The power of Active Intelligence in improving sales accuracy

Chong Yang Chan outlines the importance of proactive business intelligence and how it can help provide sales teams the agility to react to sudden market changes.

Intraregional trade across Asia outpaced global trade growth in the first three quarters of 2021, which the Asia Development Bank pegs at 29.6 percent versus the latter’s 27.8 percent. To achieve continued growth in 2022 and beyond, economies in Asia will need to deepen their integration through new technology and digital connectivity to improve their value chain participation.

For sales teams across the region, there is clearly an opportunity to capture new markets. After all, if anything positive has come out of the global pandemic, it is the attention it has raised on the need for actionable insights derived from data. Lose sight of this, infection rates go up, and lives are lost. By extension, the pandemic has sharpened focus on the need for greater dynamism and resilience in business environments.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the sales functions and operations.

The challenge of reaching customers have never been greater

In a “zoom-demic”, how sales teams reach customers—when they are everywhere and nowhere—has never been more important. Never mind that in the consumer space, e-commerce is trouncing traditional retail, but even the complex procurement decision-making and buying behaviour in B2B is changing as well.

The sales function has had to cope with tremendous flux to adapt, identify and retune engagement opportunities throughout the sales journey. Insufficient pipeline data and limited analytical capabilities of CRM platforms today highlight key problems sales teams face, where forecast inaccuracies and missed targets put forecasted opportunities at risk.

That’s because most reports and data sources tell different versions of the truth, leading to more questions than answers. To arrive at actionable insights, organisations need a single view of their data that links the connections between them, for example, being able to combine CRM data with data from other systems to make it analytics-ready to uncover hidden sales trends and also ensure analyses are completely up-to-date as the business environment changes.

Active Intelligence–making your data work harder for you

As more and more organisations migrate their workloads to the cloud, sales teams are better able to build an analytics data pipeline to transform their raw data into informed action, and seamlessly build a model to predict which opportunities they are likely to win or lose. At Qlik, we call this Active Intelligence. It represents a new state of business intelligence (BI) that enables organisations to act in real-time based on proactive business intelligence that is optimised for real-time decision-making and action.

By linking these connections that were never before possible, Active Intelligence helps sales teams form a dynamic relationship with their data, and seize every opportunity. 

At Yellow Brick Road (YBR), for instance, the sales teams at the Australian home-loans company rely on a lot of data to help them serve their customers and set sales KPIs. As a company that operates as a national network of community-level financial services branches, YBR believes that the right BI foundation can be transformational–and that the wrong one can be disastrous.

One of the key challenges the company faced was the fact that they did not have insights into loans until they received the commission statements from the banks, usually a delay of around eight weeks from the time of an actual sale. YBR’s sales teams were in a quandary–the lack of real-time insights truly impacted decision-making related to sales targets and strategies

Overcoming this required–broadly–a two-step process. The first was to improve data from the sales CRM to get daily activity data through secured channels on a daily basis, a step which improved YBR’s data analytics. This enabled the company to report key performance metrics in a timely manner. The second step was to adopt the right data and analytics platform to transform YBR into a data-driven company.

YBR ultimately embraced Active Intelligence through Qlik Sense, the analytics solution already in use across many financial and government organisations in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. YBR discovered through the process of onboarding to Qlik that the work they had done in creating its on-premise assets was compatible with Qlik’s cloud-based SaaS solution. Furthermore, the team at YBR discovered that the combination of Qlik Sense’s usability, ease of migration from its old platform, and support from the leadership all enabled a more robust digital transformation journey at the home-loans company.

Previously entrenched in Excel, the new solution meant YBR could finally decommission work done on spreadsheets. This also led to a significant reduction of hours spent manually extracting data from YBR’s SQL databases.

Then COVID-19 happened.

While some anticipated a slowdown in the housing market, the opposite happened–it exploded. And YBR’s people had access to all the tools they needed no matter where they worked, in the office or remotely. And every single sales executive right up to YBR’s chief financial officer, had access to fast, accurate data to make intelligent decisions. 

At no point in time have sales teams needed more real-time visibility to understand the effectiveness of their revenue-driving strategies. Inevitably, sales teams need the tools to give them the agility to rapidly assess and respond to any changes that occur in the market.

Even though the global pandemic is becoming endemic in many markets, the business world has never been more volatile. For companies in the region that want to maximise opportunities in capturing new markets and growth, adopting a proactive data and analytics platform that helps build an end-to-end analytics data pipeline to capture business moments in a more powerful way is a no-brainer.