Things I Learnt This Week. Ep.1

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

"A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience" - Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

In the first of our new weekly feature, Executive Director Tom goes down the analytics rabbit hole...

PowerBI takes your analytics to another level, but only if you have the smarts

So, we’re beginning our move from Tableau to Microsoft’s Power BI for some of our analytics work (sorry Salesforce!).

I… love… this… software… it’s so powerful (as the name suggests) and with a little know-how, allows users to create accessible, in-depth and insightful custom dashboards in no time. There’s no bells and whistles, but it does what it says on the tin. Better still, data can be accessed (real time) anywhere through your laptop or a mobile application.

But before you begin your journey into data vis' tools there’s a catch. I’m afraid you really require a strong analytics background and a good working knowledge of database architecture if you want to start visualising your data. Around 50% of the time taken is spent cleansing and manipulating raw data into something PowerBI can stomach prior to building a flashy and sexy dashboard.

I mean, I love it – but I need to get out more.

Cold calling isn’t dead, and it never will be

Cold calling isn’t dead. I think the relevance of cold calling has changed, but it’s here to stay.

It’s a powerful skill to have, but leaders shouldn’t be asking whether cold calling is relevant, they should be questioning how to refine their skills on the call, analysing opening/resonating statements, understanding when to pitch or ask for a first meeting and learning how to close.

There’s some great conversation analytics software out there to help with this – you may think this is a bit extreme, but you can record, create a transcript and mark quality through machine learning. What if everyone was able to sing off the same hymn sheet and the ROI took months? Check out our interview with call intelligence specialist and Refract co-founder, Richard Smith to find out more. Or head to Gong ( and ( to get a bigger picture.

CRM is only powerful when weaponised

CRM systems have been around a long time and have become the staple of most B2B sales teams. Despite that, most CRM systems aren’t utilised to their full potential. In fact, this was reflected in our recent 2019 Sales Insight Survey (report coming soon!) when the average rating for CRM effectiveness was a miserly 4.9 out of 10. To elevate your CRM to another level you need to weaponise it.

In short: marry it with data science and analytics.

Dig deep enough and you’ll uncover buyer patterns and win themes linked to specific historic metrics. If you’ve engaged with buyers 100’s of times and been diligent enough to record the crucial stages of your sales process, you can begin to understand procurement behaviours. You could be sitting on a gold-mine of valuable buyer and sales insight, isn’t it time you did something about it?

Believe me, this is worth the effort. It leads to accurately forecasting success-indicating behaviours within your process and your CRM transforms into a powerful asset and not an expensive, ineffective administrative burden. Early adopters of predictive based selling models will run rings around those that don’t.

Where was RFP management software when I worked in sales?

Looking at the sales tech landscape this week I came across software that helps businesses to project manage proposals. Yes, it’s simple, but I can see it really working for some of my ex-colleagues that had to manage a complex tender process.

The software enables standardised project creation, question assignment, stage management, collaboration, feedback/edit logging, usable content databases and even proposal effectiveness reporting offering insights into how certain proposals perform versus others - all through a user-friendly dashboard.

The benefits are not just for a bid manager, the software learns a sales manager’s required inputs and automatically enters them. This is a no brainer for sales leaders and bid managers who want to manage more effectively and efficiently. Check out RFPIO ( or Proposify ( for more info.


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