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    5 ways to help your sales team embrace business intelligence


    Have you ever heard your sales team say: "We just want to get out there and sell without getting bogged down by data"?

    Despite the objections from your sales team, there’s no denying the advantages of using business intelligence (BI) in your company’s sales efforts:

    • Getting a clear picture of customers’ buying patterns
    • Identifying cross-selling opportunities
    • Streamlined preparation for customer meetings
    • Easier product and employee performance tracking

    However, getting your sales team onboard with making the change may be a bit of a challenge. Here are five ways you can help your sales representatives embrace all BI has to offer.

    5 ways to help your sales team embrace business intelligence

    1.) Talk to your team

    Although you’re using BI to help your sales representatives become more efficient at their jobs, they may see it as a way to put their performance under a magnifying glass.

    Sitting down and talking with each team member, or having a team-wide discussion, may help nip some of those initial concerns in the bud. Have the team discuss the current pain points in your sales process and shed some light on how using a BI tool will help improve those problem areas.

    If your team is still on the fence about the digital transition, you can sell the change by emphasizing how it’s an opportunity to develop new skills and gain a leg-up on your competition.

    2.) Lead by example

    Leading by example can be a powerful way to show your team the benefits of BI.

    You can do this by getting a full understanding of your team’s sales process before implementing the BI solution. Once the solution is implemented, try to adapt the new system to the sales process and show your team how to use the data pulled to make more strategic decisions when dealing with customers.

    Doing this can show your team how the BI tool can be leveraged with day-to-day tasks to make decisions based on evidence instead of gut feeling.

    3.) Offer ongoing training

    Training from the vendor during a system implementation is a great way to get started with a BI solution. However, many times the training is done quickly with too much information to grasp at once.

    Set your sales team up for success by having follow-up training discussions to see if the reps need any refreshers. Also, create documents, like checklists and cheat sheets, for the solution’s users to refer to until the new practices are second nature. If your BI vendor offers help videos, send them out to your team.

    If you have a team that is consistently resistant to using technology, a soft roll-out of the BI solution may be the best way to go. Train your team in shifts by showcasing one BI feature at a time. Another roll-out strategy is to offer the solution to a few members of your sales team who are more receptive to technology. Once the solution is embedded into their workflows, have them mentor a few other team members with using the BI tool, and continue this cycle until the whole team is using the solution.

    4.) Put the data in the team members’ hands

    With self-service capabilities, simple drill-down features and shareable dashboards, modern BI solutions have made it easier than ever to put data in your team members’ hands. This way, sales representatives can answer client queries, as well as their own, without having to wait on a static report from IT.

    But having accessibility to all sorts of data can be overwhelming, especially to employees who’ve never analyzed data before.

    Help your team start on the right foot by building a useful database and creating sales-oriented dashboards that give your team a single source of truth. This way, team members can answer questions in real time while knowing the data they’re pulling isn’t skewed in any way. Empowering your team with data will help improve efficiency and increase sales, making your sales process more effective overall.

    5.) Coaching your team

    Business intelligence can give you the tools to help your team members become better sales representatives. That may mean looking at each member’s performance and offering constructive feedback, but it can also be coaching each member to spot and act on clients' buying trends.

    Many times, sales representatives aren’t very analytical people, so they might not know how to evaluate and use BI data. Coaching them to use data effectively will help you hold your team members accountable without them feeling overwhelmed by the numbers.

    The Positive Effect

    Resistance to change can stem from a fear of the unknown or misunderstanding the reason for the change, especially when involving technology like BI.

    If you take the time to put your sales team at ease and be proactive in making the switch, chances are everyone will better embrace the BI solution which can have a positive effect on your bottom line.

    Author Bio: This is a guest post from Elizabeth Mazenko. Elizabeth is an editor with Better Buys, a trusted source for business software news and research. Follow her on Twitter at @ElizMazenko for more on enterprise software and related technology research.

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    Written by Elizabeth Mazenko
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