Embracing Data Insights for Better Foodservice Sales Performance: A Short Guide for Sales Leaders
To drive better performance and stay ahead of the competition in today’s competitive business landscape, sales leaders at foodservice manufacturers need to foster the adoption and ongoing usage of data insights across their sales teams. But how do you go about doing that?
This short guide – written in collaboration with Lee Swearingen, who built a world-class analytical system for the sales force at one of the world’s largest foodservice organizations – will explore how sales leaders can foster a data-driven culture, streamline data accessibility, build a strong sales team, and invest in strategic partnerships to effectively incorporate data insights into their sales team’s daily operations, from executive suite down to the sales team.
Foster a Data-Driven Culture
It’s essential to have support for data-driven decision-making from the top of your organization. This leadership buy-in plays a crucial role in shaping your sales team’s mindset.
Seeing is believing. A powerful way to foster buy-in of top-down policies is by demonstrating how data insights are improving performance from the bottom-up. Find individual sales reps or managers/teams that are already data inclined and use their stories as concrete examples to show how insights have led to better performance. For example, during one of your training sessions, ask one of those data inclined reps to show the rest of the team an example of what’s being taught and how they use it with their customers.
“Sales people need to see it, to touch it, in order to be convinced that effective use of data tools will lead them to success.” -Lee Swearingen
Streamline Insight Accessibility
Integrating data insights into your existing sales processes and workflows makes it seamless for your team to access and utilize the data they need. Design dashboards and visualizations that provide at-a-glance information and quick insights, making the data easily accessible, understandable and action oriented for your sales team.
Maintain a Data Focus When Hiring and Educating
A sales team that values data insights is essential for success. Hire individuals who are comfortable with data analysis and naturally inclined to use data in their decision-making processes. Allocate a dedicated period, such as a quarter, to focus on acting upon data insights – such as location whitespace, product voids, and the like – and monitor the impact on your team’s performance. This commitment will help establish data-driven decision-making as an integral part of your sales strategy. Additionally, provide comprehensive and frequent training on using data insights effectively, equipping your team with the skills and knowledge required to make informed decisions.
Reinforce Habits with Performance Metrics
Clearly communicate your expectations regarding the use of data insights in their daily work. Establish guidelines and goals that emphasize their importance. By incorporating the frequency of data usage into your sales team’s performance metrics and evaluations, you are continually reinforcing the value of data-driven decision-making and cementing long-term organizational habits.
“If the leaders of an organization all agree that their team’s use of data is a critical component to improving performance, put it into people’s performance reviews.” – Lee Swearingen
Invest in Strategic Partnerships
Strong internal and external partnerships are essential for any data insight strategy. As a sales leader, you want to build partnerships with distributors and GPOs to acquire trade claim data, ensuring that you have access to accurate, timely, and comprehensive information in the appropriate format. It is also essential to have a strong technological infrastructure, as well as an expertise for foodservice data ingestion, cleansing, mastering, and insight delivery. If not, you will need a data insights partner, like Tibersoft, that can provide some or all of these components, depending on your needs.
By focusing on fostering a data-driven culture, streamlining data accessibility, building a strong sales team, and investing in strategic partnerships, sales leaders can effectively embrace data insights to improve their team’s performance. Getting to the point where insights are widely available, consumed, and acted upon by your sales organization can be a significant challenge, both technically and from an internal process standpoint. Tibersoft has been transforming data strategies at the most innovative foodservice organizations since 1996. With a combination of technical expertise and process know-how, Tibersoft can help you create a sales organization driven by location level-insights that will drive sales growth and profitability.