Workforce Analytics as a Sales Tool? Here’s How

Workforce Analytics as a Sales Tool? Here's HowPosted by Ed Basanese and Rob Dicks on May 14, 2012

We’ve discussed here on HR Times the rise of workforce analytics as a tool to give HR leaders insights that can help them support broad organizational goals. In fact, workforce analytics is one of the eight human capital trends discussed in the report Leap Ahead. Another is HR’s growing role in supporting sales force effectiveness, which has HR implications ranging from talent strategies and organization design to learning and development, compensation, governance and change management. Now, we’re seeing these two trends converging—specifically, how a specialized type of analytics that looks at the formal and informal networks within organizations can help lead to more effective sales forces as well as increased organizational effectiveness overall.

For example, consider that many companies organize their sales force by geography, which seems perfectly logical and is quite common. However, for one of our clients, when we analyzed the way its sales force actually works—the people sales representatives interact with and the networks they belong to, both formal and informal—we found that much of this interaction was not oriented around their geography. Instead, they interacted more with people who sold the same product or served the same type of industry, no matter where in the world they might be located.

We are using this information to help the client develop a structure more consistent with and supportive of the way work is actually done. In this case, a more matrixed structure, built around certain products or types of customers, would likely better serve the needs of the sales force and the broader organization.

Because an organization’s networks are largely people-built and people-driven, HR is perhaps the most effective/most significant equipped function to help harness them to work in the organization’s interest. This type of network analysis may be something of a “brave new world” for HR, but it is right in line with HR’s mandate to become a more strategic member of the organization—one that supports and enables the overall business strategy.

Edward Basanese Edward Basanese is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Customer Transformation practice. He has over 15 years of management consulting experience helping companies improve the effectiveness of sales and customer-related functions.
Rob Dicks Rob Dicks is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Sales Effectiveness practice. He focuses in the financial services industry, working with firms to achieve their business goals through the use of innovative human capital and sales force effectiveness programs.

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