Manufacturing companies need to constantly improve the way they sell through their dealer channels, or else risk falling behind the competition. Basic sales analytics are important, of course, but often metrics like “units sold” or “average price” don’t tell the full story. Today’s highest performing sales teams are taking advantage of advanced analytics on their sales tools.
Based on our direct experience working with manufacturers and building sales tools to enable their dealer channel, we have uncovered four vital metrics made possible by sales enablement technology (and in particular, channel sales tools) that can help to optimize any sales process for effectiveness and performance.
1. Admin Time Spent (Less is More)
One of the biggest obstacles dealer sales reps face is being bogged down by administrative work. Salespeople often have to waste hours per day using outdated legacy systems, significantly cutting into the work day and reducing productivity. Tracking the ratio of admin time (“no pay time”) to time spent selling (“pay time”) can reveal some important insights into your company’s sales process, and clearly identify the systems that are the most counterproductive to improving sales.
Generally speaking, struggling with tools for more than an hour per day indicates something is wrong. Good sales tools also need to be integrated seamlessly with your CRM, which is too often not the case. Prospects crave information like total cost of ownership to make good business decisions. So why not give them what they want and look good doing it?
2. Most Effective Assets
Throughout the lifecycle of a sale, a salesperson might end up using dozens of different marketing and sales materials, including brochures, PDFs, videos, and images. Knowing which of these materials resonate with customers and push them closer to a buying decision is extremely valuable. The most effective assets can be promoted to other salespeople, and future asset creation by the marketing team can be driven by data.
The most effective asset metric is one you will have to benchmark for your own sales app / tool, but is one of the most critical things you can do get the ROI you expect. On a regular basis, say at least once per quarter, you should look to eliminate information that isn’t being used by sales people. Your app is a living, breathing thing. Make sure the information in there is what customers want, or they won’t buy from you.
3. New Tech ROI
For many sales managers and directors, huge investments in technology – mobile apps, CRM, databases – can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. How do you really know that these expensive investments are actually improving sales? Tracking technology engagement against sales effectiveness is a great way to establish structure around measurement of tech ROI. Get answers about what works and what doesn’t and see if future investments in technology would be worth it.
This one is a simple correlation – using Excel or other spreadsheet, track sales performance in relation to new tech purchases. Over time, you will see the impact your new technology acquisitions are having on your key sales metrics – close rates, sales cycle times, volume. Ideally, focus on one initiative at a time so you can track performance well.
In our work with enterprise manufacturers, good analytics that include how many downloads, total calculators used, and so on, give critical information that lead to continuous improvement in the app.
4. Sales to Existing Customers vs New Customers
Not all sales are created equal. It’s important to track which sales are to existing customers versus those made to new customers. Both are highly valuable: repeat customers represent long-lasting, high value relationships, while new customers represent expanded reach and opportunity for your sales teams. Tracking this metric can also help you identify strengths of sales teams and individual salespeople.
This varies significantly from business to business, but is still a key metric to track in relation to your sales effectiveness. Manufactured goods wear out, and you want your customers to generate high lifetime value for you.
We have seen technology transform sales organizations. Not overnight mind you, but a good rollout with a solid champion will put you on the right track. Then, make the most of your investment with the four metrics above and you will have a leg up on your competition.