Taking Sales Beyond Salesmanship

Written by :
Manoj Tadepalli

Sales has always been about numbers; you either sell, or you don't. This, in turn, makes sales people keen analysts of their environment. They also place great emphasis on the sales process, salesmanship, and training.

But, these days, that may not be enough. New technologies, tools and techniques exist that can make sales people's jobs easier and more productive.

For example, sales people now use handheld devices to take orders. So, sales persons with multiple SKUs can now predict which stores will buy a new SKU, or where a new SKU can be cross-sold. Consequently, the sales team can focus on fewer stores with a better chance of conversion.

Similarly, sales across geographies can be tracked at a micro or macro level. This data can then be compared with the purchase of other durables or lifestyle variables. As a result, the sales team can increase market penetration by focusing on the right areas, while optimizing sales people's time and effectiveness.

Analytics also tracks sales people's efficiency better than traditional methods. As markets differ, going by numbers alone could result in a less efficient person in an easier market getting rewarded ahead of someone better, but in a more difficult territory. Instead, models that bring in the other factors lead to a fairer and more efficient system.

From a B2B perspective, analytics avoids the traditional 'spray and pray' approach of engaging different potential customers with a variety of products. Instead, based on past data and on other characteristics, models can be built to accurately predict which products can be sold to whom, and when.