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5 Business Intelligence Basic Concepts that Answer: “What is BI?”


written by Ollie Roddy

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Just like ‘Millennials’ and ‘Big Data’, Business Intelligence has been one of those annoying business buzzwords in recent years.

But while everyone is talking about it, how many people actually know what Business Intelligence is?

In all fairness, Business Intelligence (BI for short) is a topic that’s very easy to get confused about, especially with all the hot air and poor content going around on the subject these days.

So I thought I’d put together some Business Intelligence basic concepts which should help anyone who’s even slightly confused about the subject to clear their mental fog.

These BI basic concepts are also a great way of explaining to someone else what it does, should the conversation come up.

Just like the best golfers, the best salespeople need direction.

1. BI is like a golf caddy

A good golf caddy can tell you which club you need to use, how far you need to hit the ball and how the current weather conditions should be taken into account. All you need to do then is go out there and hit the ball.

In this sense, BI is the golf caddy to your sales team.

  • It can alert you if a customer is buying less than they normally would on one of your product lines
  • It can tell you what your customers should be buying that they currently aren’t (i.e. purchase brake pads every month but have never purchased brake discs).
  • It can tell you what your next marketing campaign should entail

All you need to do once you’ve got this information is implement it well and your usual par score will soon become a round of birdies, albatrosses and maybe even the odd hole-in-one.

2 . BI is like a mind reading device

BI is a lot like a mind reading device. In fact, it’s better than one.

While a BI tool can’t tell you the winning lottery numbers, what your partner wants for their birthday or which stocks are going to rise or fall in value today, it can tell you what your customers want and need to buy before they place an order.

By taking your sales data and spotting the patterns in it, BI can tell you what a customer is likely to buy this month before they do.

If customers then deviate from this pattern, you can get in touch with a meaningful call and find out where they purchased from instead.

This essentially makes your sales team proactive rather than reactive.

What’s more, this data is automatically analyzed to spot new sales opportunities. “Why is a customer buying our bricks but not our cement? They must buy it from somewhere.”

This system allows you to make your current customer base offers they can’t refuse while also proving to them that you think about them beyond the initial point of sale. Win-win.

3. BI is like a Lego instruction booklet

One of the best ways I think you can think about your data is that it’s like a big box of Lego bricks.

It’s there, collecting dust, waiting to be made into something useful, but at the moment it’s just sat there in need of some structure.

Throw an instruction booklet into the equation and suddenly you have a structure, direction and something you can actually play with.

The right BI software will give that chaotic data the structure it needs, making it readable, meaningful and, above all, profitable.

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If your data is structured, it’s much easier to see its potential.

4. BI is like GPS/ Sat Nav

Salespeople who do try to look into their company’s data waste so much time journeying down the wrong roads it’s untrue.

With a GPS device though, salespeople could be shown the quickest routes to those hidden opportunities almost instantly; all they’d have to do then is go in the right direction and they’d get to their final destination in no time.

BI points a salesperson or marketer in the right direction when they’re stuck for ideas on places to look for new sales opportunities and ensures that little time is wasted when an opportunity is found.

5. BI is like a mining drill

Most companies have vast amounts of data, all of which forms a nonsensical landscape of names and numbers.

Buried somewhere in this immense landscape are golden nuggets of data that can be used to make a lot more money.

If salespeople and marketers had a tool to detect and extract these nuggets, they would be a lot more successful than they currently are.

Whether it’s a market-wide pattern, a cross-sell that’s being missed on thousands of accounts or a certain area of the country that’s stopped buying altogether, a good BI tool will locate these hidden insights.

Marketing campaigns can be based on these pieces of information, and salespeople will know exactly which angle to take when next contacting a customer.


If you’d like to learn more about BI systems, feel free to have a browse through our website for more information. Alternatively, if you’d like to see a system in action, please feel free to book a book a free online demo today.

Written By -

I’m a marketing professional who loves all things creative. If I’m not at work, I’m probably watching football, listening to music, enjoying a cold beer, or a combination of the three.

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