Customer Insight and its Role in the Future of Sales


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The need for businesses to understand and meet their customers’ requirements is almost as old as commerce itself. Yet the modern sales cycle has become highly complex. With around 27 different touch points and vast volumes of data to try and make sense of, it’s a challenging environment for sales professionals.

Statista projected that in 2021, the total volume of data generated would be 79 zettabytes, a figure predicted to reach 181 zettabytes by 2025. Extracting customer insight from all this data is of significant importance to most organizations, but there are many that are not achieving the results they could be.

A lack of customer insight now is problematic, but will be even more so in the future, with more data to work with. But approached correctly, customer insight can play a central role as organizations adapt to the future of sales.

Insight Challenges

A significant reason behind some organizations struggling to get the required insight, is that customer insight relies on such large volumes of data. All of this is stored in different places within an organization or taken from different external sources, making it harder for a sales professional to collate it all and gain a 360-degree view.

But perhaps the biggest challenge is the nature of the data – most of it relating to customer insight is unstructured data, such as news feeds, social media, financial results, and premium data sources such as Refinitiv in FS.

This means it is much harder to analyze and manage this data and for sales teams to extract the actionable insight within it and then factor that into their decision-making process and interactions with customers or prospects.

Augmented intelligence and Insights

The goal for most firms is to extend the reach of their customer understanding to gain a more comprehensive view of their needs and priorities. But this requires a different approach. Artificial Intelligence solutions can work with unstructured data but augmented intelligence – which combines the power of AI with humans’ imagination, intuition, and intelligence – takes this even further.

The right solution can conquer organizational silos by providing access to all internal and external data and insights based on the right context, intent, and sentiment at the right point in time. That insight will even include insight-based recommendations, providing strategic counsel on the best course of action available.

Furthermore, monitoring of customers subsequently takes place automatically and continuously. This lets sales professionals know should a client’s status change and enables them to factor that into the latest interactions, providing them with opportunities to further their business.

Standard Chartered Bank and Sales Insights

This was the situation at the global Financial Services firm Standard Chartered. Its Relationship Managers (RMs) needed to wade through large volumes of data, much of it external and unstructured, in order to find the insight within it. This was inefficient and time-consuming and made it hard for them to spot the trends and opportunities for their clients.

They required a solution that delivered the right information at the right time, providing an unparalleled market understanding and facilitating the meaningful conversations that would truly cement the relationship with its clients.

They implemented an augmented intelligence solution that delivered on its principal objective of providing greater client and marketplace insight derived from the aggregation of internal and external data. This actionable insight is shared with RMs within the business, who use it to strengthen their relationships with clients and increase cross-sell value.

The Future of Sales

Squirro recently invited a panel of B2B sales pioneers to discuss how to transition from traditional B2B sales to one in keeping with business in 2022 and beyond. They provided key success requirements for the future of sales, all based on best practices and their own real-life experience. Their advice and guidance are available in a new e-book, which can be found here.

Using augmented intelligence for customer insights can be hugely beneficial to sales teams, both now and in the future. It allows an organization to truly know its customers, extracting actionable insight from data and using that to build long-term relationships by delivering better opportunities for customers. No organization can hope to succeed without this insight.

Dorian Selz, Dr
Dr. Dorian Selz is co-founder and CEO of augmented intelligence solution provider Squirro. A seasoned entrepreneur, before Squirro he founded the Swiss search platform and made it the market leader in four years.


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