Top 20 Reasons Why Data May Not be the Key to Boosting Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 @ 16:06 PM

DataI read somewhere that data was the key to boosting sales.  Really?  Says who?

When you look into the "who", it should come as no surprise that it's the companies that provide data analytics that say so.  Don't get me wrong; data (and especially the right data) can be very useful.  But data, by itself, doesn't boost anything.

If you are getting the right data...

  • where opportunities stall in your sales process,
  • why they stall,
  • conversion ratios from first contact to closing,
  • win rates by salesperson and opportunity type,
  • length of sales cycle by salesperson and opportunity type,
  • % of opportunities where there is true traction,
  • % of opportunities that are fully qualified,
  • % of opportunities that get demos, proposals, quotes,

...and you know what to look for, you can discover what and/or who needs to be fixed.  But you still have to fix it.  The data won't do that for you.  And you need to know more than what and who.  You must know why.  And the why could be different for each and every salesperson.

Data can help you identify bottlenecks, trends and problems.  The importance of those cannot be understated.  However, can you actually fix the problem once you know what it is?

For example, one of the common trends, being illuminated by data, is the dropping win rate.  So you know you aren't closing enough business to hit plan.  Why is the win rate so low?

It could be:

  1. Poor sales selection,
  2. Ineffective sales coaching,
  3. Lack of accountability,
  4. Unqualified proposals or quotes,
  5. Unqualified demos,
  6. Inconsistent messaging,
  7. Lack of onboarding,
  8. Skill gap,
  9. Poor consultative selling skills,
  10. Lack of listening and questioning skills,
  11. Lack of effort,
  12. Follow-up,
  13. Pricing,
  14. Inability to sell value,
  15. Rushing through the sales process,
  16. Ineffective sales process,
  17. Poor sales DNA,
  18. Poor closing skills,
  19. Lack of relationships, and/or
  20. Failure to reach decision makers.
Hint:  It's probably not #18 - poor closing skills.  Closing skills aren't required when the earlier stages of the sales process are effectively executed.  The only time when closing skills should come into play is when a properly qualified, closable prospect isn't able to make a decision at closing time.  
Of course there are many, many more possibilities, but these are simply the first 20 that come to mind!  And in case you forgot, these were some of the reasons as to why the win rate is so low.
After you have identified the reason(s), then you must determine how to fix the problem.  If it's simply a single issue, coaching is probably the best course of action, but the salesperson must be coachable and you must be better at this particular issue than your salesperson.  If it's multiple issues affecting multiple salespeople, then training is a better way to go.
The fastest and easiest way to identify all of the issues on your sales force is to have your sales force evaluated.  You can learn more about that by watching this 2-minute video:

Image Copyright: tashatuvango / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, omg, evaluate the sales force; sales assessments, objective management group

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years.  Dave's Blog earned a Bronze Medal in 2016 and this article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016. Read more about Dave.

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