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Generate Commercial Intelligence for Business Advantage

Ben Blaney< Ben Blaney March 25, 2020

We’ve all seen plenty of buzzwords over the years. Remember when all the rage in home computing was ‘multimedia?’ Or what about the hot topic in business where everything must be met with sound ‘strategy’ when, in reality, tactics were actually being discussed. More recently, everything seems to have an ‘artificial intelligence’ component to it. Whether it in fact does or doesn’t is often beside the point.

Another phrase you’ve likely heard before is commercial intelligence. While you might think it too is a cringe-worthy buzzword given the frequency it gets used, it’s actually much more than the flavor of the day. It’s how you generate business advantage today.

A Two-Step Process

At the heart of commercial intelligence is data. Informative, eye-opening, sometimes surprising bits and bytes of information that when put next to business issues, brings to light compelling new ways of doing business. Or, for the lucky few, it confirms you’re on exactly the right path. But while we logically know data is everywhere, it’s a whole different story when it comes to finding the right information and using it efficiently.

Organizations have massive volumes of data that regularly go unused. To decipher the powerful story that data is trying to tell you about how to advance your organization’s bottom line growth, you need to collate it. Here are five examples of data that can be found within your own organization right now that will support significant profitability.

  1. Win Loss Sales Data. Chances are good your already capturing win loss data in ERP for the former, CRM for the later. Or you might be using other quoting tools. Worst case, this selling information is scattered in and around your sales team. This information is absolute gold.
  2. Marketplace Data. Sometimes hiding inside that win/loss data, but sometimes elsewhere – there’s competitor price data. You can also hire outside agencies to “scrape” competitive websites to get a sense of the market.
  3. Operational Engine Data. How your organization delivers products or services really matters of course, and the operational side of the house has tons of data. Think about lead-times as a mechanism to drive cross-sell, or inventory levels to determine discounting. Your only limit is your creativity in this kind of thinking.
  4. Product Attributes. Are you pricing your products based on the value they bring? Or is it more of a cost-plus formulation? Many organizations struggle with making improvements in this area but at least knowing where you’re at is a valuable exercise to begin with.
  5. Customer Sentiment. Understanding your customer’s attitude towards you and your product or service very often makes the difference between a win and a loss and it impacts ongoing customer loyalty and the price you’re able to charge now and in the future.

Step one is to go get this and other similar data. It already exists and, in most cases, you own it. In my next post, I’ll discuss how to put this type of information to work for you.

Until then, learn more about profitability in the webcast, Distilling Digital: A Guide to Profitability through Commercial Excellence and Customer Experience.