How to use data to foster growth and
get more sales for your SME
Using sales data analytics has quickly become one of the most popular ways to find sales quickly. However, when you start your business on the sales data analytics journey it can seem like a very complicated process; especially as new and more advanced analytic tools continue to enter the market. While these tools could benefit your business one day, they don’t need to be the first step your business takes. Just like when you are learning to drive, a modest car will get you to where you need to go.
So, how do you get started on your sales data analytics journey? Firstly, you must address why you need it.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what you’ll need to do in order to gain value from your company’s sales data and how doing so can help your business more efficiently attain and retain customers.
Getting the basics right
Getting the basics of data analytics right is the best way you can ensure your business is set up to utilise advanced data analytics platforms later. Here are five ways you can advance your data management internally and prepare your team for further technological advancements down the line.
- Use what you have
Getting the most from the data and tools your business has available comes down to standardisation and consistency. For example, developing lead generation forms that lead into existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, as well as ensuring pricing and discounts are up to date in your CRM, are fundamental in gathering consistent sales data throughout the entire sales process. By using a single, standardised tool, you can ensure the data you collect business-wide offers valuable insight and drives results for your team
- Know what you need to measure
Identifying what you want to achieve is the best way to decide what is valuable to measure. While there are endless variables you can select to measure and gain insight, there is likely only a few relevant to the goals you are looking to achieve in your business. By prioritising metrics specific to your ideal sales outcomes, you stand a better chance at achieving them. The 80:20 rule is a good method to follow to define, measure and understand your data; the basis of the 80:20 rule is that 80 percent of your results (output) are generated by 20 percent of your effort (input).
- Focus on data hygiene
If you want to gain actionable insight, ensure your data is up-to-date, easy to navigate and consistent. The saying, ‘You are what you eat’ is relevant here. If your team inputs rubbish data, you’ll receive rubbish insights. To ensure your insights are valuable installing processes to tag, scrub and rationalise data (i.e., make sure the data is comparable) as well as report on its cleanliness are important in ensuring data is reliable and generates clear, actionable insights for your business.
- Create accountability
Accountability is the best way to ensure the data input and the insights generated are correct and actionable. There are many ways you can create a system for accountability. If you have a larger team identify a leader who can manage the data and hold the greater team accountable; if your team is smaller and you lack the capacity to oversee all data input, create rules around data management and emphasise to your team the importance and benefits of these rules.
- Get the sales team on board
Getting your team on board is crucial to ensure all the data they obtain in a working day is actionable and of use to the entire business. Explain to the team the benefits and emphasis that clean, actionable insight will help them achieve their goals faster.
How data analytics can help your business grow
“If data is the oil of the digital age then analytics is the engine that turns it into energy”, McKinsey & Company.
Data analytics can help your business grow through streamlining and making key customer data accessible and clear. With one system to hold and showcase insight, your team will have more time to focus on what truly matters.
Here are four areas where your team can get the most value from their data:
- Sales planning
The act of putting all the data into one place for analysis streamlines the entire sales planning process giving your team more time and opportunity to chase leads and grow your SME
- Pipeline management and forecasting
By capturing data at every stage of the selling process, it will be easier for you and your team to understand your customers. This will not only enhance your businesses performance – as management and forecasting are clearer – but it will encourage transparent communication between your employees
- Pricing, discounting, and order management
With up-to-date prices and pre-approved discount levels populated into your CRM tool, discounting becomes more efficient – allowing your team to respond to customers faster, spend less time on manual pricing and, have confidence that they are offering a good deal for both the customer and your business. By implementing this practise into your sales process, it will be easier to track and address pricing and discount levels over time
- Customer success and retention
Customer retention is important; 20 percent of your customers generally make up 80 percent of your sales. Yet, because many SMEs use a variety of systems to input key customer data, gaining an accurate representation of what your customers want can be an increasingly time-consuming and costly process. However, when you manage and measure all customer data in a singular platform, gaining valuable insight becomes a much more efficient and profitable task. With a single system storing the data, your team can more efficiently communicate the right message to your customers and – hopefully – generate more sales for your business.
Getting your business started on the data analytics journey doesn’t need to be a complex process. While continual advancements to data analytic platforms make the management and measurement of data easier, if your business lacks the basic data management processes to use these tools then they won’t be worth the investment.
Before spending valuable budget on fancy tools, don’t over complicate the process of data analytics; start by using what you have, specifying your goals and keeping your data clean.
We have plenty more tips and tools available that could be useful to your business’s data analytics journey. If you’d like to know more, please reach out to the Smetric Insights team. We have over 60 years of industry experience between us and are confident we can help your business get started on your data analytics journey.
About Smetric Insights
Smetric helps business leaders make smarter decisions faster through advanced analytics and business intelligence software and services.
We use deep business expertise and technical tools to put a layer over common business systems, extracting and presenting actionable insights from business data. Supply chain performance, operational and capacity planning and complex financial analysis are just some of the areas in which Smetric supports business decision-makers. These insights give business leaders the ability to drive business performance instead of grappling with the process of collecting and analysing information