There will be for most industries a plethora of journals, articles, blogs and more giving some great insight to what's going on in your industry. Some of it will be relevant and some may be specific to a niche you operate in, some may give you statistics and help you broaden your knowledge or give you a different point of view, and that's all great but how will it help you grow your business above the one project or company that may be featured in an article?
Data, or at least business intelligence, it's how you use your knowledge and experience coupled data to build a picture in support of what your trying to achieve or help you find a different route that's more appropriate. I've outlined below several areas where business intelligence can help you grow your market share, there are however many more:
How big is your market?
Having a great understanding of who your customer is, what type of business they are and the sector they operate. If you have this data it will need to be up to date and allow you to find company, director details on all those companies, from that point you have an accurate picture of your total possible customer base and not just a thought of who they are.
Every business will operate in a slightly different way from another, most will want to keep their costs to a minimum, a huge expense can be the cost of a sales person travelling. If you don't know what your total customer base could be and what the geography is of your targets you could easily put a sales person either close to your HQ, to their home or to where there are a few larger prospects. Use data to build a geographical picture of your prospects and also your competition if you’re dealing with service levels.
Pin point company specifics
You may want to know the size of the business your targeting, maybe turnover, profitability, no of employees, age of company, do they have any loans and with who. Again accurate data can pull these together and hopefully in one place.
In many cases a sales team will go and win business, it will get to credit control who will pull a company’s house report and make a decision of whether to give them credit or not. If the deal doesn't go ahead the sales person Is invariably kicking and screaming as all their hard work is pointless and from a your perspective it's a lost opportunity that's wasted valuable time that could have been used on someone that can pay.
And that's based on a report from last year’s accounts. That could be 12-18 months ago and the company might be in a much stronger position. You need accurate up to date information that gives a picture of today, not last year.
How can Business Intelligence help?
Start with data, accurate, live data that has a health score based on real business risk and not last year’s accounts or if a company has paid their rent, rates, insurance and tax, after all most do so their credit score looks good.
Often times businesses have a good but only a rough idea of their market, geographical location, sales team will go off and some will be lost due to an out of date credit report. Data, or business intelligence can be your friend, can save you time, money and improve employee retention. Unfortunately because these are intangible and you don't see a pound sign next to then they don't always get considered.
Get the right data source with accurate live data identify the market, geographical locations, size and composition of your targets BUT before sending the sales team out use the health score to identify those businesses with good health based on accurate live data, getting you the business you want, not wasting time or money and keeping the sales team engaged.