Erase Your Bias – Use Data Analytics to Increase Your Sales.

Use Data Analytics not Bias
Use Data Analytics not Bias
Are your personal Bias costing you sales?

How Can Data Analytics Increase Your Sales? All businesses want to increase their sales, that is why we have Sales Managers to manage and coach our Sales Representatives (Salespeople, Account Executives, Business Development, etc). Previously, Sales Managers would train/coach/mentor their Representatives to increase company sales. But where is best to allocate your time and resources?

“Johnny has the lowest sales last month, I need to spend more time with him,” said many a Manager. “Suzy is doing great. No need to spend anytime with her.” These views are presumptions based on only one metric, overall sales. Sometimes, a manager spends time with Representative who is not the one in greatest need of coaching, but based on the Representative’s personality, “that person is the easiest to work with.” These are some of the bias managers bring to responsibilities in coaching.

Recently, I attended a presentation by Doug Johnson with CoPilot Sales Coaching where he discussed 3 Bias that affect effective sales techniques. He cited the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis and the research of two Israeli Data Scientists for his presentation. The three bias, Doug educated us on were:

  1. Information Bias – Making assumptions on limited information and assuming that is all you need.
  2. Performance Bias – Using a history you remember of a person’s past performance to assume those attributes are still present.
  3. Forecast Bias – You are expecting certain outcomes and then are not surprised when those are the outcomes you see.

When Sales Managers are looking to take action, they may ask “Which of my Sales Representatives need the most coaching?” Their answer should not be based on personal judgement (bias), or the employee’s request (their bias) but based on the empirical data. There are many metrics to understand: Who has sold the most? Who has had the greatest number of deals? Whose deals are the most profitable for the company? What is the ratio of deals compared to hours worked? Are there regional differences based on weather, seasons, natural events? Who is the most improved and tracking upward? Who, regardless of actual sales, is tracking downward? Who used administrative help to increase their sales?

When your Sales Data is properly managed, you can have a Sales Dashboard in MS Power BI that can visually answer all these questions and more. Your initial dashboard may just give the immediate information that is most pertinent. But each graph and chart can be drilled down to greater specifics. You will be able to easily compare and contrast Representatives, areas, products, and labor in seconds. There is a basic AI in Power BI that can do predictive analytics based on the data. It can predict future trends based on the past data.

This data can not only show who needs coaching, but it can also be used to see when they need it. Where in the Sales Cycles are they running into problems? When we look at the data on the whole sales cycle and can drill down to each Representatives, we can glean information on where in the process there a problem and coach towards that issue is.

One problem many Sales Coaches have is in training a Representative who already believes they are successful and their ways work. When you try to train that confident sales persuader, they will try to convince you they don’t need coaching and will blame your bias for trying to help them. So how can you persuade them that they need coaching? When it is based solely on empirical data, there are no hurt feelings. You are sharing data on where they might need assistance. It is not your opinion; it is evidenced by the research that Power BI did for you.

When you base your training schedule on your perceptions, your bias may not lead you to the best use of your time or the highest ROI on your coaching.

Drilling down on the data of your sales and your sales team, you may find areas of lost opportunities. The time to push new products and services, and to increase upsells can be found in your data analytics. Developing Power BI dashboards to do analytics will take time and money. However, the insight provided can dramatically increase sales, allocate training time properly, and reduce wasted efforts. The increase in revenue and the decrease in expenditure make the investment in properly using your Data Analytics a profitable step for your company.

Don’t let your presumptions, your bias against another new software program prevent you from realizing the opportunities of greater sales, greater time management, and lower expenses. Bias can cause us all to make big mistakes. First, we need to acknowledge the bias we bring into our businesses. Overcome your bias and increase your sales.