Sales Planning: Analysis Matters For Sales Reps
Our current series kicked off with an introduction to the sales enablement formula for sales reps, along with an overview of its main variables: planning, preparing and engaging. To make sense of it all, we’re zooming in on each element that plays into those variables. Our last post dissected the visibility element of sales planning. In this post, we’ll anatomize the second element that makes planning tick: opportunity analysis.
Sales planning: visibility, ANALYSIS and prioritization.
Opportunity analysis (i.e., sales analysis) is probably the most important but often overlooked step in the planning process. Top sales reps think critically by nature, but not everyone has that intrinsic eye for analytical processing.
- “90% of sales opportunities forecasted to close do not close as originally projected.” – CSO Insights, as quoted in 3GS: Business-to-Business Sales Forecasting
- “The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past five years due to more decision makers being involved in the buying process.” – Sales 2.0: Psychology, Self-Selection, and “Getting There First” via InsideSales.com
Sales analysis drives the opportunity strategy and lays the foundation for that third element in sales planning, prioritization. But remember: As we mentioned before, proper analysis is only possible with visibility across the sales pipeline.
- “As the volume of customer-related data (transactional, behavioral and unstructured) continues to grow, marketing organizations are in danger of becoming increasingly data-rich, but insight-poor. Without a strong analytics capability to glean insights from both prior marketing activities and current customers, it is very difficult to execute these tactics effectively or efficiently.” – Analytics for the CMO: How Best-in-Class Marketers Use Customer Insights to Drive More Revenue via Aberdeen Group
- “Companies using predictive analytics, ‘big data,’ outpace those who don’t in two important marketing metrics: 1] incremental sales lift from a marketing campaign, and 2] click-through rate from mass campaigns.” – Predictive Analytics for Sales and Marketing: Seeing Around Corners via Aberdeen Group 
- “27% of Best-In-Class companies use predictive analytics for marketing effectiveness and sales forecasting,” building alignment with insight. – Sales Enablement: Fulfilling the Last Frontier of Marketing-Sales Alignment via Aberdeen Group 
To evaluate their opportunities effectively, a sales team needs access to critical information: unhindered insight that paints a clear and complete picture of the entire sales landscape.
When planning the sales strategy, analysis matters.
Here’s how a Sales Enablement Platform opens the door for opportunity analysis to catalyze sales success:
Sales visibility, unlocked.
- Get unmatched visibility with a sales dashboard, allowing reps to analyze and prioritize their way to efficient planning/forecasting for effective sales strategy.
- See all critical information displayed easily and graphically in one place.
- Hone in on detailed information about each buyer persona and their critical pain points.
Buying team, in focus.
- Gain insight into which buyers are supportive and engaged, as well as those who are holding up the deal.
- Plan strategy and follow-up actions to assuage dissenters, assure fence-sitters and clinch consensus.
Full history, no mystery.
- See the complete timeline of all actions taken and materials sent or shared with buyers.
- Get real-time buyer behavior notifications – opens, views, downloads, shares and even “cold spots” where buyers lose interest – on all messages and content.
- Get recommendations on when to follow up, who to fast-track, which material to send and what to do next.
Opportunities, checked for health.
- Get a clear picture of each opportunity across the entire sales pipeline.
- See which opportunities are accelerating on a healthy path, and spotlight those stalling out and showing signs of risk.
Opportunities, scored for strength.
- Calculate opportunity strength using specialized algorithms and variables for deal size, urgency and fit.
- Prioritize follow-up activities according to this data.
Next element to dissect:
Stay tuned to examine the third step in sales planning: PRIORITIZATION.
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