In sales, being able to optimize your time is a critical skill. Spending too much time on tasks that don’t actively support business goals can be the difference between hitting my number or not. And managing 12 people only underscores the point — inefficiency can hurt individual, as well as overall team, performance.
Our in-house data analysts save a lot of time by using Sisense for Cloud Data Teams, and these efficiencies impact the end-users or consumers of data, too.
We firmly believe in “drinking our own champagne,” so you’ll find that all departments across Sisense for Cloud Data Teams are heavily reliant on custom dashboards to track revenue, product performance, customer satisfaction, site traffic — you name it.
In my role as sales manager, I have several business-critical use cases for analytics:
Managing Our Sales Funnel
Naturally, one of the things I’m most interested in examining is our pipeline. The account executive team at large spends a lot of time in our Per-Trial Dashboard. This enables us to see how individual prospects are interacting with Sisense for Cloud Data Teams throughout their trial. One of our data scientists developed a “win probability” score that measures in-product engagement to predict which prospects are more likely to convert.
We have two other highly used dashboards that focus on our mid- and late-stage sales funnel. During weekly business reviews with the executive leadership team, we pay particular attention to opportunity-to-trial conversions and trial-to-close conversions. I personally spend time filtering this data by industry, segment, lead source (i.e., inbound versus outbound), as well as by date range to understand what is a blip versus a trend we should be planning around. Sisense for Cloud Data Teams lets me interact with the data by using filters, changing visualization options, customizing date ranges and aggregations, etc.
For instance, I can easily use filters to aggregate the data by month or by quarter to examine historical data.
This data gives me a sense of the rate at which we’re getting qualified opportunities into a trial of our software. From there, I can look at the next stage of our funnel: the amount of users who begin a free trial and subsequently signup for a Sisense for Cloud Data Teams subscription.
Setting Team and Personal Goals
I’ve worked in a sales capacity at several companies over the years. I’ve never felt more empowered to defensibly map out my team’s success. With historical sales data and predictable performance metrics, I can take a new employee aside and tell them exactly what they need to do to be successful. We can openly discuss the number of opportunities they should expect to come from inbound versus outbound, what type of behaviors signify that a prospect is more likely to close, and how we’ll provide enough pipeline to hit their targets.
And as we move into new industries and geographies, having historical information on similar prospects makes it easier to predict what is needed to be successful. For example, we recently examined trends in select international markets. I asked a specific question to our data team (via their department’s Slack channel), who in turn was able to create the required charts for us in 13 minutes. As a business user, feeling empowered to ask the right questions and knowing I can put full trust in the results because it was my data team doing the backend work is huge. I can only imagine how much time this would have taken me to do on my own!
Managing Employee Performance
With 12 direct reports, a lot of my attention goes toward coaching and one-on-one meetings. Every few months I hold quarterly business reviews with individual team members. During these meetings, we look at employee performance and put it into context by comparing it against overall team performance and historical company performance. We’ve even connected certain reps to one another so they can help each other improve in key areas of our sales funnel. For example, I can tap the AE with the highest trial-to-close conversion over the past six months and ask him or her to share their approach and best practices with AEs who are struggling in that area.
The dashboard we reference for this — which, incidentally, was created by a sales rep who was motivated to teach himself SQL — breaks out data by each rep. These meetings are critically important, but they could potentially take a lot of time. For example, I recently examined performance across the entire team by comparing KPIS from the last half of 2016 to the first half of 2017. At previous companies, these reports took hours to generate, but with Sisense for Cloud Data Teams it literally takes minutes. This saves me time, but also allows me to have a more meaningful discussion, since I can easily interact with and filter the data on the fly based on how the conversations evolve. Doing this natively in Salesforce would be near impossible.
Less Time Creating Reports = More Time to Close Deals
Today, I have more insight into the sales organization than I’ve ever had before. Now I have business-critical information at my fingertips at all times, allowing me to quickly ask and answer questions and help set my team on a path for success.