How Effective Analysis Impacts Decision Making
The way decisions are made impacts the quality of their outcomes. Some sales managers react emotionally, others check numerous facts, and still others make decisions from the “gut.”
One concept always holds true in decision making: the quality of a decision depends on accurate information and realistic analysis.
IMPLICATIONS — WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
Sales managers who analyze and forecast their team’s results only once a year put themselves in a precarious position. Sales performance is not static, but dynamic, impacted by a host of factors such as the economy and competition. At the very minimum, managers should update their forecasts quarterly with sales management software and electronic communication technology. Managers can even use these tools to review forecasts monthly or daily as events, market conditions and competitive moves warrant.
The flow of frequent and accurate information linked with readily available technology allows sales managers to regularly monitor their team’s performance and enhance the production, profitability and effectiveness of their department.
STRATEGIES, TIPS & TECHNIQUES TO APPLY
The application of more accurate analysis and forecasting techniques impacts the performance of sales managers and their teams in the following ways:
Delivery of Accurate Information
Sales cycles, analysis and forecasting methods help managers accurately determine the validity of the information provided by their salespeople. Decision making and competence can only be improved when the manager receives accurate feedback. Salespeople’s “best guesses” as to their situations in the field cause managers to make critical decisions based on subjective information. Consequently, these decisions tend to be faulty or totally incorrect, and results are typically negative.
Accurate sales performance measurements alone cannot increase the quality of decision making because they are based on past performance. Sales managers who rely on this type of information can only be reactive when instead they need to be proactive.
Pinpoint Specific Sales Behaviors
When salespeople are given a reliable way to report their prospects’ status in the sales cycle, managers receive the feedback they need to identify positive and negative sales behaviors. Problems can then be more accurately diagnosed, allowing sales managers to quickly intervene to rectify problems and potentially rescue accounts from being lost. Intervening quickly and frequently allows sales managers to increase the effectiveness and productivity of their teams.
Increase Speed and Frequency
When accurate and realistic information flows quickly and frequently, managers are able to increase the effectiveness of their decisions. They make their decisions faster and at more critical points, which in turn increases sales and improves customer relationships. Salespeople will subsequently see their customer retention rates rise.
Development of Meaningful Sales Management Tools
Accurate and realistic feedback allows sales managers to create meaningful sales management tools with which to effectively lead their sales teams. Managers who competently wield these tools are able to prepare their people to be guided and directed.
Increase in Management Control
Together, improved analysis and forecasting allow managers to proactively develop their management skills. Rather than wait for results to emerge, they learn to consistently control the outcomes produced by their sales team.
POINTS TO PONDER — SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
- How do you use analysis and forecasting methods to improve your sales team’s performance?
- What do you need to do to become more proactive with your sales team?
TRAINING ACTIVITY — APPLICATION & ACTION PLAN
Analyze your decision making accuracy.
- Cite two or three recent decisions that you have made.
- Pinpoint the positive and negative results that stemmed from each.
- Based upon your analysis, identify how you could have done better, and determine whether access to certain information would have altered your decision making approach.