Successful sales force management is dependent on up-to-date, accurate information. With appropriate, easy access to business intelligence, a Sales Director and Sales Managers can monitor goals and objectives. But, that’s not all a business intelligence tool can do for a sales team. In today’s competitive market, marketing, advertising and sales teams cannot afford to wait to be outstripped by the competition. They must begin to court and engage a customer before the customer has the need for an item. By building brand awareness and improving product and service visibility, the sales team can work seamlessly throughout the marketing and sales channel to educate, and enlighten prospects and then carry them through the process to close the deal. To do that, the sales staff must have a comprehensive understanding of buying behaviors, current issues with existing products, pricing points and the impact of changing prices, products or distribution channels. With access to data integrated from CRM, ERP, warehousing, supply chain management, and other functions and data sources, a sales manager and sales team can create personalized business intelligence dashboards to guide them through the process and to help them analyze and understand trends and patterns before the competition strikes.
The enterprise must monitor sales results at the international, national, regional, local, team and individual sales professional. As a sales manager, you should be able to manage incentives and set targets with complete confidence, and provide accurate sales forecasts and predictions to ensure that the enterprise consistently meets its goals and can depend on the predicted revenue and profits for investment, new product development, market expansion and resource acquisition.
Business Intelligence for the sales function must include Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to help the team manage each role and be accountable for objectives and goals. If a sales region fails to meet the established plan, the business can quickly ascertain the root cause of the issue, whether it is product dissatisfaction, poor sales performance, or any one of a number of other sources.
Since the demand generated by the sales force directly affects the production cycle and plan, the sales team must monitor sales targets and objectives with product capacity and production to ensure that they can satisfy the customer without shortfalls or back orders. If some customers are behind on product payments, a business must be able to identify the source of the issue and address that issue before it results in decreased revenue and results.
The ten benefits listed below comprise a set of ‘must haves’ for every sales team considering a business intelligence solution:
1. Set targets and allocate resources based on authentic data, rather than speculation
2. Establish, monitor and adapt accurate forecasts and budgets based on up-to-date, verified data and objective KPIs
3. Analyze current data, and possible cross-sell and up-sell revenue paths and the estimated lifetime value of a customer
4. Analyze the elements of sales efforts (prospecting, up-selling, discounts, channel partners, sales collaterals, presentations) and adapt processes that do not provide a competitive edge and strong customer relationships and client loyalty
5. Measure the factors affecting sales effectiveness to improve sales productivity and correct strategies that do not work
6. Achieve a consistent view of sales force performance, with a clear picture of unexpected variations in sales and immediate corrective action and strategic adjustment based on trends and patterns
7. Understand product profitability and customer behavior, by spotlighting customers and products with the highest contribution to the bottom line
8. Revise expense and resource allocation using the net value of each customer segment or product group
9. Identify the most effective sales tactics and mechanisms, and the best resources and tools, to meet organizational sales objectives
10. Establish a personalized, automated alert system to identify and monitor upcoming opportunities and threats
When the enterprise provides a single source, integrated view of enterprise data from numerous sources and enables every user to build views, dashboards and KPIS, every member of the sales team is engaged in the pursuit of strategic, operational and tactical goals. In this way, the enterprise can acquire new clients, retain existing clients, and sell new products and services without a misstep.