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The Secret to Better Sales Data Analysis? Eliminate Manual Data Entry

26 September 2019 Amy Green Sales Metrics

A rapidly growing number of organizations are utilizing advances in data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation technology to maximize efficiency, spot patterns and trends, and make more intelligent decisions on a daily basis.

In fact, many of the high-growth, “disruptive” technology companies, such as Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix have used data analysis as the basis of their entire business model.

The days of making strategic decisions based on guesswork or intuition are long gone. Relying on such imprecise methods of decision-making leaves you vulnerable to disruption by smarter, more data-savvy competitors, no matter what industry you’re in.

In order to ensure future growth, sales organizations, in particular, must be able to make precise and accurate decisions based on data.

Why being data-driven is vitally important

A well-designed sales analytics program can deliver drastic increases in revenue and profit margins. In fact, organizations that rely on data and analytics outperform the competition in all areas.

Research from McKinsey shows that companies that base their marketing and sales decisions on data improve their return on investment by 15%-20%. In addition, they are 5%-6% more profitable than their competitors.

In our recent blog post, we went in-depth on 9 ways sales data analysis can help your organization generate more revenue and outmaneuver your competition.

At a minimum, your sales organization must be collecting the right kinds of data, and be skilled enough at analyzing that data to spot risks and opportunities for growth.

How to implement an effective sales analytics program

According to McKinsey, successful companies take 5 specific actions in order to implement an effective sales analytics program:

sales-data-analysis--sales analytics program

Source: McKinsey & Company

  1. Internal and external data sources: The first step is to begin allocating time and resources toward data collection, both internally, and from external sources.
  2. Analytics talent: The second step involves acquiring talent with advanced analytics skills who can translate insights into actionable guidance for reps in the field.
  3. Analytics tools and technology: The third step is to implement low-cost analytics tools, many of which can be deployed quickly and easily from the cloud.
  4. Sales workflows: Fourth, begin embedding analytics into pre-existing sales tools (such as the CRM system) and related processes.
  5. Change management: Finally, in order to maximize adoption, insights must be accompanied by clear communication, incentives, training, and performance management.

Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions and the right steps in place, many organizations encounter problems in places they least expected.

Most sales analytics programs don’t fail because of a lack of advanced technical skill or the growing complexity of their tools and algorithms.

They fail because of basic, fundamental, human reasons.

Why does sales data analysis fail?

You can only derive valuable insights from your sales data if you’re collecting it in the first place. This is where the biggest challenge lies for most sales organizations. 

The process of manually entering sales activity and customer data into a CRM such as Salesforce™ is often extremely tedious and frustrating, decreasing the chances that your sales reps will actually take the time to do it.

In fact, sales professionals cited manual data entry as their #1 biggest challenge to using their CRM, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound: Sales Edition Report.

sales-data-analysis--Biggest_CRM_challenge_chart_SOIS

Source: HubSpot’s State of Inbound: Sales Edition Report

The report goes on to state:

“Data entry time negatively correlates to user satisfaction. Practitioners and executives alike prefer time spent selling to time spent on manual tasks that software should help avoid….”

There’s no wonder why only 40% of sales updates are ever entered into the CRM, on average, according to ActiveCampaign. Even when data is entered into the CRM, there’s no telling how accurate it is. Even small typos by hurried salespeople can ultimately add up to major errors down the road.

Because critical sales data isn’t being tracked in any kind of systematic or consistent way, business leaders are too often forced to make strategic decisions based on poor data, guesswork, or intuition.

While getting sales reps to enter accurate and thorough data is an uphill battle, you simply can’t afford to not have this data.

The only viable solution is to find a way to eliminate manual data entry entirely and make the whole process automatic. However, until recently, there has been no reliable technology capable of doing this.

How to automate sales data entry

Fortunately, Sales Force Automation (SFA) tools have become extremely helpful at automatically handling all kinds of mundane, tedious administrative tasks.

According to SiriusDecisions:

 “These improved systems are capturing information automatically so that reps spend less time doing data entry, and they’re analyzing the data they capture to help reps target the best prospects and accounts, offload tasks such as calendaring, and guide reps using insights from the SFA data. SFA systems are finally becoming a valuable tool for reps and sales operations.”

ZynBit, for example, is an SFA tool that works transparently in the background to automatically record and track 100% accurate sales activity data so your team is free to focus on more important activities, like attracting, delighting and retaining your customers.

With ZynBit, your sales reps can carry out their work like they normally do, sending emails, booking appointments, making phone calls, etc. As they work, ZynBit automatically tracks all of their sales activities, without them having to think about it.

By eliminating manual data entry, ZynBit gives your sales team hours of valuable time back that they can use for high-impact sales activities and coaching.

It’s like having a virtual sales assistant working behind the scenes to record events in Salesforce, book meetings, and find the data-driven insights your team needs to deliver sales quotas.

With ZynBit:

  • Your sales reps always know how to prioritize their pipeline
  • Managers know where to focus to improve team performance
  • Sales leaders can easily see the data they need to optimize strategies and goals

Try ZynBit Free for 14 Days

If you’re ready to see how ZynBit can help your sales organization become data-driven, sign up for your free, 14-day trial here.