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With the increasing pace of business, sales and marketing executives must respond quickly to meet the changing needs of customers and partners. But that's easier said than done – especially when it's hard to discover exactly what those changing needs Imagine you have some high-performing reps and some lower-performing reps in similar territories. You want to retain your high-performing reps, while also making some changes that would effect positive change in your lower-performing reps. Where to start? What needs to change? Territories? Incentives? Training? Quota? Obviously, finding out more information on both the high- and low-performers is a good place to start. But there are three large obstacles standing in your way:

  1. Getting the data. What is being sold, by whom and for how much, who is buying it and where, what business they're in and what else they buy – this is all information that most businesses have. Unfortunately, it's often in different systems, making analysis a nightmare involving downloading data, merging spreadsheets, linking data fields – or worse, data re-entry. Often, businesses buy an expensive data warehousing or business intelligence solution to help with this challenge. But that doesn't help much with the next hurdle…
  2. Making sense of the data. Once your software and business analysts have merged all the data, there's more work to do. Analysts must design reports, populate them, and distribute them to executives, often with lengthy explanations that put in context what they are looking at. By the time these reports reach executives, data is weeks or even months old, making fast decisions difficult.
  3. Testing possible solutions. Now that you can see the data, what actions can you take to grow the business while retaining high-performing reps and improving the lower-performing ones? What will happen to sales and earnings if you change territories? Design some different incentives? Collapse some regions and add reps to others? You'll keep business analysts busy for weeks trying to find out.

There is a better way. The right kind of analytics – preferably analytics integrated with the systems where critical data is generated and collected – can dramatically cut analysis time and open up areas for analysis that are unconceivable today. CallidusCloud's cross-suite analytics platform, ThunderBridge Analytics, helps organizations uncover deep insights across different sources of data. Without programming or IT support, ThunderBridge presents executives with compelling visualizations and standardized dashboards, helping them understand complex relationships between different types of data. Since ThunderBridge is integrated with the Lead to Money Suite, it receives data faster – making it easy to see what is going on this quarter, this month, and this week. ThunderBridge Analytics Here's dashboard that shows two standard visualizations: Sales by Country and Performance, and Earnings Analysis. In the second one, each bubble represents a sales rep, the size of the bubble indicates the number of deals the rep has closed, and the bubble's position on the chart indicates the relationship between sales (vertical) and earnings (horizontal). While you'd expect a fairly linear relationship between sales and earnings, this chart shows that some high-performing sales reps are not necessarily on the high end of earnings. You don't want to lose high-performing reps to a competitor. Another visualization shows how high-performing reps with expected earnings up-sell customers with high-margin products. With that information you can design training and incentive programs that prioritize higher-margin products, while tweaking compensation so all high performers are fairly compensated. It's even possible to predict what will happen if you implement your training and incentive program. With 8 to 12 months of data, CallidusCloud Lead to Money customers can use predictive analytics in ThunderBridge Analytics to answer questions like: “What will happen to earnings and revenue if I make this change to compensation plans?" Or "If I bundle products to achieve more revenue in certain markets, what will that do to margins and revenue?” There's a wealth of knowledge in Lead to Money data. Learn more in our ThunderBridge Analytics web page, or contact us to find out how to use your data to improve business decisions.

By Chris Bucholtz | March 18th, 2016 | Thunderbridge

About the Author: Chris Bucholtz

Chris Bucholtz

Chris Bucholtz is the content marketing director at CallidusCloud and writes on a host of topics, including sales, marketing and customer experience. The former editor of InsideCRM, his weekly column has run in CRM Buyer since 2009. When he's not pondering ways to acquire and keep customers, Chris is also an avid builder of scale model airplanes.