The New Salesman: Analytics

by James Barton / November 17, 2020

In the last edition of this series, we talked about the importance of control in elite salespeople. This time, as the list demands, we move on to analytics.

In case you have forgotten what the 5 key attributes are, here is the list again:

  • Agility – Our ability to process information and make decision based on what is being received
  • Control – Our ability to be impulsive or decisive when it comes to our routines
  • Analytics – Our ability to look at a calculated risk from an instinctive or deliberate perspective
  • Focus – Our ability to avoid distraction and focus on a single task
  • Risk – Our attitude towards risk

As salespeople, we are bombarded with data. This could be information from our CRMs and dashboards, or companies selling intelligence, not to mention the seeming deluge of product training and sales enablement.

Data is everywhere, but insight is much harder to find.

With the ocean of data out there, a critical success factor in sales is our ability to process that data and take appropriate action. In fact, I would go further and say the difference between a standard salesperson and an elite salesperson is how quickly they can calculate the odds and apply appropriate resources to get the best possible outcome.

The ability to quickly and efficiently process data, gain insight and take action helps with both objectivity and creativity; I don’t think I need to explain how those skills can help a salesperson perform better.

Let’s use an example; negotiation. Negotiation is an art by any definition, and by watching master negotiators carefully you will see that they are always processing what’s been given to them and then taking action to get the best outcome.

They often need to be creative in their solutions, but they also need to be highly objective, removing emotion and bias where they can.

What if we translate that to creating the first value proposition when the customer asks, ‘what do you do’?  

Elite salespeople are able to process what they already know about the customer and seem to hit the bullseye with a value proposition that resonates with the prospect. Just luck? Nope; they have been processing data and taking the risk (based on calculated odds) that the hot topics they identified are aligned with the prospect’s hot topics.

Outside of those two areas, you can add pricing strategy, value hypothesis and even account planning to the list of sales skills where analytics separates the wheat from the chaff.

The great news is that applying analytics is a skill that we can train and develop. Whilst a lot of growth naturally comes from experience, the cognitive science shows that this is an area of our brain we can get ‘stronger’ in.

Our work with the CogMap elite performance app has allowed us to develop some simple games that can work out our capability in analytics. This can help us establish a base line, and with some simple practice, we can get better and better, developing our skills in data processing and assessing odds.

What’s also exciting is CogMap’s ability to help us define what good looks like; we can establish a benchmark which we can then use for sales skills development but also in our ability to recruit people with natural ability.

If you are interested in learning more about CogMap, or how Mentor Group can work with your salespeople to transform their sales performance, do drop us a line. It might just be one of the best calculated risks you will ever take…

Next time, we will look at the critical sales attribute of Focus, assuming I still have your attention of course!

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.