What’s Better? Pipeline Diagnostics Or Analytics?

If sales reps want to get better, what should they spend their time doing? Pipeline diagnostics or analytics?

Partners in Excellence recently shared an interesting blog post about why it believes the pipeline is a key diagnostic tool for sales reps. The post suggests that if reps can answer four specific questions about their pipeline, they can help eliminate the contention between management and themselves.

The questions are these: Will I achieve my goals? How do I increase my win rate? How do I compress my sales cycle? How do I increase the average deal size? 

While this is a good exercise, we believe it’s more valuable for sales reps to spend their time examining analytics than the sales pipeline.

It’s been our experience that most front-line sales professionals (as opposed to sales managers) already know what their pipeline is, how close they are toward their goals, and what they can do to increase deal size and velocity.

It’s actually the lengthy reporting process that truly drives sellers through the roof, especially considering that so many technology systems aren’t very user friendly. All this reporting steals time from the actual time they could spend with their customers.

There is a set of new selling platforms available which actually helps the front-line seller with customer analytics. They can measure customer activities and engagement and how customers work with sales assets provided by the sales rep. That’s super helpful and defines the sales professional’s next steps. Do I just deal with a prospect that is a “tire kicker” or is this person really interested in my services? If I know the answer to that, I can focus my time in the right place — new analytics for front-line sales professionals help exactly in this way.

Plus, research indicates that 83 percent of what’s being tracked by our CRM software, sales systems and pipeline tools is just reporting and not helpful insight in enabling management and coaching.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): Performing pipeline diagnostics is a good exercise. Sure, it’s great to talk about tools, win rates and average deal sizes. But it’s much more important to use that valuable time to get prospect or customer analytics to find out what is and isn’t working and how to spend time in the most effective way to close the next deal.

Source: Partners in Excellence, October 2013

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