BI and Sales: Where BI Works … and Why Sales Leaders Can Do Better

This is the first in a series on the differences between general BI systems and purpose-built BI for Sales. Download the Purpose Built BI eBook.

Are you ready to use BI to run your sales team? Not so fast.

Most BI tools are an epic fail for sales for one key reason: BI was designed for organization-wide execs who only need the big picture and don’t need to take immediate action. For them, a few months of implementation delay and data that’s days or weeks old can be fine.

But you’re a sales leader. You sit closer to the data. You want to control and manipulate the data you see and analyze it to take action – in real time, all the time.  

You need a product designed just for sales that’s simple and fast, automatically captures data, uses predictive analytics, works right out of the box, and drives your team to action.

You need a purpose-built BI for Sales.

For eons, execs outside of sales have wanted the same thing: know more about their global supply chains, multi-channel marketing campaigns, and sales forecasts. Enter business intelligence (BI) vendors including Cognos, Business Objects, etc. and, more recently, cloud-native BI systems like Birst, DOMO, and Good Data.

But if you just ask yourself three simple questions, you’ll see why these BI tools are not likely to fit you and your sales team:

  • Do you want real time data?  BI gives answers once a week.
  • Do you need to know why individual deals were (or about about to be) won and lost? BI eliminates meaty details to summarize for the C-Suite.
  • Do you hate data entry – and having your reps do data entry? BI has no way to capture data automatically in the field.

Starting to feel the difference?

In theory, BI should answer big questions like, “What’s working for my reps and what’s not?”

But in practice, BI disappoints. It lacks the simplicity, speed, and insights you and your reps need to make this quarter – and be confident of next quarter. BI tools weren’t designed for people close to the data. They give a high-level view, not a complete picture. The result?

BI doesn’t give mid and upper-level sales managers what they need the grow the business.

Some reports to pass up the chain? Maybe. But not the insight to drive revenue.

BI Customization: Solution … or Waste of Time?

Sure, BI tools can be customized, usually with IT’s help. But if you’ve ever ordered a “custom” anything, you know the pain. You spend time specifying. They spend time developing. You wait. And when the project is “done,” how often does it disappear into a drawer instead of becoming your new secret weapon?

You want your sales team fast and agile. Can you afford months or even days for IT to build a customized view? Do you believe there’s even a chance you’ll know in advance every question you’ll want to ask? No way.

You need to slice-and-dice data, dig in, figure out the next action to get the deal or boost the quarter ... and jump out. You want data that’s up-to-the-second and doesn’t steal selling time from your reps for data entry.

It’s got to be easy. And fast. And give you the confidence to make bold decisions.  This is purpose-built BI for Sales – BI made for sales, designed around sales leaders’ challenges.

Up next: How traditional BI leaves sales leaders in the lurch for timely deal data and predictive analytics. 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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