Why investing in MI is key to your sales performance
In the age of data, choosing not to invest in a quality market intelligence (MI) solution can mean your sales team is losing market share to your competitors. More companies are investing in MI than ever before. These companies are achieving a significant advantage over those who are not using market intelligence solutions. In today’s blog, we will discuss a few key ways in which the choice not to use MI can kill your sales.
Without MI you do not know which customers you are losing
Sales managers typically have at least one rep who reports to them. These reps often sell a wide variety of products and can work long hours. It can be difficult for a rep to detect when a customer has partially decreased their order volume over time, or gradually stops buying one product but not another.
Oftentimes, this insight is discovered by chance. For instance, a colleague in another team or department may remark that a customer hasn’t ordered a particular product lately. In this case, proactive management to retain this customer gives way to chance. This can have a substantial impact on your overall sales figures.
Because MI provides you with a clear picture of your customers’ buying patterns, your team can quickly detect any decrease in order volumes. With this knowledge, your team is empowered to respond proactively to the situation by sending in a rep before any major damage is done.
For instance, the customer may have negotiated with another vendor for a lower price or shorter lead time. By catching this problem at the front end, you can quickly intervene to re-negotiate better terms. This, in turn, may enhance your relationship with this customer as they now know they can come to you first before negotiating with another vendor in the future. Interestingly, 95% of customers don’t raise concerns before they stop buying. Having an open dialogue with your customers may minimize this issue.
Without MI it is more difficult to discover new sales opportunities
Increasing the number of products you sell to existing customers can be an easy way to boost revenue. That is, as long as you have MI. Without MI, cross- and up-selling are reliant on your sales reps and their personal assessment of your customers’ needs. For instance, a customer may be buying a product but not a complimentary product such as pasta but no sauce. In this case, the customer is purchasing that product elsewhere. An experienced rep may have fine-tuned their gut-instincts to recognize the bigger picture, but hunches and instincts are based on human interpretation, not fact.
With MI you can easily see which customer is buying product A, but not product B, and respond by sending in a sales rep to make the sale. With MI, you are also able to identify the purchasing trends of similar customers. With this information, you can quickly detect new sales opportunities. For example, a customer may benefit from being offered a line of more luxurious products. Another may be interested to in learning about a new product their competitors are buying. With the power of MI, you can become an advocate for your customers’ experience and business success.
Without MI, preparing for a meeting with a customer is time-consuming
Without the benefit of timely and accurate reports generated by MI, it is difficult to gain true insights into a customer’s buying patterns or to uncover sales opportunities. In this case, sales reps and leaders are reliant on traditional reporting through the IT team. Because these reports can take several days to reach your desk, the data is often outdated. And due to their static nature, these reports provide no opportunity to query the data to discover the underlying reasons for the trends you’re seeing.
While some sales meetings do allow for this amount of pre-planning, chances are many do not. In reality, spending time to have reports generated and then examined before meeting with a customer is something not all sales professionals can afford. From a business point of view, even if your sales team is capable of getting the reports, consider all the time and effort involved. Time is an expense.
With access to a quality MI tool, your sales reps have a clear profile of each customer and their buying trends.
Not only does MI help to improve overall sales performance, it may also reduce the long hours and stress of your individual sales reps. Happier reps may create a happier work environment.
If you're looking for a reliable MI partner, be sure to check out Hammer Market Intelligence.
Source: Phocas Software