The Sales Process: How Data Drives Improvement
The sales process, like marketing generally, can often feel overwhelming. Once your product or service is out in the marketplace, you need to figure out what’s selling – and why. It’s also not as simple as just identifying sales trends, either. To truly drive your sales process, you need to get under the hood and fine-tune each element to optimize its impact.
And, to do that, you need data – good data.
Why Use Analytics to Improve Your Business Performance?
First off, what’s the benefit to your business? Yes, on the surface, you’ll ensure sales continuity by repeating what works. But if done properly, good data analysis will enable you to skilfully engineer your sales process to radically improve sales performance.
Here are just some of the advantages good data analysis will give you:
1 . Accurately Predict Customer Buying Behavior
Accurate information about customer buying patterns enables you to predict future purchasing behavior. That means you can manage stock levels better, prioritize key clients, and manage your time more effectively.
2 . Identify and Improve Underperforming Products or Services
Being able to quickly identify an otherwise unnoticed decline in the uptake of a product or service allows you to more accurately figure out why. It enables you to change sales tactics, adjust pricing, create special offers, or implement a better strategy to maintain sales performance.
3 . Implement Better Customer and Product Segmentation
The more precisely you can niche your customers – and match them to the right products – the more they’ll buy from you. Segmentation data will also help avoid a perception of spammy marketing or customer communication overload.
4 . Optimize Your Pricing Structure
Real-time pricing data enables easier comparison with the market – and the ability to react more quickly in the face of pricing competition. It also equips you to more accurately gauge customer reaction to the price points you set and to optimize your profit margins.
5 . Optimize Customer Retention
The faster you react to a customer who purchases less – or stops buying – the more likely you are to win that customer back. Opening communication with a customer sends a positive message. It also enables you to find out if there are problems with product or pricing, and to exercise positive damage control if necessary.
6 . Manage Customer Engagement More Efficiently
Tracking customer interaction with your business is vitally important. Again, if a regular customer goes silent or slows their engagement with you, you’re better equipped to find out why. Pricing issues? Sales team dropped the ball? Good data will enable you to pinpoint not only where customers are falling away – but to identify and fix the causes.
7 . Better Automate Your Sales Process
By creating customer profiles based on regularly updated data, you’re able to customize your sales process templates for each individual client.
Well, with just a few key facts at your disposal, you’ll know a lot about each prospect before you even begin selling:
- Their buying history (if any).
- Their most frequent searches or inquiries – which helps you target solutions that will genuinely interest them.
- Their key financials, so you don’t risk losing a deal by under- or overquoting based on their known budgets and spending history.
- In the case of repeat buyers, you can even mine data related to the point at which they typically make a purchase during your sales process or as part of their journey through your sales funnel.
Armed with even the most rudimentary data, you can now engage with any prospect and pinpoint exactly what they want and how much they’re willing to spend. You can also more quickly introduce the elements that prompt them to buy.
The KPIs of Sales Process Data Analysis
If you apply the same methodology to an overview of your combined sales, there are several performance indicators that should always be included.
Monthly Sales Growth
By keeping an eye on trends, you’ll be able to more rapidly and accurately identify processes, departments, or products that are underperforming. In the same way, you’ll be able to pick up on star performers and amplify their impact early, when it counts.
Analyzing inquiry and engagement trends helps point you toward prospects who are ready to buy and just require the final nudge. A cluster of inquiries for a particular service or product can also aid you in deciding where to deploy resources or focus efforts to drive conversion.
Conversion Time Averages
By recording average conversion times related to products as well as customers, you now have a valuable sales tool:
- You are less likely to waste time and resources trying to close a customer who – for whatever reason – is clearly not going to buy from you.
- You are also less likely to commit the error of abandoning a client too early in the sales process because there’s uncertainty about their buying cycle and triggers.
Lead Conversion Rate
If your data indicates that your lead conversion rate is dropping, that could mean one of several things:
- Your sales process or personnel (or automation!) may be at fault.
- Customer perceptions and preferences are shifting – and you need to accommodate those changes.
- Your service offering, or product mix, may need to be reevaluated.
Appointments, Demos, and Onboarding Statistics
For almost every industry out there, it’s a numbers game. The more appointments you land, the more you’ll close. The more traffic you generate, the higher your conversion will be.
By gauging the number of meaningful initial interactions you have, you’ll be able to predict performance averages and provide correction or support early on.
Monitor and Set Sales Targets
Feedback is an essential element in gauging the sustainability of your sales targets. If they’re based on historical performance, yet aren’t being achieved, you may have a problem.
By the same token, if targets are all too easily being exceeded, it’s time to find out what’s working so well – and replicate it!
Project Customer Lifetime Value
Once you have reasonably accurate customer profiles set up, it’ll become easier to project the lifetime value of a customer. This is particularly helpful when you consider that some customers are higher value clients over time – even though their interaction or engagement may be lower or more occasional.
Get the Assistance You Need
Even the most well-automated sales process requires human oversight. Updates, process flow decisions, and reports all need to be generated so you can glean value from them.
These functions all require time – and in the case of a fulltime employee, a high overhead cost, too.
A skilled virtual assistant is the answer. Pay only for the time you require, while eliminating unnecessary costs and administration.
Book a discovery call today and discover how a virtual assistant can help you with the everyday tasks of data analytics and task automation.