The advent of sales analytics had sales professionals paying attention to metrics such as dials and e-mails per day to track prospects. As for performance measurement, pipeline value and win rate were the metrics that were considered. This was the period when salespeople had just begun to understand the value and potential of data analytics. Then came the phase when enterprises started improving their analytics capabilities with the usage of better tools. These tools enabled them to discover more sales performance metrics, such as quota attainment and lead velocity rate, which had a considerable impact on revenue.
Conventional sales analytics platforms of today (CRM analytics, etc.) are indeed benefiting enterprises. However, they seem to have their limitations. The statistics below from salesforce.com and Hubspot explain the current state of enterprise sales. There exist gaps in sales performance and effectiveness because conventional platforms are still lagging in the application of concepts like machine learning and artificial intelligence. Surely, there is still plenty of room for improvement. And this is where BRIDGEi2i’s Sales Decision Engine comes into the picture.
Sales Decision Engine
To overcome the aforesaid limitations, BRIDGEi2i developed an advanced sales enablement platform – Sales Decision Engine (SDE) – to help enterprises with:
- Gaining complete visibility across customer segments, sales, revenues, and pipelines
- Making accurate and reliable sales predictions
- Identifying opportunities that are most likely to convert
- Enabling sales teams to identify and measure areas that need improvement
- Recognizing strategic intervention points such that sales teams improve their success rate in terms of closing deals
SDE enables sales individuals with different roles and needs – sales reps, managers, and operations – to predict outcomes better, make data-driven actions, and improve performance and effectiveness.
How SDE Works
SDE incorporates a scalable and flexible architecture, which is driven by advanced machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence. The platform is, therefore, capable of identifying and adapting to changes in market dynamics, sales processes, and business requirements.
The platform analyzes data gathered from relevant sources – marketing automation systems, CRM systems, and internal warehouses. It then leverages proprietary statistical models and algorithms for actions such as anomaly detection, supervised and unsupervised classification, time series forecasting, and scenario planning. Finally, the platform uses pre-built visualizations (force.com, Tableau, QlikView, etc.) to help sales professionals improve decision-making.
SDE thus empowers sales organizations to adopt a metrics-driven approach to their business undertakings. The platform is not only meant for addressing certain sales problems or pain points; it embeds advanced analytics capabilities into their decision system for sustained business impact. Now, let’s discuss a few ways in which SDE contributes to sales performance and effectiveness.
Predict Sales Velocity & Pipeline Performance
SDE introduces the concept of gamification in the sales analytics process. The platform helps leaders or reps keep a track on sales performance at an individual level. It calculates sales velocity and predicts the value a sales rep is likely to reach for a certain timeline based on current performance. The rep can get real-time insights on the current actual value, the total value he or she will probably reach, and the gap between the forecast value and the actual target.
Understand At-Risk Teams & Gain Visibility with Benchmarking
With SDE, sales managers can generate reports with details such as overall sales target, actual value, gap to target, value left in the funnel, average sales cycle, and win rate. Also, a sales rep can be benchmarked to assess relative performance. These insights promote timely intervention; they help identify “at-risk” teams or individuals in advance such that appropriate measures can be taken to provide support and improve outcomes.
Obtain Focus on Performance Drivers
SDE offers sales reps a holistic view of where they stand in terms of performance. They can identify aspects that are driving their overall performance and understand how they are doing when compared with their peers.
For instance, the image below shows 16 performance parameters from an SDE dashboard. Green indicates that the sales rep is performing better than the peers. Grey means the performance is at par with the peers, and orange suggests that the peer group is doing better.
The sales rep can also get exact stats for each performance parameter. For example, the rep can see his or her funnel growth percentage versus the peer-group funnel growth percentage for self-assessment. Therefore, these insights also promote self-motivation and stimulate the competitive side of a sales rep.
Improve Opportunity Scoring
SDE makes prescriptive recommendations pertaining to opportunities that are likely to have a higher conversion rate. Higher the opportunity score, greater the probability of conversion. Sale reps can, therefore, prioritize their opportunities based on such actionable recommendations.
Sales funnel progression has several stages such as:
- Initial contact
Oftentimes, certain opportunities do not transition from one stage to another at the expected pace. SDE aids in determining these ‘off pace’ opportunities. Such insights help sales reps or managers in taking the most appropriate course of action as per business needs.
In conclusion, advanced sales analytics solutions, upon effective deployment, can improve sales margins significantly. However, the key words here are ‘effective deployment’. Deploying and optimizing data analytics takes time, investment, and effort. It is critical for enterprises to realize the same and understand that building an ‘analytics first’ culture is the key to continual business growth. And SDE is the result of embracing the same business philosophy. The platform was featured in Gartner’s September 7th, 2016 Market Guide for SaaS-based predictive analytics applications for B2B sales and marketing.
Some portions of this article were first published on Analytics India Magazine — Analytics is now an indispensable part of a salesman’s arsenal.