As buyer behavior changes and sales evolves across all sales organizations, analytics have emerged as a key component of success—yet manufacturers struggle more than average organizations to use them effectively. According to the World-Class Sales Practices Report from CSO Insights, only 23% of manufacturers globally use sales analytics to measure and predict sales performance. Yet when sales leaders use predictive analytics paired with a CRM, they’re more likely to guide sellers to success.
As an example, if a seller struggles to uncover the right buying influences, predictive analytics can show the stage your top sellers gathered that information and the strategies that helped them do so. But these kinds of insights are only as reliable as the quality of your data, which requires all sellers, even your top performers, to input accurate information into your CRM.
Let’s explore techniques for using predictive analytics with your manufacturing sales team.
Get Sellers Buy-In
According to CSO Insights’ 2018 Sales Operations Optimization Study, most companies use some type of CRM platform, although a small percentage of companies, some of which are in manufacturing, still rely on spreadsheets instead. Yet only 47% of companies reported that they have an adoption rate of 90% or higher among sellers.
These companies, whether they have a low adoption rate or still rely on spreadsheets, miss the opportunity to leverage their data for actionable insights to improve seller performance.
Securing buy-in from your sales reps to invest in keeping your CRM up-to-date can be challenging, as they may see it as an administrative task that pulls them away from selling. But if you show how applying predictive analytics to CRM data can improve their win rates, they’ll see the value in making this investment. With precise information, sellers can more easily identify the actions that led to successful outcomes. This information allows sellers to successfully repeat certain behaviors, such as:
- Identifying the internal coach at the right time
- Identifying the anti-sponsor earlier in the customer’s path
- Uncovering hidden stakeholders
Predictive analytics also allows one-on-ones with sellers become more efficient. Instead of reviewing data points that should already be in the CRM platform, you’re able to immediately focus on the specifics of each opportunity. This allows you to coach the seller on techniques that have worked for other sellers with similar opportunities.
Why Predictive Analytics Matter
Once you trust your data, it allows you to forecast more precisely. This is especially important in manufacturing where so many other departments, including production and shipping, rely on accurate forecast information from sales.
Ultimately, analytics delivers the ability to replicate the processes within previous wins by revealing patterns. As you recognize the trends, you’re able to think more strategically by understanding how likely an opportunity will result in closed-won business and the specific techniques used in turning similar opportunities into wins, which lets you provide an accurate close date so your production team can confidently plan.
How Analytics Deliver Critical Benefits
With predictive analytics, you can coach sellers on behaviors like using the successful questions that top performers ask during discovery to identify various stakeholders. Or perhaps there’s a particular type of messaging used when you’re head-to-head against a certain competitor that has proven successful. Without analytics, you may not have noticed the similarities of new opportunities to past deals and missed a chance to apply successful techniques.
Another way to leverage data is to recognize how sellers need to move through the prospect’s organization. For instance, sellers may need to secure buy-in from a specific number of buying influences within the organization. They might need to pursue an internal coach earlier in the process to ensure they have a critical stakeholder in place before the deal moves to a particular stage. The data also informs you when sellers may need help, along with where organizations may need to make additional investments. You’ll also free up seller time by prioritizing which deals are most likely to close.
Is your sales team leveraging the potential of predictive analytics? Discover how Scout by Miller Heiman Group, our sales analytics platform, can provide actionable insights to your team.