Self-service access to data increases sales success

A global study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has found that greater access to data, frequent use of analytic tools and adoption of data at higher levels of the organisation lead to better sales performance.

According to the study, which was sponsored by visual analytics solution provider Qlik, 97 per cent of companies which indicated they were very good at executing on sales objectives had real-time self-service access to customer or account data. The top performers actively engaged with their data – three in five of these firms said they access sales reports one or more times per day – and reported that sales analytics data was used extensively by their C-level executives.

On the flipside, insufficient or poor quality data was one of the top barriers to better sales performance, cited by 27 per cent 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.

Companies surveyed felt data accuracy  (53 per cent) and the ability of the analytics platform to integrate with existing systems (38 per cent) were the most important features of sales data analytics applications – but more than 30 per cent felt their current systems were limited in this regard.

When it comes to having the skills to take advantage of analytics, 59 per cent of companies agreed their sales staff had the capabilities, which increased to 77 per cent among companies claiming to be “very good” at executing on sales objectives. These 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, the report said.

The report, ‘Unique selling points: separating sales leaders from the pack’, can be downloaded here.