Business Intelligence (BI): indispensable for your commercial direction

5 min read
Apr 29, 2024 1:14:31 PM
Whereas a few years ago Business Intelligence was mainly the plaything of the IT department, it is now indispensable for the rest of the organization and even indispensable for the commercial departments. Organizations often have more data than they thought, a potential goldmine to strengthen their market position. Potentially, because not the amount of data, but what you do with it determines the future picture. And that's exactly what Business Intelligence is all about. In this article you will read what Business Intelligence is and why it is important. You'll also read how to turn the data in your organization into valuable insights and which tools can help.


Business Intelligence (BI), also known as Business Analytics, is about the software and processes you use to access, interpret and deploy data for the benefit of your organization. In this way, BI can help you make better or faster decisions. BI is broadly applicable and can be applied in any department, industry or sector.
Several sub-processes fall under BI, including:

  • Collecting data
  • Analyzing data
  • Managing data
  • Visualizing data
  • Reporting of data

Thanks to modern BI-tooling, it is becoming increasingly easier for employees to analyze the information themselves. The tools become smarter, combine various information flows and present the key figures dummy-proof, for example in the form of a dashboard. As a result, Business Analytics is no longer the exclusive domain of data analysts, but is widely used throughout the organization.

Why is Business Intelligence important for strategic decisions?

Business Analytics helps you make better decisions. Strategically, by spotting new trends based on market data. Or by further developing your offering, based on changing customer needs. And by basing your decisions today, (partly) on yesterday's insights. Insights that you place in the right context with the help of BI.

And operationally, because data is often the starting point for increasing your effectiveness. One of the most common applications is the use of benchmarks. For example, a benchmark of an advertising campaign, where you can compare your current performance with that of your best-run campaign from the past. This gives insight into the number of leads you can expect, at what investment. And at the same time, it gives you ammunition to intervene if results are lagging, then you can optimize or discontinue the campaign. If the results are good, you can repeat the campaign or roll it out more widely.

4 commercial advantages thanks to business analytics

Business analytics is used by companies in many ways. How does it add commercial value to your organization?

Betterand faster decisions
Datadriven decisions are often better. Why is that? Simple, data knows no emotion. Better and faster decision-making is therefore the common thread in every BI application.

Gripon business
The use cases for BI go beyond the typical indicators of more sales at lower costs. There is a wealth of data within the marketing and sales departments alone that can be used to generate deep insights into the commercial process. Consider optimizing the customer journey, thanks to insight into online visitor behavior. Imagine that analysis shows that many leads drop out after reading a certain white paper ... then you know there is work to be done!

More insight into sales and customer data
How do prospects search for information? How many alternatives are viewed? When (and why) do they decide on a purchase? These are all valuable insights that you can use to your advantage in the commercial process. Buying behavior is therefore an important source of information. Many webshops use historical order data to make personalized recommendations. It also provides insight into trends, if you see that buying behavior changes over time.

Better quality of service
Did you know that employees spend an average of 20% of their time searching for information? That amounts to one day per full-time work week (Ricoh Netherlands). In a world where data is increasingly important for success, you want to find the information you're looking for quickly. This is essential not only for productivity in your organization, but also for service quality and customer satisfaction. Take, for example, producing a quotation. Anyone who has (quick) insight into the average number of hours for an implementation can better manage customer expectations.

Optimize your business strategy with Business Intelligence: a step-by-step plan

Step 1: Define your goal
The large amount of data in an organization can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is important to ask yourself what issues you want to answer using BI.

Imagine, you want to know what the performance of your marketing team is in terms of leads and conversions. Then you can use BI to provide a dashboard that gives insight into:

  • The number of 'deals closed,' including insights on how customers came into your doors and how many of the leads became sales qualified.
  • The number of "marketing leads," including insights into traffic and the number of leads.
  • The performance of your high-end products, as an important(st) driver of sales. Or the performance of your subscription services, including insights into retention, new signups and the number of paying members.

Step 2. Determine the data needed
What data do you need to find a solution to your issue? That's the next step, looking at what data you already have and what you still need to collect.

The latter is often underestimated, especially when the data is fragmented across different systems in the organization, such as a CRM, ERP or accounting package. In that case, you still need to find the most efficient way to unlock the data, such as in the form of BI software.

Step 3. Analyze and visualize data
When you have all the necessary data, you can, whether or not in collaboration with a business analyst, get to work cashing in on insights. This takes place by combining various data streams, then analyzing and visualizing them. The latter is necessary to make the insights understandable to a wider audience.

Do you want to convey a message to management and create support for your decision? Then you can make more impact with data storytelling, for example in the form of an infographic, animation or graph.

What tools do you need for business intelligence?

HubSpot is a solution that allows you to combine the website, e-mail marketing and a CRM in one system. This combination gives you a wealth of data on all your marketing and sales efforts. Hubspot is therefore the ideal software for data-driven marketing.

The dashboard(s) provide real-time insight into the status of your marketing and sales results, where you can combine several with each other to provide the right context. For example, you can visualize the pipeline of leads or see which online information is most accessed by visitors. HubSpot offers a variety of reporting options, both for the most basic analyses and more complex issues.

The data from HubSpot can also be used in combination with other BI software. Various integrations are available through the HubSpot Marketplace, for example with Power BI from Microsoft and with Tableau. Via an export, you retrieve data from HubSpot and easily use it in a variety of other BI applications. An integration or export is a convenient way to use your marketing and sales data more broadly across the company as well.


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