Are you still using revenue as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for your sales strategy?
In this article, we'll discuss:
- Why your business needs to look beyond sales revenue
- How to clarify your sales data
- How sales software can support your business’ growth.
Measuring sales revenue or turnover is often too simplistic e.g., inflation can flatter your sales figures.
Simply measuring revenue can disguise what’s really going on inside your sales engine.
In the constant battle for sales, savvy sales directors and managers now see the goldmine in their data. That data goldmine is helping them to retain and win new customers.
In this short article, we show you how fast, accurate and secure data can have a high impact – and why it should be your weapon of choice – so you sell smart every day.
The importance of financial measures
In the early stages of a business, measuring revenue is an obvious first step to measure success. However, as your company develops, you need to empower your sales team with actionable, real-time insights into every customer, product and sale.
‘Selling smart’ means you’re selling beyond transactional sales – i.e., ‘you pay this, and we’ll do that’.
Sales intelligence systems – such as sales-i – enable smart sales by giving your sales teams the information they need to drive intelligent conversations and build upon sales based on rapport and relationships.
With the right data, you can focus on the right sales mix for your business ie by product, profit (gross or net), quantity or whatever other metric is right for you.
Revenue is a crude but important measure but only one number. Businesses which measure profitability, revenue, churn, sales value ratios, will have far more control over their sales and business.
To be successful, you need to interrogate your data to find leading indicators, such as:
- Average number of lines per invoice
- Proportion of catalogue sold
- Team performance
- Trend and risk identification
- Decision-maker intelligence
- Geo-location and tracking
- Contact and competitor information and quotes.
In a post-COVID landscape, it’s become vital for businesses to become more agile and responsive to the ever-changing market. When a recession looms, you need other measures, so you can respond to the dynamism of the market.
Businesses and sales directors will often use revenue as it’s an easy measure to find, understand and use to demonstrate how their sales team is performing. Additionally, as more and more is being demanded, sales directors often don’t have the time to consider alternative data and how it could help, even if it isn’t providing what you need.
Finding clarity in your data
Every day, your sales team gleans invaluable, priceless information.
This sales information – termed ‘tribal knowledge’ – is typically not captured.
What your team needs is sales intelligence. Use this information well, and you’ll create strategies that really work.
Use it poorly – or even worse, don’t use this information at all – and your business is likely to flounder in today’s cut-throat markets. Here’s how you can make your team ready for your sales intelligence system.
At different times in a business’ lifecycle, different measures become more or less important:
- Percentage of product range sold.
It’s about looking at your data through a variety of different lenses depending on the current context of your business, rather than just using the same data all throughout the year.
These types of measures should be easy to find, analyse and report on for your management team. Without this ease of access, your business becomes tricky to understand, let alone to create a strategy that informs real change.
Almost everything you need to improve your business’ sales you have already, it’s about lowering those barriers with a sales intelligence system – so you can start looking at your data in a different way.
Getting clear on your financial measures also helps you spot emerging sales trends. Without this clarity, your sales team is likely to focus on a single month or quarter of sales activity, rather than considering longer-term sales. You need to ensure your financial measures are easy to analyse and action, so your business can develop long-term strategies that are informed by the current market, rather than by guesswork or short-term changes.
Whatever the stage of your business, your best sales strategy decisions will be based on firm data points.
Turnover is vanity.
Profit is sanity.
Cashflow is reality.
Done right, analysis and insights into your profitability will give you the data you need to achieve more sales because you find out:
- How efficiently you’re delivering to your customers
- Your most/least profitable customers
- How you can reduce customer and sales churn
- What makes you profitable (or not)
- Which customers you should be acquiring
- Which customers you want to hold on to
- Which customers you should jettison.
If you lump ‘revenue’ all together, you may be missing out on nuanced gems of information in your sales team, which could help you answer questions such as:
- Why are sales increasing by an individual customer?
- Why is a particular customer no longer buying a product?
- What’s driving changes in buying habits?
- Which are our most profitable product lines, ranges and customers?
All too often, companies aren’t exploring this type of data because it’s just too difficult to find, understand and put into a strategy.
Under constant pressure to deliver the numbers, sales managers and directors are now working in a climate of tightening labour markets and spending power under threat of a recession.
Add to all of this how good sales people are hard to find, train up and retain.
Once you’ve a good sales team in place, you need to ensure you’re ‘mining’ all their intel into a cohesive system to share the information and best practice.
Savvy sales people are looking more deeply into their numbers.
Those sales managers with the figures at their fingertips will have greater visibility into what’s happening to inform a coherent sales strategy with the best chance of working.
Growing your business…
- Get to know your business intimately.
- Find out how hard your team’s working. Help them to optimise face-to-face time with prospects and customers in easy, intuitive ways using their mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop.
- Dissect your revenue and profitability in meaningful ways.
- Get the right system in place to track, measure and evaluate your business’ performance at the click of a button.
- Try before you buy a system that’s ‘probably’ exactly what you need ‘straight out of the box’.
- Think about how often you’re pulling your data, and how a flexible supporting system could benefit you.
If you’re looking for a sales intelligence system that really works, get in touch.
sales-i was created by salespeople for salespeople.
It’s developed by a team who knows what information you need to ‘turn up the heat’ in your company.
sales-i was born out of sales teams’ frustration with the impoverished data – often from spreadsheets and ERP – from which they were expected to magically generate sales
If you’re a sales-i customer who wants help accessing this information, please speak with your CSM to find out more.