Sales Teams: Segment Your Customers to Boost Productivity

Recently, I read a great article on the Sales Benchmark Index blog that outlined the most common, and important, questions that sales reps ask their leaders. They are:

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• What accounts do I call?
• Where are the best opportunities?
• What accounts should I contact first?
• How can I improve my results?

If you’ll notice, all questions relate to the most important question a sales rep can ask: How can I make better decisions to make my number?

Answering these questions and giving reps the best possible answer is not so simple. As the author explains, educating reps about account segmentation can help them make better decisions when answering these critical questions.

Why, exactly, does segmenting markets makes sense?

In the author’s words: “Customers are different. Some are small while others are large. Some are driven by price while others want the best service. Some want breadth of services while others want a targeted offering. Some are early adopters while others prefer battle-tested solutions. In the end, segmentation helps salespeople meet the needs of a diverse customer base.”

Once a customer base is rationally segmented, you can [Read more...]

Data Visualization: One Data Set, Many Unique Stories

Last week I participated in the Midwest VizWars, a friendly data visualization competition. Using Tableau and a pre-determined data set, competitors were asked to simply tell a story with the data. As this competition was in Milwaukee, the data set centered on shipwrecks in Wisconsin. The set included latitude and longitude of wreck locations, what caused the wrecks, ship type, ship size, home port, etc.

Based on that data, the task was to create a data visualization that told a story. Some entries were funny, some were pretty and others were just informative. Most of all, it was interesting to see the creative stories everyone came up with using the same data.

Mine won second place and you can see it here. (Snapshot below.) Flip through the years in the top right and watch the progression of the Wisconsin shipwrecks over time. If you can download and open the file, it gives you the option to page through the years automatically so that it’s more like an animation. [Read more...]

Video: Building Material Distributor Gains 540 Basis Points

The executive team at this £3 billion distributor of building supplies and associated products knew there was a significant opportunity to improve pricing and gain margin dollars on negotiated transactions.

These negotiations, or spot bids, accounted for 70 million line items each year, yet some deals were sold with a margin 70 percent below the target margin! Ultimately, the company was able to empower sales reps to make better price decisions on negotiated bids, resulting in a 540 basis-point improvement in margin rate.

Watch this short video now and learn how they did it.