The rising star of Salesforce.com’s 2014 Dreamforce conference, the new Salesforce Analytics Cloud, looks fantastic. With the world of marketing swept up in the data-driven revolution and Salesforce’s marketing acquisitions of Pardot and ExactTarget, Salesforce customers have a flood of great data to analyze. Marketing managers are going to love it.
But when sales managers get home from Dreamforce, they’re in for a rude awakening.
For years, salespeople have gotten away with entering very little data into customer-relationship management (CRM) software. Sales adoption has long been CRM’s Achilles’ heel. So when sales managers try the new analytics tools, they’re not going to see the beautiful graphs they saw on the Dreamforce stage.
Instead, they’ll see a lot of empty reports.
Fortunately, this realization will accelerate the data-driven revolution in sales—and the new generation of tools that power it.
There’s nothing there
We analyzed nearly half a million CRM records, across multiple industries and hundreds of companies, and found that most companies aren’t ready for sales analytics. In fact, 60 percent of sales teams can’t even perform basic analytics on the stages of the sales process. Our research found that the majority of CRM data at these companies shows deals being opened and then closed, but no information about what actually happened in between.
For example, in many companies, salespeople only start keeping track of deals in the system when they’re sure they are going to close. In others, salespeople update their forecasts frequently, but keep all of their meeting notes in email, Evernote or Word.
Nearly 80 percent of deal records in CRM don’t have any actual sales activities recorded. So you can’t count how many meetings and calls your team has done, let alone analyze whether deals in one customer segment are closing with fewer meetings than in another.
In fact, if all they look at is CRM, the vast majority of sales teams can’t even measure whether one salesperson is doing twice as many meetings as the salesperson next to them.
This is a crime, given how important this data is. The velocity of sales activities — meetings, calls, emails, etc. — is one of the strongest determinants of sales performance. We found that the top-performing quartile of salespeople execute twice as many sales activities than the bottom quartile.
It’s a basic tenet of sales: Nothing matters more than hustle.
Now you can measure hustle
New sales analytics will expose the missing sales data in CRM. In our experience, when sales managers see empty reports, it accelerates the adoption of new tools that help salespeople sell — and capture more data at the same time.
With these new tools, sales executives can measure hustle, finally getting reports that capture quantitative data about sales activities. Even better, with these tools, sales teams can leverage algorithms that help salespeople find the most effective next action.
By helping salespeople with their activities, the next generation of data-driven sales tools can shortcut most of the manual steps required to capture sales activity data.
For example, Selligy, our company’s application, helps salespeople prepare and follow up on meetings. Since we integrate with all of the mobile context information on the smartphone, we can automatically capture data about meetings and calls. As a result, our users log 500 percent more sales activity data than non-Selligy users, while spending less time doing data entry.
If a CRM report falls in the forest….
Although many teams aren’t ready for them, Salesforce’s new analytics tools are just the catalyst the sales profession needs to drive the industry further. It all comes down to supply and demand. If enterprises don’t have the tools to analyze sales activity data, there will never be much demand for the data.
Companies must provide salespeople with the tools they’ll need in this evolving sales ecosystem, if they are to establish a competitive advantage. Sales tools that will not just save salespeople time, but will drive new insights into sales activities—and make everyone more money.
What sales team isn’t ready for that?
Nilay Patel is the chief executive and a co-founder of Selligy, a startup with a mobile app for customer-relationship management.
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