There is an enormous amount of customer data available to businesses and unsurprisingly, it’s growing; in fact by 2020 analysts predict the amount of data will be 50 times what it is today.

Having the ability to make sense of this data will put businesses at a huge advantage over their competitors. And we’re not just talking about retail giants who have the ability to monitor social media platforms to get a clear view into customer behaviour or track online purchases, for example. Businesses of all sizes across all industries will benefit from a clearer understanding of and visibility into customer data.

One of the best ways companies can achieve this is to use Business Intelligence software to manage it. This technology provides companies with actionable insights and greater visibility into their customers’ buying habits and trends so that they can always stay one step ahead of the competition. Here’s how:

It saves time: On top of the need to manage an increasing amount of data, businesses must be able to turn this into something useful that will help them generate more sales. Trawling through endless spreadsheets trying to get a clearer picture of customer spend over a certain period of time or understanding what products sell best, when is time consuming at the best of times. But automate this process and the analysis of customer data means precious time and money can be saved and sales teams can focus their time and efforts on what they do best: selling.

It creates opportunities: Business Intelligence software will analyse customer data and quickly identify any particular trends or buying patterns in a second. This information provides salespeople with actionable insights that they can use to drive business and become more proactive. For example, the data may show that a regular customer placed a large order of pens last month but did not order notebooks. Not only does this tell you that it’s time to pick up the phone, but you know exactly how to start the conversation.

It improves marketing efforts: Business Intelligence software can quickly identify wider trends including whether there have been any seasonal changes in spending and what product ranges have been popular, when. Using this information can help a business run highly targeted promotions and marketing campaigns that are based on data and fact, rather than guesswork. Why not offer a 20 percent discount on notepads to your customer who purchased pens last month, for example?

Don’t forget customer service: It costs ten times more to gain a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Even in smaller businesses, salespeople are expected to manage hundreds of customers often across multiple product lines – maintaining relationships with all of them is no mean feat. But Business Intelligence software will organise customer data into digestible segments, meaning companies can access all customer information at the drop of a hat. This includes when you last spoke to them, what they purchased, what they didn’t purchase, who’s moved where and when you last visited. This level of knowledge and understanding of the account will impress any customer.

It’s available on the go: These days flexible working is more important than ever, particularly for salespeople who spend a lot of time on the road visiting customers and potential clients. Business Intelligence software can be accessed via a smartphone or tablet from anywhere and at any time meaning that extensive travel time is no longer lost time.

Having the ability to analyse customer data will enable companies of all sizes to gain a competitive edge and stay ahead of their competition. Aside from saving time manually searching through spreadsheets and speculatively cold-calling prospective customers with no real return for their efforts, Business Intelligence lets your sales professionals do what they do best: sell. With Business Intelligence handling and harnessing your customer data, your sales team can be trusted to deliver great results that will get and keep you ahead of the pack.


By Paul Black, CEO of sales-i. 

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