How Has BI Affected B2B Sales and What to Expect in 2020

by Nicolae Buldumac
How Has BI Affected B2B Sales and What to Expect in 2020

Comparing the modern sales process with that of the past, we can see that the basics remain the same. We're still talking about the classical 7-stage sales cycle: prospecting, contact initiation, prospect's needs identification, offer presentation, objections management and, finally, closing the sales. And of course, the steps mentioned above have to be accompanied with respect to the client, attention to his needs and the ability to offer the best solution. These things are common for both B2B and B2C sales. 

The modern sales process, though, has one fundamental difference, that gave sales an unprecedented boost and has become an integral part of the process. Now it's firmly bound with a high-tech phenomenon - BI (Business Intelligence). Let us unveil how has BI percolated B2B grounds.

1. The sales to the existing customers have increased

Every business person knows that it's much cheaper to retain an existing customer than to get a new one. Various studies showed that it may be up to 5 times more expensive to sell to a new customer rather than to an existing one. Respectively, all the costs can get perceptibly lower. Isn't it a direct profit increase for most businesses?

How does the ‘I’ in ‘BI’ help out? It provides accurate sales data tracking that enables your sales team to discover the demand trends and cross-sell opportunities. Moreover, these insights are reinforced with precisely targeted marketing campaigns, that contribute to the result. 

2. Customer service is continuously improving

As long as sales tracking and buying habits analysis is the new reality thanks to BI, businesses now have a complete picture of their B2B client's needs. Business intelligence providers, like Global Database, arm modern B2B sales teams with customer insights, such as the company's financial data, its position on the market, the key executives' background and other important details. 

Thus the sales reps are perfectly prepared for the meetings and can suggest the best cost-saving opportunities, meeting all the client's needs, and solutions, covering the client's main pain-points. Such a level of customer care means better service, which creates a strong relationship and earns loyalty. To mention, that according to a study by Accenture Interactive, 20% (!) of B2B buyers affirmed that they have switched their seller because of lack of integration between sales channels in 2019. The latter may have been considerably affected by an inefficient BI application or the lack thereof on the B2B sellers’ side. 

3. Each decision made is backed-up by data

Permanent access to fresh and accurate business information both about your business and that of the competitors is essential to keep up with the latest market trends and win the competition. Now that the BI has provided it, intuition-based decisions gave way to data-driven ones, thus significantly lowering the potential risks. 

Modern businesses have all the information, from sales performance reports to the competitor's success forecasts, they can justify their actions and get more stable sales. 

4. All the reports are based on a unified information source

Before the appearance of company intelligence, business data was not only divided into separate sections, depending on the department, such as marketing activity, customers data, product information. They were also stored in different, hardly compatible data systems, spread across the business. How can one act upon data, when it is scattered across several departments and systems? Of course, in such a situation, the efficient and productive data sharing wasn't on the cards. 

Unfortunately, not every modern business has yet appreciated the advantages of Business Intelligence, but most of them already benefit from them. Company intelligence directories, in the form of APIs, soft or platforms, can be a single source of truth for relevant business data of all sorts, integrating different company systems, such as CRM, warehouse/supply chain management, ERP and others. This enables the measurement of holistic data with BI tools and providing a complete performance overview.

5. Sales forecasts are more accurate

Being able to forecast the future sales precisely, businesses now can benefit from the increased number of fulfilled orders and, respectively, higher profits, based on such important factors, as, for example, seasonal demands. Competent analysis of the overall sales history available is a way to procurements made on time, accurately forecasted revenue and efficient inventory management. All these provide a base to a stable and competitive business, with a predictable future and clear development plan. 

In the case of no sales history whatsoever with a given client or a series of prospects, company -intelligence can bring even more on the table. Various business directories come with segmentation tools, few providing a truly smooth user experience.

Knowing your buyer persona will result in obtaining lists of high-quality sales prospects in no time. Chances are high that with accurate, cherry-picked businesses at your disposal, you’ll promptly see positive changes in your sales indicators.

What about BI for B2B sales in 2020?

One of the core fields to apply company intelligence in the nearest future is very likely to be related to predictive analytics. Records of former data, trends and behaviour in various situations are growing in value. According to Adobe, almost 90% of sales managers consider data and analytics the foundation for a business’ sales productivity growth. Plenty of companies that have already started to use predictive analytics have noticed positive changes in their revenues. Incorporating artificial intelligence into sales processes will deepen the understanding customers and help better choose prospects, thusly considerably improving the quality of future selections of leads.

To sum up…

Successful B2B sales are based on plenty of closely monitored KPI's, from the performance of particular sales reps and sales team to marketing and sales campaigns and the supply department efficiency. This mission is made easier with the help of reliable BI provider, offering a unified data overview and keeping all the information up-to-date all the time. Your sales team is fully informed and ready for everything, thus passing the seven stages of the traditional sales process with better results.   

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