To quote our VP of engineering, platforms are the car, algorithms are the engine, and data is the fuel. I would expand this analogy a bit to say the user is the passenger and insights to support selling more product is the destination. After all, the average Outdoor power equipment territory manager wants to make sure more of his product winds up, through the gates of the most capable current and potential OPE dealers, in the hands of the highest-valued customers. Most manufacturers have the fuel: the data. However, it’s not very dynamic – it’s hard to look at fuel and picture the destination it will take you to. Still, manufacturers may arm their territory managers with the historical viewpoint of their territory in the form of this raw data.
So you can lug fuel down the road on foot but that’s the hard way. And you’re likely not going to hit the destination efficiently. But, pour that data into an analytics engine and you’ll start to be able to turn that data into high-horsepower insights pretty quickly. The ability to derive customer lifetime values, average transaction values, trends over time, can all provide the Territory Manager with what they need to start making insightful decisions. If you add some fuel additives such as demographic data and predictive analytics, you really have the building blocks of good strategic decisions that can make the average territory manager very efficient.
So now you have the fuel, and the engine, but how can you put that horsepower down on the road to selling more product? The problem is, most Power Equipment manufacturers don’t have an analysis engine mounted within their infrastructure, or a mechanic to tune it up. They’re not data scientists by nature, they are rightly focused on manufacturing and sales. And the average Territory Manager certainly isn’t a data scientist either… he may have the data and the analytics but his expertise is in selling, not converting analyses to actionable strategy. So there’s an added step necessary in getting the TM to not only have the right data and the right analysis of it, but the roadmap to the destination getting him down the most efficient path.
Cue Black Ink. We take the fuel and enrich it. We build and maintain the engine to analyze it. We create the platform to visualize it and we give the keys to a territory manager in a way in which he understands what to do with it. We don’t want them wasting their time with any of that – just hop in, turn the key and know just how to get to identifying opportunities and selling more product more efficiently. We come to the manufacturer, the sales manager, the territory manager, or any user on their terms – understanding not just the data and the analysis but how they will best understand how to use it to enhance their business. We get inside their everyday experience and tailor our offerings to speak to what is important to them. We put the data and analysis in the language of the user, showing what they need to make the right decisions and filtering out anything extraneous. Try getting that out of your every day Business Intelligence tool, and the best you’ll get is their presentation with no interpretation and no personal insights into what makes your business tick. You don’t just need the data, you need the right platform that tailors the experience of the insights to what your average salesperson will find most useful.