Get personal: not all business intelligence is equal | FirstRain

Get personal: not all business intelligence is equal

Most company executives know they need to jump on the big data bandwagon.  They understand that having access to big data analytics can help them raise sales productivity, and so they’ve sourced a solution to take advantage of gathering and indexing their internal data. Maybe they’re even enlightened enough to look outside of their own sales data into the wild, wild Web for information on their customers.

But is the data they’re collecting really helping their employees? In an enterprise—and even within the same sales organization—it’s unlikely that employees will all benefit from the same business intelligence. A sales rep is unlikely to care about the buying activity of another account; and a VP certainly doesn’t have enough time to look at every customer and prospect in great detail (that’s why they have sales reps and account managers in the first place!).

It’s well known that if someone doesn’t find a product useful to them personally, even if it’s a great product in and of itself, they simply won’t use it—and that’s not helping sales productivity, which is the reason it was introduced in the first place. But what if they could customize the product to fit their needs exactly? The same holds true for big data: for data to be truly helpful to each and every employee, the business intelligence has to be personal.

Let’s take a deeper look at the differences between what an SVP needs to know versus what an account manager needs. According to Anthony Iannarino on SalesGravy, his number one non-personnel focus is ensuring a healthy pipeline. To do that, he is focused on:

  • Driving sales strategy. He needs to know what the movers and shakers in a particular industry or area are doing to know in what direction to take the sales team.
  • The company’s top prospects and accounts. The SVP should be able to see, with just a quick glance, the major trends and critical events affecting the company’s major customers.
  • Having the ability to deep-dive into any specific account. The SVP needs to get involved in a sale if the rep is dealing with a particularly large, complicated, or difficult deal. In that case, he needs to be able to easily understand the target’s business and market so his conversations with them are as effective as possible.

The sales rep, on the other hand, is involved in the nitty gritty:

  • Getting insights into specific accounts and/or geographies.
  • Understanding what his customer’s customers are doing so he can appropriately direct and focus his conversations with them.
  • Knowing, in real time, when something significant happens to a target company and/or their market and gives him a reason to call.

It’s clear that the two have very different priorities, so giving them the same information is not only inefficient, they won’t use it—so it won’t be effective. By giving each of them business intelligence customized to their needs, however, allows each of them to target what’s most useful to them. The account managers can see their target accounts and geographies to help plan out their next sale, and the SVP can strategize a more informed direction of attack, raising the sales productivity of the entire organization.