Dr J’s Friday Blog – Post-Training Reinforcement: The Power of Analytics and Enablement

In this, the fourth and final episode of Dr John Heaford’s four blogs, our Head of Sales Methodologies and Training explores why the best sales teams are using analytics to develop their sales training programmes.


Why Sales Training Programmes Fail
Friday 6th November Failure Signals
Friday 13th November Training Reinforcement: An Essential Practise
Friday 20th November Training Reinforcement: The Role of Technology
Friday 27th November Training Reinforcement: The Power of Analytics and Enablement

Friday 27th November: Post-Training Reinforcement: The Power of Analytics and Enablement

  1. Measuring the Journey(s)Ineffective implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms has not only driven sales teams to resent the tedious notion of reporting on their every move (as discussed in my previous article), but also leads to a lack of integration between Sales, Marketing and other functions. As any sales and marketing activity is actually the result of cross-functional effort, this lessens the clarity with which you can assess the overall success of a programme and the route courses to its performance. This disconnection is inexcusable, given the availability of a platform to both execute the programme and report on its various key performance indices (KPIs). The CRM itself.

    It is a bit like trying to coach athletic performance while not taking account of the total training environment. I recall a poorly qualified athletics coach once asking me to verify his eligibility for entry into his next Javelin coaching exam. He explained to me that he set targets for his athletes based solely on her performance in each competitive event. There was, I discovered, a corresponding lack of focus on training activity. He may well have summarised his approach as “must work on throwing it further”. I suggested he hold off applying for to the next level.

    Unfortunately, I have observed the same approach in a number of sales organisations. The management focus in too many cases was ‘we must sell more’.

    In developing your sales resource to attain high performance, we must look at all the factors that go to make up the total package. Effective training is key, but more important are the measuring KPIs of both your sales and cross functional business processes and the management of them. CRM platforms offer a rich array of data, from win rates to deal lead times, to use of marketing collateral to strength of relationships with customers and others. Choosing the right ones for your business and effectively managing performance against them can move you on from ‘we must sell more’ to specifics such as ‘if you raise the contact level generally you should see a shortening of deal lead times’. Sales management will be actually starting to coach performance and not simply demand it.

  2. The Best-in-Class approaches.Current research shows that rich data, produced via analytics, is fundamental in all top performing sales operations. Information about; win-loss frequency; marketing effectiveness; clarity of success in business; and sales campaign follow-up, are on the agendas of all the best-in-class organisations. To reinforce the growing success of this sales effectiveness tool kit, researchers like the Aberdeen Group are showing that adopters of sales analytics technology occupy the top 20% of best performing sales organisations. Moreover, these data-driven ‘enablement’ tactics are encouraging sales and marketing leaders to collaborate more closely. In fact, over half of all best-performing organisations formally link marketing leadership with sales training.

    The above links nicely to my final point: I want to draw your attention to one of the strongest arguments driving organisational analytics. In his latest book, “Data-Driven Organisational Design”, Rupert Morrison, CEO of Concentra (one of the fastest growing analytics businesses in the UK) discusses the effectiveness of the carefully planned marriage between teams of sales and marketing professionals. He highlights the power of analytics to help organisations to illustrate, for example, where marketing stops and sales begins, and where market segmentation sits and the sales process is determined. Due to the continual shifting and segmentation of the market and its requirements, it is essential to track the ongoing capability of the sales force in terms of its structure, member experience, market relevance, capability to adapt to change, and pre-sales support.

    So, to end this series of blogs, I leave you with one last thought:

    Contra to popular opinion, greater commitment to CRM functionality, alongside the effective use of analytics, positively impacts sales performance and should be the backbone of any serious sales organisation.

    Until next time.

    Dr John.

John Heaford

John Heaford

John is a sales skills training consultant, company director, conference speaker and training systems designer. His ultimate goal is to build world class training support tools, for distribution over the mobile internet to hand-held personal devices, to field sales professionals and business executives. He is Head of Methodologies at SalesMethods.