COVID-19 has forever changed the way companies do business. While the onset of the pandemic blindsided many organizations, no company has been spared its effects when it comes to business performance. Previously determined sales forecasts were rendered useless in the blink of an eye while business leaders struggled to grasp the gravity and reach of the effects this catastrophe posed for the present and the future.
In such a volatile environment, one of the biggest changes that almost all companies made to their business is the sales model. Traditionally, many companies relied heavily on face-to-face meetings and presentations to drive opportunities to close. Unfortunately, the entire sales model has been forced to move to remote methods of networking, relationship building and selling. Needless to say, this has thrown a wrench in many sales forecasts and performance expectations of businesses.
At such a dire time, it is all the more necessary to thoroughly understand the impact of the change on individual and business performance, to have a firm handle on the future effect of the change on cash flow and gain insight into areas that could be tweaked quickly to adjust to the volatile market conditions.
Sales analytics offers a solution to companies struggling to make sense of their performance data and gain visibility into the future. In our research, we have identified 3 core ways that sales data analysis is helping savvy organizations to address customer requirements, optimize sales activity and maximize sales capacity in a highly chaotic economy.
- Accurate Sales Forecasting
- Performance Management & Optimization of Sales Activity
- Refine Offerings, Services & Product Portfolio
Accurate Sales Forecasting
With current conditions, it is impossible to leverage prior years’ performance data as a template for future sales. Instead, smart companies are utilizing their analysis engines to monitor how the constantly changing market dynamics are affecting the sales trend for their businesses. Questions such as “how do we increase sales in ‘x’ territory” and “how do we motivate reps to sell more” have changed to strategic inquiries such as “should we be changing our sales model from a territory-based model into a product-based model” and “how can we best support our reps to achieve targets efficiently”.
Sales analytics solutions are providing a much needed option for companies to continuously monitor and tweak their sales forecasts. This allows companies to keep a firm grip on their future expectations and manage operations to ensure business growth in the best case and business sustainability at the very worst. Maximizing sales data through detailed analysis allows business to draw crucial insights into immediate and future cash flow while successfully helping sales reps navigate the uncertainty of today’s market.
Performance Management & Optimization of Sales Activity
With a new normal of virtual, remote sales and a dense atmosphere of constant economic volatility, organizations have had to revisit not only their sales models but also how their reps are compensated. Not only do organizations have to manage a more distributed workforce but they also have had to address the compensation arena quickly and at scale. Many traditional compensation strategies have been rendered out-of-date in the new model. While previously fixed pay was a staple for many roles, companies have had to assess featuring options such as flexible pay or project-based pay to mitigate the risk of losing critical talent and maintaining business sustainability. Many firms have turned to temporary wage reduction to protect their employees from layoffs.
Performance-based programs have been severely affected by the new normal. With many individuals working from home and addressing child or elder-care issues, firms have had to account for this unprecedented circumstance when making performance-related compensation adjustments.
At such a time, understanding the impact and effectiveness of the change is just as critical as the ability to make such a change. Performance analytics gives and unfiltered look into the effectiveness of compensation plan changes and the impact each change bears on sales performance. Does each change individually contribute to boosting employee security, sentiment and motivation thereby driving employees to achieve their targets? Moreover, how are the changes affecting individual employees and their performance? Is a top performer struggling? Are there significant misses in achievement of revised targets and if so, why? These are the types of critical questions that allow businesses to drill into the details of performance results and identify any root causes of apparent issues.
With the ability to gauge the effectiveness of plan changes and monitor performance, business can gain visibility into the areas that require adjustments to continue driving desired business results.
Refine Offerings, Services & Product Portfolio
Many firms have had to reassess which offerings are now the most relevant to their customers. The products and services that were in high demand last year may not be what the market now needs. As time passes, new demands are emerging based on the changing market and industry landscape and with those new demands come new opportunities. Previously many retail institutions needed support for their brick-and-mortar establishments.
Today, the retail stores that have managed to fight the effects of the catastrophe have turned their attention to establishing strong digital presences. This has of course provided an opportunity to many existing companies and new entrants to service the industry effectively. A company that previously used to supply boxes to retailers can now expand into the packaging market as online sales see exponential growth. However, these changes need to be identified quickly and adopted with agility to ensure first mover advantage. Sales data offers clear visibility into evolving market demand and product performance so that businesses can quickly adjust their product and services portfolio to meet customer requirements.