Self-service access to data increases sales success: EIU study

  • Global study on 550 sales leaders sponsored by Qlik
  • Nearly 80% believe managing sales performance more important than other objectives
Self-service access to data increases sales success: EIU study

GREATER access to data, frequent use of analytic tools, and the adoption of data at higher levels of the organisation lead to better sales performance, according to a global study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by visual analytics company Qlik.
 
According to the study, virtually all (97%) of companies which indicated they were very good at executing on sales objectives, had real-time self-service access to customer or account data, Qlik said in a statement.
 
Of those, three in five of these firms said they access sales reports one or more times per day, the study – Unique selling points: Separating sales leaders from the pack – found.
 
The study, which surveyed 550 global sales leaders, confirms that sales performance is a near-universal priority for companies, with nearly 80% of companies indicating that managing sales performance was ‘somewhat important’ or ‘much more important’ than other business objectives, Qlik said.
 
At the same time, however, companies lack a degree of sales confidence, with only a quarter of respondents citing they were ‘very good’ at executing on sales objectives. Insufficient or poor quality data was one of the top barriers to better sales performance, cited by 27% of respondents.
 
“The companies that succeed aren’t the ones that have the most data; it’s the ones who really understand it and know what to do with it,” said Colin Day, global head of marketing operations at financial technology company SunGard.
 
“The data and the insights are only as good as the current information you’ve got. People move on, the contact universe is a constantly changing landscape, companies come and companies go – the field in which the reps have to operate is constantly changing,” he added.
 
Additional key findings include:

  • Businesses value data accuracy and integration but do not always get it: Companies felt data accuracy (53%) and the ability of the analytics platform to integrate with existing systems (38%) were the most important features of sales data analytics applications. However, these were also most commonly cited as the main limitations of their current systems – by more than 30% of respondents.
  • Sales leaders bring analytics into the C-suite: Around a third of companies which said they were ‘very good’ at executing on sales objectives also reported that sales analytics data was used extensively by their C-level executives, versus 19% of other firms.
  • Investments in training and coaching initiatives, and the data tools that empower sales teams, produce measureable returns: Sales leaders were more likely to see themselves as stronger than the competition in terms of revenue growth, profitability and market share. For example, 42% of companies that claimed to be ‘very good’ at executing on sales objectives said they were much stronger than competitors in terms of revenue growth, versus 11% of other firms.
  • Sales leaders pave the way for their staff to benefit from sales analytics: About three in five (59%) of companies overall agreed their sales staff had the skills to take advantage of analytics, increasing to 77% of companies that claimed to be ‘very good’ at executing on sales objectives.

Such firms recognise that success is heavily dependent on efforts to build awareness of the potential of data among the workforce, and train staff in related best practices, Qlik said.
 
The report, along with additional assets, is available for download here. A Qlik Sense app built on the EIU survey data is also available here. Click infographic below to enlarge.

Self-service access to data increases sales success: EIU study

More about the survey
 
Unique selling points: Separating sales leaders from the pack is a report from EIU that drew on a global survey of 550 senior sales executives, desk research and interviews with experts to examine the way in which companies manage the sales process and whether the use of technology makes them more effective at selling.
 
The survey targeted senior sales executives at mid-to-large sized companies. All survey respondents named sales as their main functional role with over a quarter (27%) being chief sales officers, and another 19% managers.
 
On a country basis, the highest proportion (13%) of respondents were from the United States, with the remainder split relatively equally among various European and Asian markets.
 
Just over half (51%) of respondents were with companies that had annual revenues of US$500 million or more, with the remainder reporting revenues of under US$500 million.
 
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