Forty-two percent of sales leaders rate their sales analytics return on investment (ROI) as significantly higher than expected, according to a sales operations survey by Gartner, Inc. This is the case no matter where sales analytics is located within the organization — whether it is in sales operations or outside of sales and in a shared department such as marketing, product and/or finance.
“Sales leaders today recognize how important analytics is to success, but many continue to struggle to move beyond simple reporting and tap into its full potential,” said Craig Riley, senior principal analyst in Gartner’s Sales practice.
“Nearly one-third of sales organizations have their analytics outside of sales under a shared structure,” Mr. Riley said. “This number is likely to grow as data is centralized to better improve compatibility with other functions. Not to mention the high cost of technology solutions are more easily justified when shared across multiple teams.”
Gartner’s State of Sales Operations survey gathered data from nearly 300 respondents responsible for the sales operations function at complex B2B sales organizations across a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, professional services, banking, energy/utilities, insurance and healthcare.
The survey revealed that sales leaders feel sales analytics offers the greatest returns in skills development and coaching. This is followed closely by sales force sizing, opportunity qualification, pipeline forecasting, lead scoring, compensation planning, and territory and account planning. However, there are three often overlooked areas where sales leaders have yet to tap into the full potential of analytics — quota setting, territory planning and territory design.
“As more organizations successfully use analytics for areas such as skills development and sales force sizing, the sales teams that truly succeed will be those that leverage analytics across the entire function — including quota setting, territory planning and territory design,” added Mr. Riley.
Sales leaders looking to capitalize on analytics’ ability to add value to these untapped areas should consider the following:
- Data collection and integration: Data collection and quality is not an area where you can buy your way to success, yet. Successfully integrating any analytics solution will require a foundation of accurate and complete data, a culture of fact-based decision making and the skills to leverage the solution integration.
- Data literacy: Success will require creating a culture where “information as a second language” is the expectation. In order to fully embrace the value of collaboration and common language in these three areas, sales operations will need to take deliberate steps to align all of their stakeholders in their understanding of the underlying purpose of analytics, the sources of the data and the definitions of the metrics and the interpretation of the analytics.
Gartner for Sales Leaders clients can learn more about the value of sales analytics and sales operations best practices in the report “The State of Sales Operations.”
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About Gartner for Sales Leaders
Gartner for Sales Leaders provides heads of sales and their teams with the insights, advice and tools they need to address mission-critical priorities amid mounting pressures to drive growth through new and existing customers. With extensive qualitative and quantitative research, Gartner for Sales Leaders helps sales teams combat commoditization and price-based purchasing, develop critical manager and seller skills, elevate the value of sales interactions, unlock existing growth potential, and optimize sales force enablement. Follow news and updates from the Gartner Sales Practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerSales.