Philip Kotler, one of the founders of modern marketing, notes that “marketing is becoming a battle based more on information than on the power of sales.” Consequently, information becomes a key input to develop a strategic asset that is knowledge. For this reason, commercial intelligence is called to be a fundamental tool in the development of companies.
However, the use of business intelligence is not very widespread in companies. This is paradoxical when today, especially thanks to information and communication technologies, and especially the Internet, abundant information can be accessed. And there are those who point out, with reason, that it happens precisely because of that, because we are “infoxicated” (intoxicated with information) and we do not know where to start.
The need to diversify supply and markets makes agribusiness companies use this tool that will allow them to achieve their growth objectives. A first question is to clarify that business intelligence is not synonymous with market research. The latter is just one of the tools used by business intelligence to obtain information not provided by other sources.
Now, given the abundance of information, it is important to consider that which meets certain characteristics such as useful, reliable, available, clear, easy to interpret, updated and complete. Ideally, a company has a business intelligence area. If this is not possible, the task itself must exist, either assumed by one person or on a rotating basis.
Howard Gardner proposed in 1983 a theory known as the multiple intelligences hypothesis. Since then, this theory has received criticism and praise, and has been rejected, modified, and accepted by many people.
Regardless of whether the eight intelligences that Professor Gardner pointed out are or are not those that can explain a model of the mind in conditions, what seems evident is that there are different types of intelligence. It also seems obvious that people can be good at one type of intelligence and clumsy with others.
In the business world, one of the necessary components for any brain is business intelligence. This is a concept that is gaining in importance, and which many experts refer to by its name in English: Business Intelligence (BI).
The business intelligence approach
Business intelligence is defined as the set of intellectual skills that enables a person to perceive and communicate the business side of ideas. In this sense, the commercial side of an idea should not be conceived only as an economic magnitude. That an idea can be sold means that it is valuable to other people.
Therein lies the importance of business intelligence, which is not presented as a magic formula or a compendium of sales secrets. Rather, it has to do with a specific way of processing information. BI is a kind of practical intelligence, aimed at detecting and showing the valuable side of things.
In Spain this concept has been worked out by Luis Bassat in his book Commercial Intelligence. In this work, the Barcelona publicist talks about the importance of values such as trust and skills such as teamwork or communication.
Business Intelligence Values
Following Bassat’s text, the key to business intelligence is building trust. Well looked at, this key does not have an exclusive relationship with the commercial, but is a general value. Trust is achieved by performing an empathy exercise, which allows the interlocutor to understand and be understood by the interlocutor.
Human beings, as social animals, have needs for each other. So a commercial mind is one that knows how to understand the people around him and identify their needs to offer them solutions.
The way of presenting these solutions is essential, and for this, communication must be worked on. But the key is trust, and trust is only achieved when you have shown others that you can meet their needs over and over again, and that you are not going to fail them. When you communicate values such as justice, fairness, and honesty.
So a BI is based on the adoption of values and their respect, as well as their transmission. If the selected values are shared by the people around them, they will generate sympathy and they will become not only friends, but even defenders.
Thus, business intelligence is also about knowing how to read society and knowing how to adapt to it.
How business intelligence is developed
Since this type of mindset has a lot to do with the values of the person who professes it, it is to be expected that the ideal way to develop business intelligence is not mere marketing or haggling.
The way to develop this type of intelligence is to learn to work as a team. After all, commerce is an eminently social activity (perhaps the most social, along with communication and coexistence). In addition, teamwork helps the development of roles and empathy. Thanks to this, the person can learn from others and know how to understand and satisfy them. For this reason, the BI path has been defined as a path to trust.
Teamwork generates collaborative dynamics, very different from those of confrontation. In the corporate sector, these collaborative activities have proven so valuable that companies exploit them more every day.
- Soliciting and obtaining feedback from customers helps tailor products and services to their needs. Thanks to this, clients feel protected and identify with the firm, with which it manages to increase its sales and retain the public.
- Engaging the staff in suggestion campaigns or brainstorming allows the company to get countless ideas from those who know the production chain best. In addition, by making workers participate in the destiny of the company, it makes them feel identified with it, which leads to greater commitment and well-being.
- Social media are a clear example of this collective action. In fact, the current client is a very informed client, who on many occasions requests opinions from other users or technical details from the house, through the Internet. This profile, in its most active aspect, even issues reviews of the company’s products and services. So being skilled in the use of social networks will help to connect with the commercial public, to have a presence and to fulfill the objective of generating trust.
But you can also develop business intelligence by acting alone. To do this, it is essential to put certain habits into practice. Also, the more capable a person is, the more they can contribute to the group. Some good practices to improve BI are:
- Streamline the mind. To have a business perspective you need to streamline your mind so that opportunities can be spotted. The best exercise in this regard is problem solving. For this, it is necessary to have an open mind and be willing to explore new possibilities and ways of understanding the world. Remember that the commercial key is to be useful and to provide confidence to the group.
- Trust yourself. This is essential to project self-confidence in others. In addition, it allows the assumption of certain risks that would not be taken if one does not trust oneself. To increase self-confidence, many activities can be carried out, such as participating in extreme sports, learning new skills or taking public actions (from giving a concert to giving a talk or working in front of the public).
- Learn to communicate. Communication is essential, because it is what links a person with their environment. Currently, there are professionals who help people learn to communicate more efficiently. In general, the only way to improve the way someone communicates is to increase their sociability.
- Learn to listen. Although listening is technically part of communication, the importance of this activity makes it worthy of its own epigraph. It is an activity to the extent that listening should not be limited to passive reception of information. Active listening is an art, and will help you detect the needs of others and understand their expectations and desires.
- Manage frustration. One of the first elements that define adult life is the mismatch between personal expectations and reality. However, while some people accept this inadequacy, other people get frustrated and have a hard time. Managing frustration is critical to improving business intelligence. First of all, because it will help with social relationships; second, because channeling frustration can allow crises to be perceived as opportunities.
- Learn to be flexible. The result of most of these elements is a reinterpretation of the scenarios that are presented on a day-to-day basis. Situations that could be read as a debacle are now considered opportunities. For this, of course, a person must be willing to recycle and renew their way of seeing the world and their activities. So flexibility is a very favorable personal attitude to business intelligence.
In short, BI is nothing more than a set of emotional and intellectual skills that help the person to be of use to society. To do this, he must identify social needs, which he does through skills such as empathy and actions such as active listening.
Once you know the problems of society, you must learn to find solutions for them. This requires an open and decisive mind, capable of reinterpreting the world and, above all, resistant to frustration. Making mistakes is a constant for business minds. So these should be understood as a learning opportunity, and not as a failed attempt.
When the solutions are reached, the business mind will find the best way to communicate them to its peers. To do this, the person must have worked on their social skills. That is why it is important that you know how to communicate and make yourself understood.
This is how the business mind becomes a person of utility to its neighbors. A person they can trust, and turn to. This is the key to your success. So business intelligence is actually a manifestation of social intelligence.