Sales intelligence software (SI) is designed to make a salesperson’s job easier. It looks at your sales data and does clever things with it. It’s a system that can collect data, integrate it into a system and analyze it.
It searches for trends and issues and allows its users, typically salespeople, to always be up to date with what’s going on with their clients so they can drive their business in the right direction.
However, despite this it’s surprising how many businesses have either never heard of Sales intelligence software or are unsure of how it can really benefit them, relying instead on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, excel spreadsheets, intuition and gut feelings to get by.
As my parents used to say, “you should always trust your gut instinct”, but in business you can’t get by on this alone. Below are 7 signs that indicate it is time to incorporate sales intelligence software into their business.
1. You don’t have enough time to sell
Fundamentally, a salesperson’s job is to do one thing: sell. However, it is surprising to see how little time salespeople have to do just that. Docurated recently released a report which stated that sales reps spend less than a 1/3 of their time selling.
This might not be too surprising for sales reps themselves, with the constant admin, searching for prospects and reporting they have to do.
Picture the scene: it’s the end of the month, time to dig out your sales figures and see how you/your sales team have got on this month, time to get all your data together, upload it into excel, transform it into a graph or chart and, erm… how do you do that pivot table thingy again? If this scenario rings a bell then it’s time for some sales intelligence software.
A good SI system will enable you to run your reports and see your sales figures at the click of a button. meaning you save hours preparing data, so that you and your team can get back to what you do best, selling, boosting your commission and your companies’ turnover.
2. You want to make selling easier
The primary role of SI is to give salespeople the information they need in order to sell. Clever SI will give you the information you need to see what you are selling well, what you aren’t selling and what you should be selling to who based on trends in your data.
No longer do you have to call Cyril and 50 of your other clients to talk about the football or the weather before hoping one of them might be interested in your new product.
Instead, your new SI system will guide you on who is more likely to be interested in your new product based on their buying patterns and statistical analysis in that industry field, meaning you need to contact less people to reach your end sales goal. Leading to an increase in efficiency, making life easier for you and meaning you are wasting less of both yours and your customers’ time.
With SI, every call made is for a reason based on analytical data. Whether it’s an up or cross-sell or stopping a fall in sales, you no longer have to call with a licked finger in the air.
3. You manage a lot of accounts
How well do you know your accounts? Not just a little, I mean really know them?
Which ones have spent more this quarter compared to last? Who, based on information up to today, is your biggest faller compared to this time last year? A good SI tool will tell you this with one click of a button. Furthermore, it will proactively alert you to any alarming drops, with notifications straight to your inbox.
It can be nigh on impossible to keep abreast of everything that is going on with all your accounts at all times, this is why SI is so important.
I’m a firm believer that you should treat your accounts like you treat your loved one and SI can keep your relationship with your account strong, as it helps you notice when things are up (or down) with your accounts and can get in touch with them, straightaway to determine why, proving to them just how important they are to you and just how much you care.
4. You sell a lot of products
SI is set up for businesses that sell lots of products. If you sell more products than Popeye eats spinach then you’ll know it’s not easy to immediately see which customers have stopped buying Product A this month or to easily find out who’s buying Product B but not Product C (never mind Products D – Z!).
This is particularly important for businesses that work in the fast-paced consumable products sector; if a company has suddenly stopped buying paper towels and toilet rolls, it isn’t likely that their employees no longer need to wipe their… hands. What is likely, however, is that they’ve started buying from one of your competitors.
Sales Intelligence software can help, by proactively alerting you to those products and accounts where spend is down or where trends are occurring. This means you won’t waste time analyzing reams of data and can instead concentrate on pushing or cutting certain products that aren’t selling well, stop customers moving to competitors or look at cross-selling opportunities according to trends.
5. Your data is stored all over the place
If you have a computer full of spreadsheets or are sending emails back and forth between sales staff with various data attached then you should consider an SI system.
A decent SI allows you to store all your data in one place, so everyone (who you want to be able to) can see it, so there’s no longer a need to search through your folder of spreadsheets to find that one that contained that nugget of golden customer information you need or send that email sharing important updates with the whole team.
This can be advantageous for any new starters too, or when replacing sales members as they can easily see all interactions and trends that have occurred without having to climb through mountains of different paperwork in various different places, (if they exist at all).
6. You don’t know how your sales team are doing right now
So, you’re a week into the new month and the CEO asks you how your teams sales are looking for the month right now? How close are your sales teams to hitting the targets? Do you really know?
It’s commonplace for a lot of businesses not to know this and instead wait until the end of the month, before getting Clive in accounts to run the figures for you.
However, by doing this you have lost three weeks of knowing what’s going on, a customer might have stopped buying a certain product or may have even left you altogether for a competitor during this time and you might not have even realized.
Sales Intelligence can tell you at any time how your sales for the month are looking and how your sales teams are getting on. With active alerts and email integration set up to tell you of any big news, you’ll always be up to date with the latest goings on in your business.
7. Your deals are sitting in the pipeline for too long
Since the global financial crisis of 2008, many businesses have reported that customers aren’t as keen to let go of their hard-earned money.
So, the good news is if you find that you have a lot of deals sitting in your sales pipeline for a long period of time, then you’re not the only ones.
However, one of the reasons could be that you aren’t targeting the right people with the right products.
A way to shorten the amount of time an opportunity sits in your pipeline, is to sell the customer what they want and not what you want to sell them. SI helps you to do this by analyzing your data to spot trends, helping find the most effective way to sell to your audience.
For instance, with Sales Intelligence software, if you’re supplying a bakery then you can easily see which customers are buying flour off you but not buying eggs. Surely they must be buying these from somewhere else If they’re making cakes?
You can also see if these customers all of sudden start buying a brand new product from you, maybe they have started buying yellow icing in bulk, to make on trend emoji cakes. You will be alerted to this, so you may decide to then start targeting your other prospects and customers in this field to see if they too require yellow icing based on this new trend.
Sales Intelligence software spots trends and opportunities for you, so you can concentrate on completing sales quicker and more efficiently than ever before.