Many conversations I have around sales and sales management include the subject of business intelligence (BI) or data. I see many companies collect vast amounts of data, but sadly not really leverage much of it to help them make better business decisions. Sales data, to be clear, includes things like tracking numbers (calls, connects, DM contacted, demos, etc) all the way to conversion data, recorded calls, YOY comparisons and much more.

How do you make sense of all that data? What does your team need to see to make their work day more productive. 
I like to boil down everything to questions (for some people, it’s triangles, but I think it’s all about questions). My data and information gets bucketed into 4 labels with an attached question for each label.

Descriptive – What happened?

Diagnostic – Why did it happen?

Predictive – What is going to happen?

Prescriptive – What action should be taken?

From this approach, one gets an analysis-to-action curve. Data becomes linked to deciding and acting. 
Complementing that base line is understanding the intent behind collecting and reviewing data. Again, I go to questions.
Don’t ask what needs to be on the reports you look at. Instead, ask what questions are you trying to answer. For example, a really good question to base sales reporting on is: “What are my top performers consistently doing that my bottom performers are not?” 

Answering that question leads me to specific behaviors I can coach and push for from my team members to help them perform. 

Now, here’s an aside for all you sales reps out there. I get it, you prefer to be left alone and not to have to fill out activity reports or log call info into a CRM. You don’t like being recorded or asked to role play. I understand, I really do. But ask yourself, if your employer doesn’t ask for those inputs, how can they coach you and make you better? If they are not committed to making you better, are they really the best people to work for?

Logging activity, recorded calls are powerful tools. Like all powerful tools, it helps to use them correctly.