In the age of data, choosing not to invest in a quality business intelligence (BI) solution can mean your sales team are losing market share to your competitors.

More companies are investing in BI than ever before. These companies are achieving a significant advantage over those who are not using business intelligence solutions. 

In today’s blog, we will discuss a few key ways in which the choice not to use BI can kill your sales.

Without BI you do not know which customers you are losing

Sales managers typically have at least one rep who reports to them.  These reps often sell a wide variety of products and can work long hours. It can be difficult for a rep to detect when a customer has partially decreased their order volume over time, or gradually stops buying one product but not another.

Oftentimes, this insight is discovered by chance. For instance, a colleague in another team or department may remark that a customer hasn’t ordered a particular product lately. In this case, proactive management to retain this customer gives way to chance.  This can have a substantial impact on your overall sales figures.

Because BI provides you with a clear picture of your customers’ buying patterns, your team can quickly detect any decrease in order volumes. With this knowledge, your team is empowered to respond proactively to the situation by sending in a rep before any major damage is done. 

For instance, the customer may have negotiated with another vendor for a lower price or shorter lead time. By catching this problem at the front end, you can quickly intervene to re-negotiate better terms. This, in turn, may enhance your relationship with this customer as they now know they can come to you first before negotiating with another vendor in the future. Interestingly, 95% of customers don’t raise concerns before they stop buying. Having an open dialogue with your customers may minimize this issue.

Without BI it is more difficult to discover new sales opportunities

Increasing the number of products you sell to existing customers can be an easy way to boost revenue. That is, as long as you have BI. Without BI, cross- and up-selling are reliant on your sales reps and their personal assessment of your customers’ needs.  For instance, a customer may be buying a product but not a complimentary product such as pasta but no sauce. In this case, the customer is purchasing that product elsewhere.  An experienced rep may have fine-tuned their gut-instincts to recognize the bigger picture, but hunches and instincts are based on human interpretation, not fact.

With BI you can easily see which customer is buying product A, but not product B, and respond by sending in a sales rep to make the sale. With BI, you are also able to identify the purchasing trends of similar customers.  With this information, you can quickly detect new sales opportunities. For example, a customer may benefit from being offered a line of more luxurious products. Another may be interested to in learning about a new product their competitors are buying. With the power of BI, you can become an advocate for your customers’ business success.

Without BI, preparing for a meeting with a customer is time-consuming

Without the benefit of timely and accurate reports generated by BI, it is difficult to gain true insights into a customer’s buying patterns or to uncover sales opportunities.  In this case, sales reps and leaders are reliant on traditional reporting through the IT team. Because these reports can take several days to reach your desk, the data is often outdated.  And due to their static nature, these reports provide no opportunity to query the data to discover the underlying reasons for the trends you’re seeing.

While some sales meetings do allow for this amount of pre-planning, chances are many do not. In reality, spending time to have reports generated and then examined before meeting with a customer is something not all sales professionals can afford. From a business point of view, even if your sales team is capable of getting the reports, consider all the time and effort involved.  Time is an expense.

With access to a quality BI tool, your sales reps have a clear profile of each customer and their buying trends. Because Phocas offers mobile BI which allows a sales rep to quickly prepare for a customer meeting in the car or on their way to their meeting.  

Such accessible information will shed hours from the average work week. As a matter of fact, one clever Phocas customer uses Amazon’s Alexa to voice control Phocas while in the car.  Not only does BI help to improve overall sales performance, it may also reduce the long hours and stress of your individual sales reps. Happier reps may create a happier work environment.

Without BI, it is difficult to effectively manage a sales team

While bonuses are often awarded to best-performing sales reps, their under-performance is often not managed effectively. A sales rep may not be aware of a certain product you sell, or may not be familiar with its uses. Lacking some or all of the information, a sale rep will not be able to effectively sell the product.  

BI allows the manager to see how each rep is performing with the click of a button.  It may be that 9 out of 10 reps are selling a particular product well. The manager can now investigate the data behind the numbers to see what product groups each rep have sold, to which type of customers, and so on. With this information, the root of the sales rep’s problem can be uncovered and remedied before it becomes a problem for the whole group.  Information of this calibre can lead to a learning opportunity for your whole team.

To see how sales leaders are using BI to help empower sales reps, watch your free webinar or click the image below.

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Tags: Job Role - Sales

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