As a sales leader, you’re driving towards aggressive goals—and typically with the leanest amount of resources possible to meet them. At the same time, it’s on you to build a high-performing sales team, and doing so with the least amount of ramp time possible.

That’s no easy task.

After all, not only are the products and solutions you sell becoming more complex, the sales process is becoming more complex as well. Today’s empowered buyers aren’t going to buy without a significant investment in your relationship with them over time. You may occasionally make a sale from a cold email or phone call, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

It’s critical to find the right salespeople, provide them with a tailored onboarding experience to get them quickly up-to-speed, and give them the ongoing coaching and training they need quarter over quarter to be successful.

While experience and gut instinct are an important element in all these activities, the real MVP is your organization’s data.

No two sales organizations are the same. A compensation formula that worked for one company isn’t guaranteed to work at another. That sales playbook you carefully crafted over a few years at your last job may or may not be relevant to that new sales organization you’ve just been brought on to lead.

That’s why your data analyst needs to become your best friend.

5 Ways Data Can Drive Better Sales Management Decisions

While I could write all day about how to use data to make better decisions (and we have a ton of great content on the blog that does just that), there are five key sales management activities that the right data can transform:

  1. Hiring the right team. Data can show you the skills that separate the team’s all-stars from the ones who didn’t last—so you can tailor your hiring process accordingly.
  2. Building an effective onboarding program. Harness the data around what your best reps do to nurture and close sales and use it to develop an onboarding process tailored to your company’s unique sales challenges.
  3. Develop KPIs to measure the team. Salespeople are motivated to attain their sales goals. Make sure you’re giving them the right KPIs to keep them on track for hitting those goals each quarter.
  4. Make coaching an everyday occurrence. If you wait until a problem crops up with a salesperson to provide coaching, you’re doing it wrong! The best sales leaders build ongoing coaching and feedback based on performance data into their cadence of 1:1s with their team.
  5. Promoting employees…or not. In many organizations, promotions and demotions can feel random to the team. But when you have clearly defined KPIs, and policies in place around what merits a promotion, you can remove some of the emotion from the process and give the team a more clear career path.

None of these activities are simple or one-sided, and there’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into bringing data into each of these activities. That’s why we’ve written an e-book that goes through each of these five steps towards creating a data-driven sales organization. Download your free copy today, and jumpstart your sales team’s performance in 2018.