Monday, November 7, 2016

It’s in the Numbers: Building High-Performance Sales Teams Through Data Analytics

Data-Built Sales Teams

While every organization has a different set of metrics to define success, there are things you can do to use data analytics to build a more successful sales team. The following can help you get started:

1. Leverage assessment tools. Personality tests such as Myers-Briggs have been around for decades. But there’s been an explosion over the past few years of new assessment tools that can help identify a person’s natural tendencies. They provide insights into whether a recruit is up to the task at hand. Will the candidate like the job? Will he or she be successful in the role? Using these kinds of assessment tools is critical to your recruiting efforts.

2.  Refine candidate profiles. After hiring your first wave of recruits, make small changes to your assessments based on your top performers. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t necessarily want a homogeneous group of people. Differences in skills and personalities can boost productivity and improve the bottom line.

But staff performance can provide further insights into where to direct your recruitment efforts. You have a better idea of the types of people who won’t be successful in the role or at the company. Adjust the evaluation process to reflect this.

3. Build custom coaching plans. Assessment tools are critical in not only hiring, but also managing employees. On day one, you have many of the necessary insights to build a more effective coaching plan. You know what will resonate with the candidate and how he or she would best be coached.
Take our coaching plans, for example. They’re based on behaviors we’ve identified as essential to succeed in each sales role. Let’s say a new hire isn’t comfortable in a certain area. We can monitor his or her behavior closely and work on building comfort in that area. It’s all about supporting the person throughout the training process.

4. Involve sales managers. HR is crucial for identifying prospects and conducting initial screenings, but that’s where its role should end. Sales managers tasked with managing these people need to make the final call.

Don’t, however, assume they know how to conduct interviews. Make sure sales managers recognize the importance of asking questions related to job performance. Provide a list of desired skills and attributes. Develop a series of interview questions. Even go so far as building evaluation sheets, making it easier to compare candidates.

Over time, you might find that certain sales managers excel at the interview process. You can rely on them to conduct the final interviews for those sales managers who aren’t great at picking new hires. Just make sure everyone is aligned in finding people who will fit the role and the organization.

5. Make trainers part of the ecosystem. You don’t want to think of training as a separate department — one that comes in, trains, and disappears. These people will spend the first critical months with your new hires, so they should be a part of the sales management infrastructure.

Utilize trainers all the way through the life cycle of a salesperson to make sure you’re focusing on what works and doesn’t work for that individual employee. Look at it from a coaching perspective, always working toward improving the skills of your sales force.

In our experience, a high-performing sales team should have at least two-thirds of its members meeting or exceeding sales quotas. By using assessment tools and predictive analytics to identify the right candidates and develop a training program around them, you’re well on your way to improving your bottom line.

Contact me at tduggan(@) at Cogent for more Info or to Network. Cogent delivers customers with Highly Reliable, Secure and Scalable IP Networks with over 190 markets throughout 38 countries in North America, Europe and Asia, with over 57,900 route miles of long-haul fiber and over 27,400 miles of metropolitan fiber.

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