How can you use Analytics to Improve Sales New Hire Ramp?

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It is a well-known fact, that in most industries, it takes nearly 15 to 18 months for a new sales rep to start producing results.  So how can we shrink this timeline and produce results sooner? Even 2-3 months could make a huge difference as it could impact a quarter’s results.

One way to reduce the ramp time is to just hire the best sales persons from your closest competitor. Alternatively, you could invest in a robust training program; or invest in a highly effective sales enablement program; or coach and manage new hires very closely. Sometimes we see sales ramp being impacted by logistical issues like delay in system access, territory assignment and assignment of pre-sales staff.

So which of these items is the most important and how do you know?

My answer to the first question is “all may be important??? depending on your specific team and business situation. Advanced analytics can help you diagnose statistically which of these factors influence ramp-up time the most. This can help you decide how to invest your dollars effectively.

As the diagram below suggests, a comprehensive sales productivity enhancement initiative includes hiring the right sales persons, training and enabling them right, managing and motivating them and growing and exiting the right sales reps.

Advanced Analytics Application Areas in Sales

Comprehensive Sales Analytics Program Components

1)      Hire Right – Statistical analysis of historical data can help you figure out the DNA of a good sales hire.  The traits of a good sales person may differ from company to company and even between different geographies in the same company based on market and competitive environment, product line and target audience. Advanced analytics can help you understand the DNA of a good sales hire and can help you assess and pick candidates who are closest to the DNA of the best sales performers. This can also help you create interview guidelines; bucket candidates for different roles and compensation levels; and assign realistic quota. The right sales hire will ramp faster, perform better and stay with the company longer.

2)      Train Right – Analytics can help determine areas of skill improvement for each individual sales person based on the salesperson’s current skill levels and performance. Training can now be personalized and timed correct for maximum impact. Performance before and after training can be closely tracked to analyze the impact of training.

3)      Enable Right – Analytics can not only provide sales and customer insights but can also help provide actionable next steps recommendation to the salespeople. Advanced statistical analysis can help sales reps prioritize which accounts to pursue and what to sell based on buying propensity analysis. It can also help assess the probability of a deal closing and identify deal red flags on every deal. An analytical action recommendation system could help standardize the sales process by offering best practices in unique deal situations based on past successes.

4)      Manage Right – With advanced analytics techniques one can predict which sales rep will not perform and why. This allows managers to pre-emptively intervene to course correct. An analytical recommendation engine can help managers mentor their teams appropriately drawing from company-wide best practices beyond their personal experiences and techniques.

5)      Grow/Exit Right – Once the right sales rep are hired and trained, it is equally important to put them on a clear growth path based on their potential. Advanced analytics can help one identify high potential sales reps and ideal managerial candidates based on past success indicators. Similarly attrition analysis can help one understand lead indicators of attrition and can help manage attrition better.