Saturday, April 18, 2020

18th April,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

How to perform a sales analysis (step-by-step with methods & metrics)
Steli Efti · 13 min read
If you want to achieve your sales goals month after month, then guesswork and intuition aren’t your best friends. You need cold hard data, and your sales CRM must capture all necessary information on the deals closed by your reps.
To improve your sales effectiveness and make informed data-backed decisions, you need to conduct sales analysis regularly.
As you’ll see in the article, sales data analysis provides intelligence about your sales strategy, the performance of your team, and much more. It’s a competitive advantage that you can’t afford to miss out on. So let’s get started with its basics:
What is sales analysis and why is it key to your sales strategy?
Sales analysis is mining your data to evaluate the performance of your sales team against its goals. It provides insights about the top performing and underperforming products/services, the problems in selling and market opportunities, sales forecasting, and sales activities that generate revenue.
Regular sales data analysis provides an understanding of the products that your customers are buying and helps you dissect why they are behaving in a certain way. You can also find patterns in your lead conversions and drop offs. All of these aspects enable you to optimize your sales process.
With an intelligent sales CRM like Close, you get actionable reports to keep a close eye on the essential sales KPIs. Such a continuous sales analysis helps in iterating your sales strategy so that you can continue growing your business sustainably.
Importance and benefits of sales analysis
Do you know which products of your company are faring the best and the worst? Sales data analytics examines sales reports to evaluate how your company is performing against its goals. Here’s why you need to integrate it into your sales operations.
  • Make data-driven decisions instead of relying on gut instinct - Effective and regular sales analysis unveils how your sales plan is panning out and measures the performance of every individual rep on your team in real-time.
  • Find your most profitable customers - Your sales reps should spend the majority of their time engaging with high-quality leads that add value to your company. So it’s invaluable to identify the characteristics of customers that spend the most money on your products and remain loyal to your company.
  • Get awareness on the market trends - Are you preparing to launch a new product? Are you planning your future course of actions in terms of stocking inventory, rolling out schemes, and modifying your manufacturing process (if applicable)? A sales analysis report identifies market opportunities and trends to support these efforts.
  • Serve your customers better - If you can nail down why a deal closed, you can keep your customers happy and forge deeper relationships. Once you understand their needs better and your brand develops goodwill, you can also upsell and cross-sell to these existing customers.
  • Expand your market reach - Sales data analysis and interpretation will also fetch intel on your non-customers. The information is invaluable for sharpening your sales pitches and personalizing your future marketing activities to potentially find new customers.
Now that you’re convinced about conducting sales analysis, let’s look at the different types of sales analysis methods...
9 types of sales analysis methods and techniques
Based on your sales goals, you can refer to different kinds of sales analysis reports for getting insights. Here are nine types of analysis methods you need to know about.
1. Sales trend analysis
This type of sales analysis is about finding patterns in sales data (whether they are going up or down) over a specific timeframe. A micro trend might last for a week for a specific product, while a macro trend might last for a quarter over a range of products.
For instance, the graph below shows that a company has seen an increase in ‘orders shipped’ and ‘sales.’ However, the ratio of sales per orders shipped is decreasing, which the company might want to investigate.
Why sales teams should measure this: Sales pattern analysis is an easy way to track progress towards your sales goals while simultaneously understanding the sales patterns in specific products, customers, or geographies.
2. Sales performance analysis
If you want to gauge the effectiveness of your sales strategy and how your sales team is performing, a sales performance analysis can come in handy. It can involve conducting a strictly financial analysis based on the sales revenue generated and how it’s meeting your sales targets.
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Based on what you intend to achieve, you can also seek to evaluate parameters like an improvement in your win rates, faster closing rate, quicker revenue growth, better price margins, and the like. You can work on the gaps found in a sales performance analysis to put your business back on track to “where you need to be.”
Why sales teams should measure this: Sales performance analytics shows how you are currently faring vs. the expected performance. It’s useful for sales managers to coach their reps and fix the vulnerabilities in their sales process/pipeline.
3. Predictive sales analytics
Predictive analytics software can automate sales forecasting for you by predicting your future risks and opportunities. 50% of the global financial planning & analysis teams (FP & A) have described predictive analytics as a priority in 2020.
By conducting past sales analysis, you can predict the likelihood of a prospect converting into a customer and make personalized offers to leads that are ready to buy. You can also increase the lifetime value of existing customers by identifying upselling and cross-selling opportunities in customer behavior.
Why sales teams should measure this: Integrating predictive sales technology with a sales CRM enables data-backed suggestions for improving your conversions and accurate sales forecast analysis.
4. Sales pipeline analysis
I’ve already told you how sales pipeline metrics can be misleading. However regular pipeline review meetings are important to get the context of the deals your sales reps are after. Such sessions involve sales pipeline analytics that looks at the activities your prospects go through before they convert or fall off.
Close offers robust sales pipeline forecasting analytics by letting you quickly review your pipeline through the opportunities page.
It also lets you zoom into your interactions with a specific contact through the leads page.
Why sales teams should measure this: It lets you gain context around a deal so that you can instruct your sales reps to perform sales activities that carry their deals forward.
5. Product sales analysis
If your company offers many products, then you need to conduct regular product sales analysis to find out the items that are overcrowding your product lining. You can use KPIs and revenue bar charts to look at the product sales overall or in a specific time frame.
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Why sales teams should measure this: It lets you approach product sales data from various angles like the demographics, product popularity, and the like. Multi-product firms can use the results from this analysis to take constructive actions, like discontinuing unprofitable products.
6. Sales effectiveness analytics
Sales management reports are important to monitor the effectiveness of your sales reps and help them identify selling opportunities in customer interactions. Essentially these reports are about crunching meaningful patterns in your data and actionable insights to improve the sales performance of your team.
With sales management software like Close, you can trust that your sales reps will stay organized, efficient, and spend time on deals that positively affect your bottom line. Our dashboards will let you identify the traits of your top performers so that you can shape your sales training.
You can even share feedback with your reps for filling the gaps in sales skills and improve their effectiveness.
Why sales teams should measure this: Sales effectiveness analytics not only improves the quality of your business decisions, it also enables automating tedious business processes. Thereby your sales reps can spend more time selling, and your sales force can grow stronger.
7. Diagnostic analysis
This sales analysis involves justifying the trends and observations in sales related data with reasonings. For example, the increased competition in the industry might lead to a decrease in your product sales. Sales leaders conduct internal diagnostics to identify the roadblocks for their teams, list their observations, and brainstorm ways to improve.
The Center for Sales Strategy has prepared a diagnostic list that you can refer to as a starting point for auditing your performance.
For your first audit, you can follow the five steps laid out for conducting an internal sales diagnostic here.
Why sales teams should measure this: It lets you review the health of your sales organization by giving detailed insights into different aspects of your sales operations.
8. Prescriptive analysis
Remember the “do this, not that” series? Prescriptive analytics involves generating predictive inferences about customers and prospects. It empowers your SDRs to know the right prospect opportunities they should go after and the offer they need to pitch them (“sell this, not that”).
Indeed your reps are empowered with a granular game plan for every prospect (based on the analysis of past successful sales pursuits). They know the specific sales action, including the sales cadence (i.e. the sequence of touch points across email, phone calls, rich media, and social media), to increase the probability of closing a deal.
Why sales teams should measure this: Guided selling through prescriptive analytics will make the jobs of your sales reps easier. It will also improve the effectiveness of your salespeople and raise your win rates.
9. Marketing research
Occasionally the good old market research helps make informed business decisions.
The technique could involve surveying your customers over the phone, email, or in-person. You can also study your competitors and general sales statistics.
Once you get a good handle on the market conditions, you can evaluate your company’s performance and identify the weaknesses of your sales team. It also identifies potential business opportunities and gives a better understanding of your customers’ needs, thereby improving your sales effectiveness.
Why sales teams should measure this: Sales data analysis and interpretation are based on your past sales data, but market research can fill in the gaps of such analyses. For sales directors, it serves as a gateway into the future.
How to perform sales analysis: a 3-step process
Once you’ve chosen a sales analysis technique, here are three simple steps to create your first sales analysis report.
Step 1: Identify the data you want to track
You need to analyze the right kind of sales data for generating meaningful insights that positively affect your bottom line. Begin with objectives around the departments or products whose sales performance you want to focus on. Here are a few you can get started with:
Next, you need to identify your data sources, the variables that are relevant to your above objectives, and the performance metrics you’ll rely on.
And finally, choose a time frame for collecting your data. You can consider choosing a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly period depending on your requirements. Regular tracking is essential, and you may want to conduct analysis more frequently during special promotions.
Step 2: Choose a sales analysis tool and analyze your data
Microsoft Excel is a robust tool for sales data analysis and interpretation. To get started, ensure that you have sufficient quantity and quality of data to make informed decisions. You may have to lengthen the period of your data to arrive at meaningful behavioral patterns.
With Close, your sales reps can operate efficiently and dedicate maximum time to selling. Indeed much of the sales analytics and reporting is available inside the CRM.
Once you’ve crunched numbers, you should get a historical overview of your sales performance and insights into the success/failure of your team. You can draw preliminary conclusions at this stage.
Step 3: Share your results with relevant stakeholders
It’s time to present your sales data analysis. Unless you’re asked to share the process you used to arrive at the results, only show the key findings. You can use graphs and visuals to help your audience interpret the data.
For example: If you lead a team and want to share your sales performance with the CEO, then you might include charts around your sales goals, your best selling products, the revenue and expenses of your team, and the like.
Overall, keep your presentation actionable and easily digestible. Depending on the nature of your meeting and the role of the stakeholder, you may want to dissect the sales trends and create recommendations for improving your performance.
Top 10 sales analysis metrics & KPIs
Sales reporting and analysis will mean dealing with lots of data. Below let’s look at the top ten sales analysis metrics. If you want to explore more, please check out the full list of 18 sales KPIs that you can track.
1. Monthly sales growth
This metric tells us how your sales revenue has grown/shrunk month-over-month. It’s an actionable metric that you can use to optimize your sales process and strategies.
How to calculate it: (Current month’s performance - previous month’s performance)/100
This KPI dissects the effectiveness of your sales process by telling you about the opportunities that your sales reps are creating. You can use it to forecast sales and determine which opportunities are worth the most.
What to track: Total number of opportunities created by the sales team in a specified period
This gives a broad overview of how your entire team is performing by telling you how many leads are converting into sales. You can work backward from it to understand why and how leads converted, then prepare a foolproof plan for acquiring future customers.
How to calculate it:
(Number of leads that converted into opportunity in a given period)/(Number of leads created in this period)
4. Average conversion time
This sales analysis metric gives an insight into the productivity of your funnel by telling you how long it takes for a lead to convert. Alongside lead conversion rate, sales opportunities, and other metrics, this KPI gives you a bird’s eye view of your sales pipeline.
How to calculate it: Sum of all lead conversion times within a specified period / number of lead conversion times included in that period
5. Monthly onboarding and demo calls booked
Prospects that have made their way this far in your funnel are highly likely to convert. So tracking this metric month-over-month is a great primer for determining the health of your sales funnel.
What to track: # of onboarding & demo calls booked
6. Pipeline Value
This metric tells you the expected revenue from all the sales opportunities in a specific time frame. You get a quick overview of the current value of the deals in the pipeline. And the progress of your sales reps towards your goals.
How to calculate it: Value of projected sale x percentage of confidence in seller that they will Close.
7. Sales targets
This KPI gives historical data on how your team is performing in terms of revenue generated, the number of product subscriptions sold, and the like. Instead of setting ambitious sales targets, you should set attainable future goals so that your reps remain motivated and don’t burn out.
8. Customer lifetime value (LTV)
This sales analysis metric tells you how much revenue an average customer generates for you during their lifetime with your company. You can use it to predict your future revenue, but you need a large data set for accurate assumptions.
With LTV, you can make informed decisions on how much your company can spend on acquiring new customers (CAC).
How to calculate it: Sum of all revenue generated by an individual customer
9. Calls and emails per rep
This metric tells you the volume of calls and emails that your sales team is making over a month, week, or a day. Besides functioning as a sales productivity metric for sales reps, it gives sales managers and leaders an idea if something is off in your sales funnel.
What to track: Sum of all calls & emails made by the sales team in a specified period.
10. New and expansion Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
For most SaaS companies, this is an important metric that tells you the number of paying customers multiplied by the average amount they pay.
How to calculate these two metrics:  The new MRR tells you additional recurring revenue you added by acquiring new customers (or lowering your acquisition cost). Expansion MRR is the revenue you collected from existing customers as they upgraded their plans.
If you’re just starting your sales process, then the above sales analytics metrics might overwhelm you. So resort to the basic AQC framework to stay at the top of your sales performance.
A = Activity (for example: the number of cold calls your team is making)
Q = Quality (for example: the actual number of decision-makers that your team gets to speak on the phone i.e. your reach rate)
C = Conversion (for example: how many sales your reps closed or how many demo calls they booked)
Regular sales analysis creates accountability, reveals insights about your customers, the traits of top performing sales reps, and more aspects that will improve your bottom line. I have shown you the different types of sales analysis methods and given you a step by step strategy to perform your first sales analysis.

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Listen up.
AUG 16, 2018
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I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Being a more attractive man is not as difficult as you might think. Even if you're not blessed with the sexiest of genes, don't fret. With just a few science-backed tips and tricks, you can be the best, hottest, most attractive version of yourself possible. 
Thanks to some research from our friends at Men's Health and IFLScience, we compiled this master list of 20 scientific ways to be more attractive to women. 
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Growing a beard is the basically one of the best things you can do for yourself, because a 2013 study from the University of New South Wales found that, to women, the sexiest men are those who have heavy stubble. "Facial hair correlates not only with maturity and masculinity, but also with dominance and aggression," the authors, Barnaby J. Dixson and Robert C. Brooks, wrote. "An intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive.”
Hear that? Put away your razors, gentlemen.
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Ever wondered why sunglasses suddenly make literally anyone ten times more attractive? Vanessa Brown, a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, has a few explanations.
First of all, sunglasses make you mysterious, which is always sexy. “The eyes are such a tremendous source of information—and vulnerability—for the human being,” she told The Cut.
Furthermore, sunglasses also cover up any facial asymmetry, which also makes you instantly hotter since facial symmetry is important when choosing a mate.
According to a study titled “Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary Based Research,” women find secondary sex characteristics, like a large jawbone and defined cheekbones, super sexy on men, because they suggest genetic strength, high testosterone levels, and consequently, masculinity. And we all know masculine men are sexy.
That said, tilting your face up a little bit and holding your chin high highlights your jaw and cheekbones, as well as psychologically makes you seem more dominant, both of which make you look hot, hot, hot.
In a 2010 study from the University of Wales Institute, it was found that men who were pictured with an expensive car, such as a Bentley Continental GT, were seen as significantly more attractive than those who were pictured with a Ford Fiesta ST. Similarly, common sense tells us that this also applies to wearing nice clothes and looking sharp as opposed to sloppy.
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Apparently, hanging out with a group of friends can bump you up a few attractiveness points, say researchers from the University of California at San Diego.
The reason? Something called the “Cheerleader Effect,” which is the psychological phenomenon where people appear more attractive when they’re in groups, simply because looking at a group of faces instead of just one basically evens out any ugliness you may or may not have, and forms an average hotness for the group.
You know the saying “Nice guys finish last”? Well, that’s wrong. Nice guys actually finish first. Surprised?
study conducted at the University of Guelph and Nipissing University asked 800 people about their sexual history, as well as how likely they were to engage in selfless acts, such as charity work and donating blood, in order to understand if there was a correlation between altruism and the amount of sex people have.
The study found that people who were more selfless had more sex and dated more people than those who were selfish, which makes sense, because selfish people are annoying. So yeah, that’s one piece of evidence that shows nice guys finish first.
Women love men who can make them laugh. Trust. Even science says so! 
A 2006 study published in Evolution and Human Behavior asked participants how much they value their partner’s ability to make them laugh, and the results revealed that women really value their partner's sense of humor and their ability to make them laugh.
In one specifically interesting study, researchers found that men who let a smile spread across their faces slowly were seen as more attractive and more trustworthy than men who get too smiley too fast. Fascinating!
A mighty fine example:
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So, don’t be too quick to flash that grin. Do it slooooow (if you can).
According to research from UCLA, women find men who are “built” as sexier than skinny, non-muscular dudes, as well as “brawny” a.k.a. super jacked guys. 
The researchers are comparing this to the Goldilocks principle: Some muscle is hot, but too much is definitely not. It needs to be juuust right.
Some musical instruments automatically make you hotter. A tambourine? Not so much. A kazoo? Definitely not. But guitars? Hell yeah.
A study published in the journal Psychology of Music revealed that women are more than three times more likely to give their number to a man holding a guitar than to one holding a sports bag. Sure, going to the gym and getting toned and sexy is attractive, but apparently not as much as playing a guitar. The more you know!
If you want to be an attractive man, do not use cheesy pickup lines. I repeat: do not use pickup lines. According to a study from SUNY-New Paltz, women are seriously more likely to be attracted to a man if he approaches her normally – sans corny pickup lines. For example, “Are you religious? Because you're the answer to all my prayers,” will not do you any favors. However, “Hello, you look lovely this evening. What’s your name?” will definitely help your noble quest.
Listen, everyone knows dogs are insanely cute. But did you know that owning a dog makes you cuter, too?
I mean, look at this example of a precious dog in the arms of Tom Hardy...or should I say Tom Hottie.
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Four separate studies looked into whether men who own dogs are more likely to score digits from the ladies, and each study came to the same conclusion: Dog owners were three times more likely to get a woman's phone number than dudes who don't have dogs.
See? Fido really is man's best friend.
Manspreading on a train is a big no-no. But despite that, a study from the U.K. found that men who have open, dominant body language and sit with open body posture—meaning legs spread and arms stretched out—are seen as more attractive than those who don’t. Just something to keep in mind. 
In another interesting study, researchers at Charles University and the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic and the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom conducted a series of studies that revealed that men who eat garlic smell “pleasant” and “attractive,” whereas men who don’t eat garlic don't. So, it can be assumed that the magical health benefits of everyone’s favorite stinky herb can do wonders for body odor!
However, it goes without saying that garlic breath and halitosis is a different story, and is, in fact, not attractive. Please, neutralize that shit with some gum or mouthwash.
Guess what? A 2011 University of British Columbia study found that the most attractive facial and body expression was that of pride, and bafflingly, the least attractive was happiness. A truly interesting and frankly odd revelation, but OK.
With that said, look proud when you’re talking to women...or any other time, for that matter. It’ll do wonders for your life.
Think that scar on your forehead looks bad? Think again, my friend.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the University of Stirling found that men with scars are perceived as more sexually attractive than men without scars. However, this was only valid for short-term relationships, probably because scars, especially facial ones, tend to make you look like a badass.
Harrison Ford proudly showing off his badass chin scar.
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Well, my friend, it finally might be time for you to sign up to do some volunteer work, because a study found that women find dudes who volunteer waaaay sexier and more desirable for long-term relationships than men who don’t do volunteer work for a hobby.
Aside from looking proud, another physical thing you should perfect is your stance, because ladies love a man who looks confident, stands confident, and walks confidently. Self-confidence is, after all, one of the first things people notice about you.
According to R. Don Steele, author of Body Language Secrets: A Guide During Courtship & Dating, "Confident people are not in a hurry, but there's a difference between meandering and walking slowly with purpose. Always walk as if you know what you're doing and where you're going."
Sound advice from a pro!
In a study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, participants who were given a spray with antimicrobial ingredients and fragrance oil—in other, simpler words, cologne—self-reported higher self-confidence and said they felt more attractive while wearing the fragrance.
But here’s the kicker: When a group of females were shown a silent video of the men who were wearing the spray, the women rated them as sexier and more attractive than those who weren’t wearing it. This means that wearing cologne or otherwise using a scent not only makes you smell amazing, but also makes you feel sexier…and the ladies take notice. 
Lastly, let's state the obvious: Having a nice set of chompers is crucial for attractiveness, as most women tend to get turned off when a potential romantic interest opens his mouth it looks like he has scurvy. No thanks.
A study from the University of Leeds and University of Central Lancashire found that teeth are "the human equivalent of a peacock's tail," meaning they're super important when it comes to mate selection. So, brush, floss, whiten, do whatever you need to do to get your smile lookin' absolutely dazzling.
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[Creative Writing Now] Stephen King on writing through a pandemic

Creative Writing Now via
Apr 17, 2020, 8:06 PM (20 hours ago)
to me


In a recent interview, Stephen King says that confinement due to the pandemic is making him more productive with his writing.

" be in the house day after day, all I can say is I've made wonderful progress on a novel because there's really not too much to do, and it's a good way to get away from the fear."

He describes writing as a kind of escape hatch which allows him to take a break from reality:

"Twenty hours a day, I live in the same reality that everybody else lives in. But for four hours a day, things change.... In all the years that I've been doing this since I discovered the talent when I was seven or eight years old, I still feel much the same as I did in the early days, which is, I'm going to leave the ordinary world for my own world. And it's a wonderful, exhilarating experience. I'm very grateful to be able to have it."

You can listen to the whole interview here:

The author George Saunders offers a different perspective on being a writer during this time of crisis.  In a letter to his creative writing students at Syracuse University, he encourages them to pay careful attention to what it's like to live through the coronavirus pandemic.

As writers, he says...

"this is when the world needs our eyes and ears and minds. This has never happened before here. At least not since 1918. We are, and especially you are, the generation that is going to have to help us make sense of this and recover afterwards.

"What new forms might you invent to fictionalize an event like this, where all of the drama is happening in private, essentially? Are you keeping records of the emails and texts you’re getting, the thoughts you’re having, the way your hearts and minds are reacting to this strange new way of living? It’s all important. Fifty years from now, people the age you are now won’t believe this ever happened. Or will do the sort of eye roll we all do when someone tells us about something crazy that happened in 1960.

"What will convince that future kid is what you are able to write about this. And what you’re able to write about it will depend on how much sharp attention you’re paying now and what records you keep. Also, I think, with how open you can keep your heart. I’m trying to practice feeling something like, 'Ah, so this is happening now.' Or 'Hmm, so this, too, is part of life on earth. Did not know that, universe. Thanks so much, stinker.' And then I real quick try to pretend I didn’t just call the universe a stinker."

You can take whatever approach feels most helpful to you during this time. Like Stephen King, use your writing as an escape from reality.  Or you can take George Saunders's advice and pay close attention to reality in order to use it for your writing.  You might decide this is a good time to keep a journal, to capture your feelings and experiences. 

Whether you take King's approach or Saunders's, you'll always have your writing for company whenever you feel anxious or alone.

Happy writing, and stay safe.