A lack of adequate data and analysis creates several unique challenges for your sales teams:

  • Inability to reach the right leads at the right time: More than 20 percent of sales leaders say prospecting is a top challenge for their teams.
  • Lack of targeted communication with leads: Just 23 percent of sales emails are opened, as they’re either irrelevant or would be more successful on another channel.
  • No collaborative analytics: Only 8 percent of businesses say their marketing, sales, and finance data is centralized and accessible to other teams. As a result, they’re unable to leverage cross-departmental insights to grow the business.

To meet these sales challenges head on, you need to eliminate data silos at your small business and empower your sales team with BI tools.

Small businesses that don’t implement BI tools will fail to quickly respond to changing customer needs and market sentiment. This will set them up for failure in the face of stiff competition and result in heavy revenue losses.

Read this article to learn how your small business can benefit from BI for sales and stay ahead of the competition.

1. Cross-sell and upsell to existing customers

Your salespeople already know that it’s tougher to sell to a new customer than upsell to an existing one. The probability of being able to sell to a new customer is just 5 to 20 percent, but goes up to between 60 and 70 percent for an existing customer.

BI tools help you find opportunities to cross-sell and upsell

BI tools offer insights to help small businesses target customers and communication channels to sell more. Here’s how:

  • Know your popular products and repeat buyers: Learn everything about your best-selling products and previous buyers that could be repeat customers.
  • Find opportunities to cross-sell across categories: If you’re selling a software product, for example, a buyer that purchased collaboration software could be pitched a larger project management suite that includes collaborative capabilities such as group chat, document sharing, project management, etc. Gather insights on customers that purchase one component of a larger category to contact them for future cross-sell opportunities.
  • Know when to pitch: Identify the best time to sell specific items and the best season to sell them. For instance, a social media monitoring tool might be more in demand if there is a rise in social media marketing across a market. Brands would be willing to invest in social media marketing to avoid getting outcompeted.
  • Optimize resources and sell effectively: Analyze the success of each channel in driving leads and conversions. Optimize your resources to focus on the channels with higher returns on your investment.

Key takeaway

Focus on existing leads to sell more. Be aware of buyer capacity and the need to upsell and cross-sell.

2. Improve lead management and retain more customers

Loyal customers are five times more likely to repurchase and seven times more likely to try a new product.

Remember, though, a customer experience isn’t created in a day; it’s the result of how a business—big or small—handles its interactions. Your sales team is responsible for fostering a positive customer experience, right from the lead stage. When you nurture a lead into a satisfied customer, they’re more likely to refer your business to their counterparts.

BI tools improve lead management and customer engagement

A typical business loses 15 percent of its customers each year. Here are some ways in which BI tools help you create value for customers from the beginning:

  • Know your customers inside out: Get organized data summaries of your prospects’ relationships and interactions, including details of past purchases. This will empower salespeople to handle new and old leads more effectively.
  • Anticipate attrition to tackle it head on: Understand the general lead habits and trends to foresee attrition. Flag the high-risk leads and any rise in the attrition rate to prompt your sales reps to retain them.
  • Handle queries about cost and inventory more effectively: Arm yourself with analytics on cost savings and foreseeable inventory challenges. It will help you handle negotiations on budget and timely delivery, earning customer loyalty.

Key takeaway

Customer acquisition and customer retention are two sides of the same coin. To get more leads, don’t miss out on providing a positive experience to your existing leads! A satisfied lead converted into a customer is very likely to bring more referrals.

3. Foster collaborative insights to improve customer experience

Strong, omnichannel customer engagement strategies ensure high percentages of customer retention.

To achieve this, you need collaborative insights from all departments, which helps sales reps provide a positive customer experience. Lack of alignment between departments, on the other hand, severely impairs sales and overall customer experience.

To address this challenge, your small business needs interdepartmental collaboration so your sales reps can access the following information:

  • What kind of impact does each channel have on customers, leads, and prospects? For instance, is social media bringing in more leads for a certain product? If yes, then marketing efforts should be directed there.
  • What kind of feedback do customer service reps get about product performance based on their direct conversations with customers?
  • Omnichannel, or multichannel, experience requires teams to come together to understand what’s working for the customers and what isn’t. Based on this, they can devise an integrated strategy for communication at all customer touchpoints.
  • Insights from every department that engages with customers (such as customer relationship management, customer service, and business development) can help your sales team understand what the customer wants and which strategy could trigger new leads to convert.

BI tools foster collaboration between departments

Here are a few ways that BI tools can help your teams collaborate on data and analytics to revise their sales strategy. Reach out to potential customers more efficiently by implementing these at your organization:

  • Share analytics to improve business growth: Foster collaborative growth by sharing comprehensive analytical reports on sales with other departments such as operations, product, and marketing. For instance, the marketing team can divert its communication and realign marketing efforts toward the best-selling products. Also, product teams can use sales notes and reports to enhance product development for greater customer satisfaction.
  • Centralize data to boost accessibility: Only 8 percent of businesses say that their marketing, sales, and finance data is stored in a central location. Working in silos doesn’t benefit the business. A BI tool can be a single data source that’s accessible by all departments to promote collaborative decisions such as product pricing.

Key takeaway

Use customer insights from all customer-engaging departments to know what’s working and what’s not working for your potential customers. Channelize investments in marketing efforts that benefit sales.

4. Drive better business decisions with accurate data

Business data needs to be constantly reviewed and maintained once collected. It must be checked for duplicate and outdated entries continuously. Any gaps in business data might lead to inaccurate analysis and impact the business overall.

Inaccurate data impacts the bottom line of 88 percent of businesses, resulting in an average revenue loss of 12 percent.

To address this, your small business needs a tool that consistently provides accurate and maintained data so that business decisions are backed by facts and correct data.

BI tools help you make informed business decisions

Your sales team needs easy access to the latest, most accurate data. Save them time and enable them to make data-driven decisions with self-service BI tools. Here’s how:

  • Make data-driven decisions on the go: Self-service BI tools provide access to real-time and up-to-date data. This eliminates the need to put in manual requests for data acquisition, speeding up the whole process. Data-backed sales decisions are unbiased and don’t rely solely on human intuition.
  • Invest in regular training to increase sales: Just like your execution strategy, your training strategy also needs to be agile. Regular sales training leads to a 50 percent boost in net sales per employee. Gather data about customer acquisition, sales rep performance, and product sales to invest in specific learning programs and make mid-project adjustments.
  • Prepare sales strategies for proposed projects: Run predictive analysis on historical and current market trends to find out the possible outcomes of a proposed project. Based on this analysis, your sales team can devise strategies and execution methods to support future sales targets. They should examine the potential pros and cons of products to be able to respond effectively.
  • Enable effective goal setting: BI tools look at historical data to forecast demand in a particular market. These figures help sales reps set accurate sales goals, while businesses get accurate estimates to price their product.

Key takeaway

Back your business decisions with accurate data to stay ahead of your competition and to avoid missing your sales targets.

5. Plan and prepare sales resources to handle variables

Forty percent of sales reps say they don’t feel prepared for their calls, and 82 percent of B2B decision-makers feel the same way. This lack of preparedness could be the result of a lack of knowledge, diffused learning, or inability to effectively handle variables such as product price change, market fluctuation, and target region change.

BI tools empower your sales team to handle variables

Use BI tools to prepare your team for the unknown and handle the shifting demands of their role. Here’s how:

  • Prepare your sales team: Offer your team insights from web searches, social media, and customer responses to your ads to understand audience responses to variables. Share knowledge of current and future market trends based on market sentiment and social listening, so that they’re prepared to sell your brand.
  • Sensitize them about customers’ pricing and budget challenges: If you’re contemplating a pricing change, your sales team needs to know about it. Knowing how the market will react to a price change lets them address budget-related concerns from customers.
  • Anticipate market realignments: Realign sales reps to different markets to help them grow in their career and learn about new markets. Share industry-specific research data as well to empower them to handle sales for all industries.
  • Promote agility with communication: Gather insights about variables (such as region and month) that impact sales. Your sales team can use this learning to update their sales scripts and strategy, so that they close deals faster and meet the sales quota for each quarter.

Key takeaway

Train your sales team for unpredictable aspects such as market fluctuations, proposed product launches, and price changes. The competitive edge lies in not just preparing for the obvious but also for the potential.

Next steps for helping your sales team use BI tools

Change can be hard. As a sales manager, you may find it tough to convince your team to use new tools and more data when they’re used to relying on their gut and soft skills to deal with customers. While the latter are important, the value BI adds to the sales process is too immense to ignore.

Here are some ways in which you can inspire your sales team to optimize BI tools to close more deals:

  • Define problems and propose solutions: Proactively define sales problems with examples and facts that you’re trying to solve with the BI tool. Inform your team about implementing BI in certain processes. Show them that BI is a strategic improvement method and not an IT-centric change.
  • Make it gradual: Prioritize the areas where you want BI to help your sales team. Asking them to unlearn and relearn some sales techniques but ensure that this change is gradual so that it’s effective.
  • Perk it up: Offer increments for best adoption of BI tools among your sales team. Sales teams are motivated with bonuses and perks. Make sure you inspire them into quick action with some meaty perks.