Let’s get right to the point. There is a big difference between sales insight and sales intelligence. Here is how I define it for my clients: Having sales insight means that sales operations can access data, pulls it into reports and dashboards, and deliver it to the sales organization. Having sales intelligence means that sales operations can access a lot of data, but has a good data strategy in place to determine what data is needed and if it is valid – and can correlate and analyze the important data to create actionable conclusions. Sales ops can then take those conclusions and deliver audience-centric reports or dashboards (e.g. a sales manager dashboard vs. a sales rep dashboard) in a specified cadence with defined actions that help the receiver interpret the data and provide guidance on what to do. Now, that is intelligence!
Time for the reality check. This is not easy, I get that, but nothing of value ever comes easy. If, after reading the first paragraph of this blog post, you raised your hand as recognizing you are only delivering sales insight – great. You have made it through the first step – recognizing you have a problem. The next step is making improvements to begin delivering sales intelligence– here’s how to do it:
Sales organizations have access to a lot of information and that data set is continuing to grow. To truly innovate the way your data is viewed by sales leaders, managers and reps must follow the intelligent path to operational success.
Mark Levinson is Vice President and Group Director of Sales Services at SiriusDecisions. Mark’s nearly 20 years of experience includes a wide variety of sales operations issues including strategic planning, territory optimization, compensation plans, account management, sales tools and sales analytics. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkBLevinson.