BI and Sales: Stop Driving Revenue Through the Rearview Mirror

This is the second part in the series (read part 1) on the differences between general BI systems and purpose-built BI for Sales. Download the Purpose Built BI eBook.

Even as recently as 5 years ago, it was enough to update data weekly. No longer.

Most BI tools take a snapshot of your data and move it offline for analysis. But by the time the snapshot is taken, it’s old. By the time the analysis and report is done, your opportunity is lost.

Even if you “snapshot” in near-real time, you’re still missing a lot. You can’t know which deals moved in, which moved out, what specifically changed in those deals, and why. You can’t slice and dice data whenever you want, like when your boss calls for an update or the board meeting starts in 15 minutes.

And then there’s data quality. Where will the BI system get the data from, exactly? The CRM? Do we really have to ask whether you’re confident of CRM accuracy?

We have to think about this totally differently.

Your team lives in customer meetings and in email. So that calendar and email data is the best measure of rep and, even more important, customer engagement. But none of this information is in a traditional BI system. You could ask your team to document that information – the real source of truth – but it would just take time away from selling. You don’t want your top reps doing that … and they’d hate it.

So data that matters is missing or incomplete. So how is BI supposed to give you useful answers?

There’s another problem. General-purpose BI tools lack predictive analytics.

They report well, but aren’t built for prediction. Predictive analytics – powered by data science – looks at mountains of data, finds trends, and predicts outcomes and best actions. A BI tool built for sales looks at thousands of your closed deals to find commonalities. Perhaps your top federal accounts signed a PO after the rep offered free professional services. Knowing that, you might decide it’s worth coaching your reps to use free services as a tool to convert government buyers.

And back to email and calendar, predictive analytics on these systems helps you find who just talks a big game and who’s a real closer. It’s one thing to hope the customer is interested when a rep says, “I’m all over that account.” It’s another to know the internal champion replies to every email and the exec sponsor replied within 48 hours of the redlines being sent over. Only with deep analytics on these two system can you know how engaged customers are and what rep activity patterns are most effective.

If you’re serious about using data to help your sales team perform, you need a BI tool specifically built for sales.

Up next: How a BI system purpose-built for sales adds immediate value to forecasting and coaching so you can crush your number. But you don’t have to wait: download the complete eBook on the difference between general-purpose BI and BI for Sales.

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