Getting to grips with sales intelligence 08 December 2015

Here Paul Black, CEO at sales-i, a global supplier of sales performance software, discusses how customer data – when analysed and presented correctly – can provide sales teams with actionable insights and greater visibility into their customers’ buying habits, enabling them to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Business and technology often have an uneasy relationship. Many fastener companies remain resistant to change even when all evidence indicates that it will only benefit them. In fact, a report from the Fortune Knowledge Group recently found that 62% of C-level managers ‘trust their gut’ as much – sometimes more – than real, measurable factors like data.

This is why big data is seen as a particularly intimidating subject – the larger the pool of information, the easier it is to become overwhelmed by the number of correlations and statistics. But if treated with proper care and the right tools, big data can redefine your business. You can base decisions on cold, hard statistics, not on your gut – helping to drive profits and cut inefficiencies.

So you’ve got customer data, what next? If you’ve ever poured through spreadsheet after spreadsheet in search of trends, you’ll know how great (and rare) those ‘Eureka’ moments are. But a single flash of insight can be enough to give you that edge, helping you to outflank the competition and boost your bottom line.

Well, what if you could automate the process of trendspotting? What if you could feed all your customer databases, sales records, and customer service call sheets into a neat A4 printout of trend analyses? That’s what big data enables. And the analytical tools that underpin tech giants such as Google and Facebook are now being shrink-wrapped for us ordinary mortals under the friendly header ‘sales intelligence’. It’s a time saver and will give your sales team all the information they need to make a sale at the click of a button, which means no more spreadsheets.

At a ‘macro’ level, sales intelligence can make everyone on your sales team seem more switched-on and improve every aspect of your marketing function. It will identify wider trends such as seasonal changes in purchasing; shifts in popularity across your product ranges; and what’s hot and what’s not. This is the kind of awareness that translates directly into increased sales. If, for example, you notice an uptick in screws and washers over the summer months, then why not offer a discount on bolts when purchased together or in bulk? But it can be even more effective at the ‘micro’ level.

Sales intelligence makes every salesperson look good. With full analyses of purchase histories just a click or two away, your sales team will know exactly when to pick up the phone to a customer. Better still, they’ll be able to anticipate their needs, helping you build stronger relationships and retain those all important customers. The technology has the potential to make every call and email a source of valuable data.

For example, if an executive wants to impress a potential or current customer before a meeting, they can – with the help of predictive analytics – access all of their critical information from a mobile phone. With modern technology, every customer can feel like your most important customer.

The biggest and most important advantage big data provides is efficiency – a prized quality in the fastener industry. ‘Best practice’ isn’t just a buzzword – with sales intelligence, you can hone your processes to their absolute peak and keep up with fast changing times. Sales intelligence software supplies real time updates and insights, enabling you to make large or small-scale changes as necessary.

Content Director

Will Lowry Content Director t: +44 (0) 1727 743 888


Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 15 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.

Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.