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3 Ways to Turn Sales Insights Into Profit: Part 1


Your team’s sales success rate probably fluctuates quite a bit depending on a number of factors. Factors that can impact sales success include:

  • Lead quality that you get from marketing
  • Volume of inbound leads
  • Sales process
  • Messaging and content
  • Quality and motivation of your sales reps
These five factors cover a lot of territory! How do you know which factors you need to change, or which changes would make the biggest positive impact to your sales efforts? First you need insight. You need to understand where you currently are and how you define success. What makes your success rate “better” can be defined in any way you like, including increased revenue, increased customer satisfaction, greater efficiency or all of the above. How you determine “better” is up to you.

Whichever definition you choose, as long as you want to improve, you must use data to develop a baseline: Your sales leadership/VP probably cares about these statistics, so your metrics need to line up. Second, you need to know (and come to terms with) what you do and don’t have any control over. For instance, as a sales manager you have very limited impact on the volume of inbound leads or the quality of the leads coming from marketing. But there are things you can control. 
As a sales manager, you can (and should) use data and insight to directly affect your: 1) sales process, 2) how your team is trained and 3) the content they use to engage with leads.

1. Use insight to improve your sales process
Many experts say the key to making improvements in your sales success hinges on your sales process. But in order to improve anything, you must first know how well you are (or aren’t) doing and where you need to improve. 

To uncover this information so you know where your sales process needs improvement, measure your current pipeline metrics, and ask yourself two questions: 1) How are you doing currently? And, what’s your baseline?

According to the Pipeliner CRM blog, pipeline metrics you should consider include:

  • Your sales target, because it’s like the benchmark that determines all other benchmarks! Keep it a reasonable target, however, one that encourages growth yet is still reasonable.
  • Your total number of leads and opportunities: As the Pipeliner CRM blog says, this can be a tricky metric to nail down because leads can come from different places and represent different types of opportunities. Getting leads from a variety of sources such as website traffic and tradeshow attendees is a good thing. Just make sure you have a way to track all of them, no matter the source. 
  • Your ratio of leads to qualified leads, because—just as your leads come from different sources—your leads are likely of a varying quality. Are your leads what you need them to be? 
  • Your quote-to-close ratio, so you know how many quotes turned into actual dollars. If you’re getting a high number of quotes to a low number of sales, you know you have a problem!
  • And finally, your sales lead-to-close ratio, so you know how many leads (not quotes) turn into actual sales. 
Becoming familiar with and keeping track of these sales metrics should help you to spot areas that need improvement, and then to continue to monitor so you can continue to improve. 

2. Use insight to evaluate your sales training
The second factor that you as a sales manager can control is the training your team gets. When was the last time you asked yourself, “Just how effective is my team?” Do you know? The effectiveness of your sales team can be a direct reflection of their sales training. In fact, Jeff Goldberg says training is the number one way to improve the efficiency of your sales team.

If you’d like to make sure your team is performing optimally, ask yourself some questions to get a handle on their effectiveness as individuals. Questions should include: How many calls must a sales rep make to get a live connection or a return call? How long does it take to convert a prospect from a lead to an opportunity? Who among your team has better conversion rates? Who gives better presentations? Are there reps who are better at managing top-of-the-funnel leads? Who has better negotiation skills? (Find tips for measuring sales performance here.)

Find the gaps in the performance of your sales reps, and take action to provide better training for them.

3. Use insight to measure the effectiveness of sales content

The last area you as a sales manager can control is the content your sales reps use, from the messaging to the call to action. In order to know how well your current content is or isn’t working, track your sales team’s efforts to understand engagement metrics on the content used. For example, ask: 

  • Does this email get response from new leads or leads that your reps are trying to nurture?
  • Does your collateral help to educate the customer or does it cause more confusion?
In addition to well current content is working, take a look at what you offer. Does your team have access to value-added whitepapers or ebooks that marketing sends out in their campaigns? If not, can they get access? Then track how well this material does or doesn’t engage your leads. 

Although data didn’t play a big role in old-school sales, we’re not living in an old-school world any longer and data should be a key component in any sales organization. And it’s a fact that data-driven sales organization garner improvements faster than grasping at straws. DoubleDutch saw increases of 300% when they started using data-driven sales techniques. 

Are you ready to do some self-evaluating to discover where you need more insight into areas to improve? Get started with our Modern Sales Prospecting Scorecard, and you’ll uncover where your sales team could use improvements. Then start tracking the metrics that matter to make better decisions on where and how to improve your team’s ability to reach their sales goals—and that big sales target.

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