Benchmarking data is nowadays a necessity for sales organizations to do a detailed comparison with the industry averages as well as for future decision making. The strategic issues faced by different sales organizations, their improvements, the enablement of sales organizations to break performance barriers and to be a leader in the industry, will depend critically on their benchmarking activities.
Every strategic issue requires proper research to identify the questions it raises, the relative factors, the solutions and how it will help and shape future strategic decisions. All of this depends upon the data and benchmarks required to conduct such an applied research.
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Sales leaders in any sales organization rely heavily on data & analytics for improvement
Yes, it’s sales leaders who are mostly calculating and quantifying the performance of individual sales reps under their leadership. And for that, they use multiple benchmarks. Benchmarks can include figures and estimates regarding the trend of previous years’ revenues, to some other statistic presenting the performance of an individual rep. If it wasn’t for benchmarking, sales leaders would have poor performance. Why? Because without the availability of data to identify strengths, target weaknesses, prioritize efforts and resources, with respect to the improvement they are going to provide in performance, how can one expect to grow phenomenally?
Sales organizations must differentiate between their performance data & behavioral data
There are these two major categories in which we mostly divide our benchmarking data.
- Performance: Any data coming from a sales organization’s performance is usually the performance data. From financial systems to the total number of sales per day, annual revenues to even marketing data like demographics and ideal customer’s profile, all such data is considered to be performance data. Similarly the sales data, which then becomes a part of a CRM, provides sales leaders with further context for measuring the sales activities, insights on sales pipeline management and even forecasting of your future performance.
- Behavioral: This data is again very important to understand the organizational culture and behavior. It provides insights into the ways an organization thinks and behaves in different circumstances. Unlike financial or other quantitative data, behavioral data is mostly qualitative, usually measured through the Likert scale. It allows us to measure a certain issue and sentiments related to it within a range starting from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. These benchmarks are also important to understand the activities that are a part of prospect interests and engagements.
Once a sales leader has all the benchmarks he can possibly think of, beating these benchmarks and pushing the performance upward will become quite clear. A leader will be able to understand how much time and energy would be required to invest in which particular activity to raise the performance and beat the benchmark. If such an approach is followed in all the identified benchmarks, the overall performance of the sales organization is going to improve.
With proper understanding of different types of benchmark data, any sales organization can plan, lead and execute strategies that are suitable in their particular situations. This leads towards growth and eventually the successful achievement of any sales organization’s objectives.