Sales analytics: using the past to forecast the future

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
— George Santayana

Typically, people use this quote when they’re wary of scary events in world history coming around again… but in sales, it can mean something else entirely.

Oftentimes, sales people will take a look at the past—using analytics tools and reporting systems—to ensure they repeat every single step of a great sale. Who wouldn’t want a repeat of a record-breaking commission?

@@Effective sales analytics goes beyond looking back@@. It’s also about scrutinizing the present and the future: here’s what the data tells about what worked/didn’t in the past; here’s how we can use that data to improve what we’re currently working on; and here’s what we think that data shows us about the next quarter/year.

Do you have more than a “hammer” in your toolbox?

Each business process has different moving parts, and can require a more granular approach to analyze and optimize it. Too often, a company will approach analytics like each step of their process is a nail that requires only a hammer.

But an organization’s analytics and data needs in, for example, order fulfillment are far different than what may be required in lead generation, so you typically need a mix of tools and approaches to effectively analyze and optimize a mix of business processes.

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Analytics means a deep dive… not a drowning

Forecasting means getting granular with your data, and that can mean pulling demographic info from your website, pulling clickthrough and open rates from your email/marketing automation software, pulling close rates from your CRM, and more. It can get tricky as it seems there’s a specific tool for every specific challenge—you want to do a deep dive, but not so deep you drown in the data.

At the very least, every company should have Google Analytics installed on their website. The data is endless. E.g., regularly reviewing data from Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms in Google Analytics will tell you what people AREN’T finding on your website and can help you plan future content to satisfy your prospects.

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Solve your biggest problems first

For many companies, driving new business is all about putting more opportunities in the pipeline. But what if your pipeline has leaks? What if, for example, only 1% of the quotes you send out lead to new business? You can front-load that funnel all you want, but until you fix the leak in your quote/proposal process, it won’t matter.

iQuoteXpress also has built-in analytics tools that can help you quickly spot problem areas in this critical part of the pipeline. It will enable you to see if it’s people, processes, or other issues, and optimize accordingly. (And there’s likely no part of your business you need running more smoothly than your quotes and proposals… it’s where the rubber hits the road, after all.)

Forecasting gets a lot easier when you have the right tools in place, and we’re happy to help. If you'd like to learn more about this topic or see IQX for yourself with a free demo, contact us.