Data is critical for any sales organization. From determining the size of the potential market for your product or service, to identifying who are, or should be, your best customers, good, accurate sales data is critical.
Without reliable sales data, your marketing team may be focused on the wrong sectors, your sales teams spending too much time on the wrong accounts and management will find themselves unable to track and measure business objectives and sales KPI’s.
For accurate planning, execution and measurement of sales activity you need good sales data. Without it you will be losing sales, missing opportunities and incurring unnecessary costs.
I regularly see how much of a challenge collecting and managing good sales data is with our customers. This is a particular challenge in animal health as consolidation within the industry continues apace. And because of the often complex channels needed to get product to the end user, sales activity beyond the direct customer is difficult to ascertain. So when businesses are acquired or merge there are immediate problems with integrating sales teams, CRM systems and internal sales data. Through complex distribution, retail, veterinary and farming channels, getting and making sense of sales out data is made even more difficult – it can quickly become unmanageable.
How to address these challenges?
There are a number of steps that any sales organization needs to follow to unlock the hidden value in sales data.
- Identify your sales objectives and what data is required to plan and support them. Is the priority to focus on strategic key accounts, tracking the cost of sales activity, or measuring the performance of each region? Once you have determined and prioritized your key sales objectives, you then need to identify the data you need to support them.
- What are the metrics required to track and measure your strategic sales objectives? What KPI’s need to be recorded? For tracking the performance of the field force, revenue, sales by lead source, sales by rep, sales by region etc. will be required. If your objective is to better understand and to categorize each account, then you will need to know YOY growth, average customer lifetime value, cost of each sale, customer market position, etc.
- Where is the data needed to drive these metrics? Once the measurable KPI’s have been identified you will need to determine where the data required sits. If your objectives are focused on understanding your global / regional accounts across multiple markets / territories then it will be in your CRM and ERP systems. If you are looking to track and measure the account activity in your sales teams, then this data maybe in your CRM, mobile sales tools and even spreadsheets.
- Are there any opportunities to unlock further insights? Can you maximize the value by combining it with data from additional systems? For example, augmenting CRM and ERP account data with rebate history allows your sales team on the road to quickly view rebate history, sales targets, and current performance to aid the sales conversation – giving you a bigger bang for your buck.
- How can you link the disparate datasets together? Once you have identified what data is required to support your sales objectives, where that data sits and how you can maximize its value then a data model will need to be created that links and structures that data. This is a critical task and probably best delegated to your data science team or chosen partner. Linking data, identifying gaps that need to be addressed and ensuring it is structured to allow effective reporting, analytics and insights is critical for the success of any data project. Without this the project will fail and your sales team will still be flying blind.
- How can you bring disparate data sources together? One of the technical challenges of utilizing sales data is simply accessing the data. If your CRM is Salesforce, your ERP is SAP and you have other data sitting in spreadsheets, you’ll need a way to integrate those systems so data can be aggregated and visualized in one interface.
- Are there any gaps? To meet the objectives of your sales strategy you will need certain datasets and by analyzing what is required, gaps in that data may be identified. Is there a unique customer ID missing in your CRM data, or does your field force capture certain items on spreadsheet or paper? You may need to make small changes to your system, use mapping software or change sales practices.
- Finally, how should that data be presented and to whom to unlock the most value? Now that you know what data you need to access, where it sits and how you will get to it then you will need to understand how best to visualize the insights required to plan, execute and track your sales objectives.
Although getting access to, processing and analyzing sales data from multiple systems and even multiple parties is challenging, the benefits that it can bring to any sales organization is significant. If you would like to know more about this topic, how Proagrica can help you address some of the challenges or more broadly digitalization across the animal health sector, please reach out to me on my email below.
Matt Earle, Sales Director for Proagrica Animal Health
“Matt Earle is Sales Director for Proagrica Animal Health and has worked in multiple regions (including Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Europe) across three of the main business units (Agriculture, Animal Health and Adaptris) in his 14 years with the business. Matt is currently leading sales activity for the Animal Health business in Europe and Adaptris globally, with a particular focus on helping customers get more value from their data.”