How are we going to make more sales? This question is asked every day in every business. Here’s one killer strategy.
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Using Predictive Analytics and simple sales guidance will improve your sales by over 10%* and make you more profitable
Your organisation deserves the super powers that applying the right technology to your data can bring. We are not talking about a large CRM system that takes a lot of clicks. This is about how a simple plug-in product can start to help you create new, more profitable sales from new and existing customers.
Here is your 5 point plan to make this happen.
1. Predictive forecasts
Forecasting takes some businesses a lot of time and effort and it’s often difficult to manage the forecasting process. Forecasts have often been seen as a skill to be learnt and because our sales teams tend to have the experience of working with the customers we entrust them with the forecasting.
Businesses have been known to make investment decisions based on forecasted numbers which have proved to be incorrect. Largely because, although there are numbers in a forecast sheet, they maybe haven’t been forecast actively or have enough data behind them to be valid.
It’s key that the business can operate with some certainty around the forecast. It instils confidence, momentum and the ability to problem solve or support depending on the strength or weakness of the forecast.
AI can now accurately forecast your sales to within 10% of the actual number on any given month. As you get further out the forecast will be less certain, but within 10% is 90% better than most sales teams according to this article in Harvard Business Review (2019).
This is because the AI looks at a great deal more data than the salesperson can. With additional unstructured data if available, your organisation can start to focus on making those growth numbers rather than defending the status quo. The more you use it, the better it gets, in 6 months you will have the best performing team you can have, because so much of your previously duplicated work time can now be used to push forward.
2.Opportunities to upsell and cross sell
This is a key output. This is a priority for most sales teams, how can we sell other products, how do we recommend other services, how do we land and expand. The guidance that the AI gives you makes this a million percent more useful. This gives you so many more prongs to your attack. You know the customer is going to be interested, because they have a likelihood of needing these products/service. How do you seal the deal?
3. Price optimisation
Pricing is a really difficult thing to get right. And it is critical to the profitability of your business. By being able to predict the potential sales and the right price to sell at, you can begin to use your sales teams relationship and negotiation techniques to their best. Your customers may even smile in finding out that not only do you know what they need, you know what price is good for them.
This also means we can have a decent conversation with commercial and marketing. Are we making enough on these products or services, should we promoting in a bundle, how does this affect the mix and the profitability? Can we incentivise the team differently to achieve these goals if we think the scenario can change
4. Lead scoring
This is another way to prioritise, not only in terms of which sales lead to chase down, but also which sales person to use. If, all of a sudden, we can start to know who is going to buy what, when and at what price, we can calculate our profitability, cost of sale etc with that much more certainty. This is of more use to us than a simple “they’ve got the biggest cheque” because it may be better for us to get 10x the deals of the same value, because the margin is that much better.
It may also be that switching a salesperson may have a greater outcome for the business while also providing development opportunities for your resource.
5. Sales team support
This may involve better training, or it may be more targeted marketing support, or commercial support to ensure we are spending our money more wisely. Remember, you now have the likely volume of sales, the likely categories they will and won’t buy, the areas you have opportunities with and the timing of when all this going to happen.
You can direct your sales team to make the right sales call, have marketing support with the right bus dev collateral, the right email back up and the case studies. You even know what price you are likely to sell at. This gives you way more knowledge, that is independent of the sales team assumptions. You can harness the two together to make your team the best performing in the market.
The reason I think these techniques answer a big question is that we spend so much time anlaysing past data to extrapolate into the future.
We don’t need to do that, we can think forward. We can give ourselves a basis for an internal and external conversation that makes the sales process much more likely to succeed.
How we are going to support growth going forward and how do we best use our resources and our marketing and commercial support?
By using numbers and targets that can be shared and used to see the opportunity, can be trusted to work and that can help you all pull together. Once you start it will only get better too.
There will always be issues in sales teams gaming the CRM systems, sandbagging etc. This is human nature, but these discrepancies will change over time as the success of other colleagues will inspire others to change.
How are you going to be more efficient and convert the sales you need?
Please excuse typos or any unnatural language, this post was written by a computer. Like this one in the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/08/robot-wrote-this-article-gpt-3