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Why So Many Sales Analytics Efforts Fail

I had a few conversations last week about sales analytics projects.  These were separate conversations discussing initiatives at different companies, but both people told me almost the exact same thing:

“The whole team was excited when we first rolled it out. But a few months later, everyone was back to their old ways.”

Digging into the issues they ran into, I remembered a guide that’s available in the SellingBrew Playbook, “Four Ways to Get More Out of Sales Analytics”.  That guide highlights a trap that both companies ran into… The trap? Their analytics initiatives relied on salespeople slicing and dicing data.

It’s such an easy trap to fall into. The sales reps see the early demos with those cool interactive reports and everyone’s intrigued. The project gets kicked off because it’s clearly compelling and the whole team seems to be on-board. But once you roll out the new tools, only a few people end up using them on a consistent basis.

Empowering each sales rep with new data and analytic capabilities sounds great in theory.  But it asks the reps to not only change how they make decisions, but also become experts at analyzing data.  As all good analysts know, you have to be good at coming up with the right questions and great at finding the right answers. Asking a sales rep to become an analyst is asking them to master a whole new skill set.

But all doesn’t have to be lost.  As the guide in The Playbook points out, the trick more companies are learning is to avoid asking sales reps to be analysts. Instead, they use these new analytic tools to present the right answers and insights straight to the sales reps when they need them.

Think about it…wouldn’t your sales team perform better if you anticipated the questions they’d have during a sales cycle and fed them the right answers?

  • Here are the most promising leads you should call on next…
  • Here are the opportunities you should follow-up on…
  • Here are the other products this customer should be buying…
  • Here is the price that this customer should be able to accept…
  • Here are the accounts you have that are a retention risk…

As you can imagine, it’s hard to go back to your old ways when the answers you always wanted are right in-front of you.

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