activities.

So think about why you’re doing whatever you’re doing with sales analytics. Think about why you began the effort in the first place. Think about what you wanted to happen as a result. Get clear about your objectives again.

Do you want to generate sales reports? That’s a relatively small objective. Or do you want to improve close-rates, customer retention, and margin-dollar production? Those objectives are meaningful, man! Do you want to just provide visibility to data? Or do you actually want to drive more profitable decisions?

Remember….the difference between a lame objective and a meaningful objective can be the difference between success and failure.

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