This week, Salesforce announced its $15.3 billion acquisition of data visualization company Tableau, bringing the future of sales analytics further into the spotlight.

Miller Heiman Group President and CEO Byron Matthews told the New York Times that helping sellers visualize data is crucial to Salesforce’s growth and the acquisition’s impact will go beyond sales technology to profoundly affect the entire sales industry. On average, sales organizations use 10 different technology tools—but despite this abundance of options, few organizations can use those tools to find, clarify or execute on decisions.

Business intelligence that comes from providers like Tableau is at an inflection point and a huge part of what defines a world-class sales organization according to the most recent research from CSO Insights, Miller Heiman Group’s research division.

Get More from Your Data

Sales analytics fall into three distinct categories: Descriptive Analytics (“What has happened?”); Predictive Analytics (“What could happen?”) and Prescriptive Analytics (“What to do in response?).

Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau is strategic; they know that users need help incorporating 10 different technologies to answer, “what has happened” and “what could happen.”

Getting to the third level, “what to do in response” will involve an even more exciting turn of events – the incorporation of methodology as a foundation of prescriptive data technology.

The sales technology that sellers truly need is a way to leap beyond where they’ve been, and what immediate action they should take, to another layer of sophistication that incorporates how their previous behavior indicates what they should do in the future.

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