It is no secret – open and honest communication is key to a successful partnership between an organization and their outsourced sales provider. While there are many ways this can be achieved, sales providers who focus on offering comprehensive analysis and reporting are able to provide you a transparent view into their operations, communicating critical data every step of the way. With a past and present 360 degree view, sales providers and clients are able to work together to continually improve results.
There are many ways comprehensive analysis and reporting from your outsourced sales providers can boost sales results, but the following three stand out:
1. Providing Insight Into Ongoing Performance
Sales providers should always offer clients a variety of easy-to-access reports for ongoing insight into performance. One way this can be done is by synchronizing with your existing CRM system, allowing for simple report access. This ensures that the reporting process is seamless and effortless. Having access to a campaign’s reports allows you to keep track of the progress of a sales campaign and hold the sales provider accountable for achieving promised results. Staying continuously informed of the campaign’s progress allows you to take a true partnership approach to the sales engagement and ensure goals are aligned and achieved.
When evaluating outsourced sales providers, you should always make sure they offer in-depth reports that go above and beyond the basic information found in the high-level reports that are commonly available. Reports should include forecasting, benchmarking, and rep-level performance data. Forecasting reports utilize historical data, current sales figures and predictions of future results to accurately predict revenue flow. Benchmarking reports are useful to compare a campaign’s performance to that of previous periods, which shows areas that are beginning to fall behind. Reports that go into the deeper level of a campaign, such as rep-level performance reports, help to show a more in depth look at all areas of a sales campaign giving you an insider’s view into the performance of the reps that are representing your company.
2. Enabling Data Analysis on a Regular Basis
Sales organizations that take a scientific approach to sales are able to deliver results consistently and continually optimize their campaigns to boost performance. Going beyond simply reporting data, these organizations dive deep into reports to continually interpret the data and implement real-time changes based on the results. By regularly analyzing a campaign’s data, they are able to identify top performance indicators of your campaign, which can then be used to shape future campaign activities and increase the likelihood for completing sales. For example, while overall revenue might be of interest, the health of a sales organization is more accurately represented in the number of reps at or above quota on a monthly basis. Further granularity in sales rep performance uncovers where reps can improve performance by committing to more activity, focusing on execution or simply continuing to stay the course. This continual optimization is crucial to improving performance and is a key differentiator between sales providers who deliver only the minimum quota and those that are committed to going above and beyond.
Continual data analysis allows sales providers to proactively shift the focus of a campaign to ensure results. For instance, if they find that a specific time of day works best to reach prospects, identify that a particular market is over saturated or uncover a potential new audience for a campaign, they can reroute leads or make other strategic decisions that address this new insight, increasing performance. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that are in the top tier of data analysis usage in their industry are 5% more productive and 6% more profitable on average than their competitors.
3. Offering a Transparent View of Your Partnership
Outsourcing the sales operations of a company can be nerve-wracking, especially because some sales providers have a reputation for being less than forth-coming with information during an engagement. Therefore, it is essential to look for an outsourced sales organization that operates with a partnership focus, ensuring that their clients are informed and involved throughout the entire engagement. According to Deloitte’s 2012 Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey, over 60% of executives surveyed stated that a partnership between client and vendor was either important or very important to the success of an outsourced service engagement. With comprehensive reporting providing a transparent view into your outsourced sales operations and campaign performance, you are able to hold the outsourced sales provider accountable for delivering the results promised midstream, versus identifying months into the partnership that results are subpar.
Also, by gaining transparency into performance, having open communication and receiving frequent and/or real-time updates, you can have a deeper understanding of campaign progress as well as know when to expect revenue to flow. It is important for executives to be able to predict when cash will flow in order to accurately develop business strategy. By engaging with a sales provider who is able to accurately track this, your executive team will have greater insight into what to expect in the near future.
Data Drives Results
A sales campaign generates a large amount of data, and top sales providers are able to interpret this data and use it to take informed actions to improve performance. Having a large amount of sales data, while important, is useless unless your sales provider is able to take a deep dive into the data, analyze it and uncover actionable insights. While it is important to have a wealth of experience, using a data-driven approach to sales ensures that your sales provider is making informed decisions, rather than basing activities on what had worked in the past. Since every campaign is different, it is important to focus on the results that have been seen thus far and continuously optimize in order to drive ongoing improvements.
Additionally, it is important that you are able to have an insider’s view into the progress of your sales campaign. By gaining a 360-degree view of your outsourced sales programs, you can have peace of mind knowing exactly how the program is progressing and when to expect revenue to flow.
Harvard Business Review: Big Data: The Management Revolution
Deloitte: 2012 Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey Executive Summary