Actionable insights are critical in incentivizing B2B sales growth. Enterprising companies are increasingly using data analytics to expand the frontier of value creation in their pipeline. A McKinsey study of more than 1,000 global sales organizations found that 53 percent of those that are “high performing” rate themselves as effective users of analytics. This is because this information guides stakeholders to more informed decisions that impact significant top-line and margin growth.
Although analytics have been widely heralded, they remain somewhat of a sideshow for a lot of companies. The same survey by McKinsey shows that most sales organizations today (57 percent) do not view themselves as effective users of advanced analytics. Many companies struggle to benefit from basic analytics, while some have yet to even dip their toes in understanding their data at all.
But analytics carries the capability to revolutionize their understanding of sales talent and field behavior. Case in point: Many B2B companies operate through a multi-tier distribution channel involving distributors, resellers, dealers, agents and more, making it difficult to monitor the behaviors and successes of salespeople throughout the channel. Analytics-tooled companies harness data to understand what drives sales success, who is selling well, which products are popular, and which incentive programs function most effectively.
Using the data
McKinsey found that utilizing data should be broken down into five stages:
Savvy incentive program professionals combine sales and customer data to understand the intrinsic factors driving success; and use those factors as design inputs for their Incentive Automation system to drive desired behaviors from their sellers. They then use real-time data to measure the effectiveness of their incentive strategy, communicate successes to their seller base, and provide training around areas which require improvement. They can also reward their sellers for positive behaviors like high sales and brand advocacy, creating a positive cycle of increased loyalty and commitment to the brand.