I was speaking with a client at a small vendor who was not having any problems getting her executives’ attention and support for AR. Why? Her executives understand that the analysts’ impact a minimum of US$6-7MM sales per quarter. They know the dollar impact on sales because this AR manager diligently captures information about deal size when sales representatives call her for assistance.
Another client asked me to review a PowerPoint chart he had created. It was a very powerful chart because, again, it showed the millions in revenues that started as analyst-related leads – in this case, over 20% of the company’s annual revenues. Similarly, this second client also has no problem getting executive attention and support.
Showing the dollars, euros, yen or pounds the analysts have their fingerprints on presents a very powerful business case to top-line focused executives – and these days, which executives are not revenue focused? Yet, when presented with this approach, many AR managers simply shrug and say that they could never get their sales force to provide them with this information. However, when we ask whether they get calls from upset sales reps or managers about deals negatively impacted by analysts, invariably they say “yes.” Bam! The light goes on that AR has been getting this data all along, but has not been capturing and using it. While this source of data is only the tip of the iceberg, it still serves as a powerful proof point.
SageCircle recommends that AR start a “Stage 1” program to systematically capture monetary impact whenever they are on the phone assisting a sales colleague with an analyst problem. Sales impact data to capture includes:
- Deal type
- Deal size
- Deal stage
- Sales representative
- Analyst firm
- Analyst impact (i.e., what was said, or what does the prospect think was said)
Obviously this information takes very little time to capture and is needed anyway for AR to assist the sales representative. Keep a pad of paper next to your phone to record this information. Monthly or quarterly, AR can then put together a simple report or e-mail that communicates the impact of the analysts on sales. In this e-mail, AR can indicate whether or not the information is comprehensive, or a subset of likely analyst impact. These e-mails can also include best practices on how the recipients, whether executives or sales managers, can use these insights to generate additional revenues by leveraging positive analyst comments or mitigating negative ones.
The next stage (Stage 2: Advanced) of this technique is to create a formal information pipeline from sales about analyst involvement with prospects. Of course, this communication requires developing a relationship with sales, putting into place a process for information exchange and training the sales representatives to ask prospects about analyst usage in purchase decisions. This stage clearly requires more effort. However, if AR has been successful in its Stage 1 program, then it will be in a better position to obtain resources and cooperation for Stage 2.
Bottom Line: AR managers who are successful in obtaining additional resources are typically those who can demonstrate the monetary impact of the analysts on company revenues. AR needs to put into place a program to capture, analyze and report on the analysts’ effect on leads and sales.
Question: Do you capture sales impact data? If no, why not?