Using Business Intelligence to Identify New Sales Opportunities

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SalesOppsThe long-term success of the sales organization largely depends on how well they know their existing and potential customers, and how well they can react to changing customer needs and business conditions. Understanding the most profitable customers and products, together with pinpointing customer buying patterns and requirements, is key to closing more profitable deals faster, balancing the right product variety, and identifying the best targets for new product introductions. With ongoing visibility to sales performance vs. objectives at any time both manufacturers and distributors can keep a close eye on how well or poorly their sales teams are performing, as well as identify the underlying causes for those successes or failures.

Business intelligence software can offer a 360-degree view of customers to help decision makers in the sales team better understand who those customers are, what they need now, and what they may do in the future. Knowing this can help the sales team position their products at the right place and the right time to solve the right customer problem. This kind of targeted positioning helps minimize wasted time, effort, and budget by focusing the sales team in the right direction. It can also help sales teams examine individual customer and channel “value” from multiple perspectives such as lifetime revenue contribution, discount impact, and customer performance by month. By understanding the relative value of each customer and each channel, more focus is placed on the marketing efforts with the most profit potential while less successful initiatives are either adapted or abandoned.

Customer-focused business intelligence analytics can also profile, segment and rank customers based on propensity to buy, order frequency, and overall purchasing behavior to build specific promotions or sales efforts around select customer groups. For instance, around the holidays are retail shoppers more likely to spend more with a 25% off one item coupon, or a 10% off the whole order coupon? With a business intelligence solution in place, sales and marketing teams can compare actual to expected results by campaign to better focus their marketing dollars on the audiences that produce the best results and deliver the most ROI.  Do certain channels deliver fewer customers but drive more revenue in the end? Do other customer segments represent the most potential profit but are being under targeted?  With business intelligence, uncovering sales opportunities and pitfalls is much easier and there is little guessing.

Integrating customer analytics with marketing-related intelligence can yield even greater benefits to sales teams. With business intelligence, inventory management is made easier and puts manufacturers and distributors in control of their inventory by helping;

  • Control inventory costs
  • Improve service levels with the right product availability
  • Better manage inventory assets
  • Prevent costly inventory build-up
  • Keep out-of-stocks from happening

The software helps answer questions about which products are selling the least and costing the most, who is buying these products, and whether there is a substitute item that can help reduce costs or increase profits. Plus, these analytics can helps to better understand the impact of order fulfillment, returns and call-center activity on actual sales performance. These insights can then be used by the marketing and sales team to adjust their own efforts. It also helps discover which categories and SKUs offer the best growth potential. And, business intelligence software reduces the level of risk related to new product launches by easily segmenting market data, performing “what if” scenarios to forecast new product performance, and analyzing a new product’s profitability and its impact on category revenue.

Business intelligence (BI) is closely aligned with sales analysis and reporting and can give sales teams’ real-time knowledge of sales performance, detailed insights about when, how often and which products customers are purchasing, as well as a collaborative framework from which sales plans and budgets can be easily created and managed based on consumer behaviors. With business intelligence, your sales team has the necessary knowledge to connect with the right customers at the right time, producing the most sales opportunities.

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This post was written by Pat Hennel