Business Intelligence is a category of applications and technologies that gather, store, analyze and provide access to data, ultimately helping users make better business decisions. BI was traditionally the domain of finance departments but has now become a lot more pervasive among sales and management teams.
BI systems can offer powerful sales analytics that offer a glimpse into the future. It can tell you which customers are not likely to close, whether the market for your product is growing or declining and what the trends of customer behavior are.
BI can boost sales efforts a number of ways, including:
- Increase sales by using “fact-based” selling tools
- Grow profit margins by targeting the most profitable activities
- Increase customer loyalty and retention
- Increase the accuracy and timeliness of sales forecasts
- Achieve budgeted sales
- Reduce low-yield activities in the sales process
- Predict future behavior of prospects and customers
Despite the many benefits of business intelligence, Gartner reports that 60% of BI implementations fail due to lack of end user adoption. Moreover, research from BIScorecard, which tracks BI usage, trends, and best practices in its annual survey noted that BI usage in 2013 (22 percent) was unchanged from 2006, the first year that BIScorecard conducted its survey.
One reason - many sales reps are reluctant to adopt yet another system. Sales teams spend their time within their CRM systems and don’t want to have to learn a new platform or continuously switch between the two. The solution: integrate BI into your CRM system. Today, most CRM packages come with a small suite of analytical tools; however, very few have the analytical power to do advanced business intelligence operations on the data.
BI is most beneficial when it has a wealth of data to analyze, such as the information stored in a CRM system. Many BI tools are designed to pull information from a variety of business systems and organize it into dashboards. These dashboards provide visual summaries of key business information by consolidating data in real time and displaying key performance indicators (KPIs), which are high-level gauges of how the sales team is performing against specific goals.