- Yvette Pearson
Sales Operations Data
When you are managing your company's Sales Operations function, the first thing you should be doing is reviewing your data capture strategy.
Ideally you will have a repository in the form of a CRM system. As a minimum, you can use a spreadsheet (certainly this is fine while you are starting out).
I've created this list of data you should be capturing. Of course, I can't know everything about your business, but this data will allow you to create some standard metrics that a Sales Ops function will generally need to report on.
This includes the date of the first contact, and the date the opportunity is closed - both won and lost (both essential for calculating the length of your sales cycle).
For more complex deal cycle calculations, you can also capture the date at which the opportunity moves through each sales cycle. A CRM will capture this easily, whereas a spreadsheet will likely become messy with this additional data.
2. Customer Information
Customer names should be pre-populated if possible so you don't end up with several different versions of the same customer. In a CRM this will be set up as a customer entry. As a spreadsheet this could be a dropdown (if there aren't thousands of them).
Customer location or address is really valuable to understand where your customers are. This can influence where you place relationship managers in the future, or where to attend conferences.
It's also helpful to capture industry or sector information of your customers. This will be useful when it comes to conducting impact analysis if there's a sector-specific downturn, or portfolio analysis to understand what sectors the majority of your customers work in (marketing LOVE this).
3. The Financials
Of course the financials are pretty important too. How much is the deal worth? If you are a service-based business, you should be capturing the contract length as well so that you can do fair comparisons with other deals.
You might also capture the profit margin and/or % of discount applied if you have this information.
Who did this deal? If your salespeople are commission-based, then this is beyond essential information. No doubt any salesperson will add their own column or field to capture this if you've missed this off.
Having deal stages is really useful to identify when you will need which resource. If you know your deal cycle is four months and you have 90% of your opportunities in the final stages, you can work to add whatever resource is used in that latter stage (legal?). I won't go into the details here, but you can start to map out your sales processes by stage if you have them all identified. What needs to happen to allow a deal to move stage?
6. Purchase information
What is the customer buying? This is essential to be capturing so you can actually deliver what the customer is buying. Whether it's a car, a coaching package, or a subscription, have a list of what you sell as a drop down, and ask your salespeople to select one thing along with a quantity. Of course, a CRM system will allow you to upload a catalogue of products, and allow you to add more than one to a single deal entry. Spreadsheets not so much.
Where did the customer come from? How did they find you? This is really useful to understand where to place future efforts. Are all your customers coming through intermediaries? How many deals did you get from leads you got at that conference you were at last month? Were you found on Google? Ask customers wherever possible so you can gather as much information as possible. It can also help you forecast when you might see a spike in inquiries.
Once you have begun collecting this data, you can start to use it to build forecasts. Check out my blog on Sales Forecasting and Conversion Rates on how to do this.
If you need some direction or guidance on what your specific company needs, reach out and let's schedule a call to see how I can help you.