Workplace managers can use data insights to bolster productivity and morale—and ultimately, revenue.
At the C-level, you may have the vision and acumen to provide strategic leadership for your business, but the execution is only as strong as your management team. Strong managers are key to an organization’s success, but only 12 percent of US employees strongly agree their managers help them set work priorities—and these 12 percent are much happier in their work than the others.
Underperforming sales teams and ineffective management have a downward impact on retention, profit and revenue. Since you cannot be in the room for every meeting, there is one thing you can ensure your managers are equipped with in order to lead their teams: actionable data. Armed with valuable insights, managers will have the tools they need to increase revenue and morale, while reducing drama in the workplace. A number of options and data resources exist, but generally there are three best categories of actionable data are: people data, prospect data and predictive data.
Many managers offer little coaching and attempt a “one size fits all” approach. In fact, the recent Voice of the Sales Rep survey conducted by SalesFuel found just 20 percent of salespeople said they receive personalized coaching. If I know Bonnie responds well to direct feedback and struggles with deadlines, she needs to be managed differently than Jeff, who is great with process but struggles to think big picture. Everyone communicates differently too, which is why I recommend behavioral assessments like DISC so that you can understand different styles and flex to the employee you are working with.
However, sometimes your assumptions about a person can be incorrect, which is where data is especially important. You may have had no idea that quiet Dave aspires to be a manager. Or, speaking more broadly, you may be overlooking a cultural problem. Make sure to gather regular feedback—consider implementing an anonymous poll to ask one question of your team every week—so that you can mitigate issues before drama arises.
Your teams don’t need big data, they need big insights. Sales and client management is a relationship-driven business, and prospective clients will want to feel like you completely understand their industries and pain points. Obviously, you will start with looking at their website and checking LinkedIn for your contacts. By taking that one step futher—quickly accessing business intelligence about their line of business, customers, competitors and trends—you will show prospects you stand apart with a thorough grasp of their industries and business challenges.
Arm your managers with tools that will provide these insights about prospects, then they can focus their attention on coaching their teams on the best way to close the deal or manage the relationship. With this data at their fingertips, your teams won’t have to sift through a mountain of reading material. Instead, the information they need is pushed to them so that they can do what they do best.
The last category is predictive data. If your competitors are living in the past while you are anticipating the future, you’ll have the competitive edge to be ahead of them every time. Look for analysis tools that infer trends from recent data to paint a picture of things to come. Acting on this information, your teams will be able to design strategies that get in front of opportunities and drive business growth.
C. Lee Smith is the CEO of SalesFuel, a company that leverages data on prospects and employees to help sales teams close more deals, develop talent and increase revenue. Lee’s team recently introduced TeamKeeper, a data-driven talent retention tool.