Using analytics to give sales consultants the data they need to be effective.
- Lubrication Engineers
Lubrication Engineers (LE for short) is an international lubricant producer with products across a wide spectrum of automotive and industrial applications. In addition to lubricants, LE offers a full line of lubrication-reliability products and services; including solutions for oil analysis, storage, handling and transfer, contamination exclusion, contamination removal, education, and training. LE sought the help of Moonbase Labs when they implemented a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with their sales team. Transitioning to a new off-the-shelf software tool is notoriously challenging, but LE successfully created a data-first strategy to establish momentum and encourage adoption across their team.
A common barrier for CRM implementation is a feeling employees have of “being monitored” by the corporate office. Another obstacle is the notion that tracking information in a CRM is not value-added work for sales teams, and that this primarily benefits managers. To overcome these objections, LE committed to creating tools within their new CRM that particularly met the needs of its sales consultants. Consultants had requested better information for years in the form of the following questions:
- Which of my accounts are up or down?
- Which products does this account tend to order?
- How am I doing compared to everyone else in the company?
- Which products are becoming more popular and less popular?
In the past, these questions were fielded by accounting and IT departments who had to dig through different spreadsheets and software tools to find answers. Accounting and IT would coordinate efforts to build reports and share large PDFs and Excel files with consultants. After years of accumulation, the accounting department was assembling and emailing 17 reports to consultants on a weekly basis.
While this solution generally answered the questions of the consultants, LE knew they had an opportunity to improve their efficiency and productivity:
- The reports were not conducive to action for the consultants. LE knew that they could drastically improve usability with a Business Intelligence (BI) tool.
- Consultants would jump at the opportunity to access curated data in a powerful visual format.
- Pairing the BI tool with the deployment of the CRM would give the consultants a deeper connection to the CRM tool, and demonstrate that this tool was for them and not something intended to “monitor” their behavior or control their sales process.
- Providing these reports in a dynamic format through a powerful BI tool would eliminate tedious work for the IT and accounting departments, while providing near-live data to the consultants as opposed to weekly, or monthly, reports.
Step 1: Start with the question
Almost a year before the CRM was deployed, LE sought out Moonbase Labs to begin the design process of what would become the Consultant Sales Dashboard. The goal was to improve the design and accessibility of the reports and automate everything that was being generated in spreadsheets and PDFs. Moonbase Labs began the process by taking an inventory of all the reports that had accumulated to determine: “What questions do these reports answer?” We found that many reports overlapped and many answered questions that ultimately didn’t matter. This posed a great opportunity to eliminate unnecessary reports and ask bigger questions like, “What do consultants truly want to see? What matters to them?”. Next, we condensed all 17 reports into a single, user-friendly view that flowed clearly based on the information consultants wanted to see. The dashboard was designed so that users could ask countless questions, effortlessly identify trends and drill down into the data to find answers. The end result was a robust data analytics dashboard that replaced tedious reports and provided rich details to consultants. It included all of the old information that they were accustomed to receiving, but in a streamlined package.
Step 2: Introduce early
Implementing data analytics in a company is never solely about the numbers; it’s cultural as well as technical. Anticipating that the analytics would encourage early adoption to the CRM, LE asked Moonbase Labs to demonstrate the power of analytics at the national sales conference for top performers. As a result, months before the CRM was implemented, Moonbase Labs presented the interactive Consultant Dashboard to their elite sales team and generated eager anticipation. To further deepen the excitement, LE offered their top performers the opportunity to preview an individualized dashboard created with data from their previous two years of sales. Over half of the consultants scheduled calls with Moonbase Labs to explore the dashboard prior to the launch date.
Step 3: Roll out in tandem
Lubrication Engineers launched the CRM in conjunction with a three-day training for consultants. Specific time was scheduled to demonstrate how to use the analytics dashboard and discuss best practices for incorporating insights into the sales process. Overwhelmingly, of everything covered in the training, consultants were most excited about the analytics tools, because this was something that helped them immediately. Pairing the CRM with analytics and BI tools proved to be an incredibly powerful strategy, because the reports consultants depended on were in the CRM, which created incentive to adopt the tool. From day one, the CRM provided incredible value to the consultants, which led to deeper investment and utilization.
The Consultant Sales Dashboard is just the beginning of what LE intends to do with analytics. With infrastructure established and users becoming more comfortable with business intelligence tools, new questions are being asked constantly. The sales consultant dashboard will continue to be improved as new questions surface and feedback is provided by consultants. Regional sales managers are exploring opportunities for these dashboards to improve the way they support their regions. The marketing and development team has requested a product-development dashboard to identify trends across product categories, set pricing, create marketing strategies and track campaigns as they occur.
Lubrication Engineers made a commitment to data analytics and showed tremendous patience and determination to ensure that this initiative created instant value for stakeholders. Rather than dumping a new software on consultants all at once, they did so incrementally and generated genuine excitement. As a result, when the program went live, it was met with eagerness instead of skepticism.