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What is Business Intelligence and how can it benefit your business?


written by Natalie Davies

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We talk a lot about Business Intelligence here on our blog but sometimes I wonder if everyone reading it really knows what it is. It’s often a grey area and a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot with no real clarity as to what it means!

So this post is purely to clear up a few things around what Business Intelligence is as well as throw in some of the benefits of introducing such a system to your business. As technology moves on, businesses have to keep up with any developments in order to stay ahead of competition and remain profitable.

Traditional business systems like ERP (that is, your back office accounting package) and CRM (where you store all your customer information) are good, but dipping into three or four programs to produce a simple customer report is difficult and inefficient. BI software unites all of this information into a central location, making data analysis a breeze.

Put data in and get actionable information out. That is BI in its simplest form. Automating the cumbersome task of analyzing data, BI can often provide a better understanding of a company’s strengths and weaknesses, offering unique insight into customer buying patterns. In most cases, BI is essential in the strategic sales process of many businesses so that it can successfully discover new opportunities with prospects, and also identifies cross-selling and up-selling opportunities with existing customers.

Put simply, BI reports, analyzes and (more importantly) presents business data in an actionable, efficient format for any business. Dashboards can provide an instant understanding of company performance at a glance as well as being able to drill down to a granular level of detail in a few clicks, no longer having to sift through rows of data to be able to compare last year’s top selling product line to this.

It is worth saying however, that BI doesn’t start and end in sales. While it is often perceived as a sales oriented piece of technology, customer service, finance, management, even operations and stock control can all draw some benefit from having a BI system in place. Just about every corner of your business will benefit from having a little inside intelligence. BI facilitates proactivity from every area of the business, rather than simply reacting to a problem or opportunity as it presents itself.

BI collects and presents valuable information on demand so that business owners and managers can be proactive in their duties, rather than simply reacting to a problem or opportunity if it arises.

The question still remains, however, how can BI actually benefit a sales team?

Any salesperson worth their salt will benefit from BI, there is no doubt about it. While it sounds like we are blowing our own trumpet, take a minute to think about it. If you were a product-based salesperson, looking after hundreds of customers and prospects, not to mention the thousands of products you sell, information overload is one of the biggest parts of your day. Yet BI removes the reliance on manual data analysis, spreadsheets, notes and files in the back of your company car. It tracks your customer purchasing behavior, telling you what they bought last, what they haven’t bought but, more importantly, what they SHOULD be buying. Spotting opportunities like this may sound straightforward enough, but when you have reams of information in front of you, it’s not in the slightest.

As a result of implementing BI sales teams using the system can easily access the respective data and gain a better comprehension of their customers, allowing them to forecast who to call and when to call them. This in turn boosts the productivity of each salesperson, ensuring that targets are beaten and profits boosted.

The ability to analyze the data on a regular basis permits the sales team to get a better grasp of what is happening in the business, so that they can take immediate action instead of waiting until it is too late.

When valuable business data is instantly available in an actionable format, the sales team will be able to make accurate and efficient decisions and marketing can work on implementing a powerful strategy that will contribute to achieving success. When sales people have access to reports, charts, graphs and data analysis, they are able to take proactive actions.

Moreover, BI software allows you to identify all problem areas in a timely manner and adjust your approach accordingly. For example, if you notice that sales of a certain product rise in one location but fall in another, the software will crunch your data for you and inform you of the reasons for this. Which products have dropped in sales? Has a competitor popped up and undercut your prices? Consequently, you will be able to make the necessary changes in order to improve your sales and marketing strategy and sell your products or services more efficiently.

If you need see Business Intelligence in action, give us twenty minutes and we’ll share ours with you. Book your free demo today!

Written By -

I'm another marketing bod here at sales-i (that is marketing exec come social secretary, branded wardrobe, stationary cupboard, fixer of the printer and chief maker of a terrible cup of tea). I get to work with the two delights that are Chris and Steve who have taken it upon themselves to educate me on all things football and Star Wars. I’m a Villa or Birmingham City fan depending on which of them you ask. I really rather enjoy reading and writing (I'm not that great at the maths thing, as Chris will tell you). What I lack in Star Wars and football knowledge, I make up for with a keen eye for a good wine and a great impression of a Wookie.

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