Sales Analytics Show Strong ROI, Gartner Finds
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.
The higher-than-expected returns have been realized regardless of whether sales analytics is limited only to sales operations or shared with other departments, such as marketing, product development, or finance, the research finds.
About half of companies house the analytics information within sales, so there was some expectation that some differences in results would appear, but that wasn’t the case, according to Gartner.
While analytics can be used across sales functions, pipeline and forecasting analytics tend to be the most popular implementations, according to Steve Rietberg, a senior director analyst in Gartner’s sales practice.
Organizations with the best ROI tend to understand where they are and are not getting value from their sales investments and use analytics to drive that assessment, he adds.
Skills development and coaching analytics tend to have the highest ROI, according to Craig Riley, a senior principal analyst in Gartner’s sales practice. Analytics in this area typically complements what organizations are doing in other areas.
“Companies are looking for evidence of where their sellers need coaching; they’re looking for evidence-based results of manager-seller interactions,” Rietberg explains.
Other sales areas where analytics is generating a significant ROI included opportunity qualification, lead scoring, compensation planning, and territory and account planning, according to the study. However, sales leaders have yet to tap into the full potential of analytics for setting quotas and planning and designing territories.
Territory design and planning easily lend themselves to analytics, which can be helpful in determining whether sales reps are deployed properly and which sales opportunities are likely to produce the best results, Rietberg points out.
Gartner recommends that sales leaders looking to capitalize on analytics 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 analytics 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. To fully embrace the value of collaboration and a common language, 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, the metrics, and the interpretation of the analytics.
Even so, any use of analytics needs to be reviewed and tweaked as trends and situations change, according to Riley. “It’s not one and done,” he says.
“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,” Riley continues. “Nearly one-third of sales organizations have their analytics outside of sales under a shared structure. 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.”