Economist Intelligence Unit Study: Self-Service Access to Data Increases Sales Success

Global study sponsored by Qlik finds almost four in five companies believe managing sales performance is more important than other key objectives

Global study from the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Qlik, finds that greater access to data, frequent use of analytic tools, and the adoption of data at higher levels of the organization lead to better sales performance. (Graphic: Business Wire)

RADNOR, Pa.--()--Greater access to data, frequent use of analytic tools, and the adoption of data at higher levels of the organization lead to better sales performance, according to the findings of a global study released today by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by Qlik® (NASDAQ: QLIK), a leader in visual analytics. According to the study, virtually all – 97 percent – of companies who indicated they were very good at executing on sales objectives had real-time, self-service access to customer or account data. Of those, three in five of these firms said they access sales reports one or more times per day.

The study, which surveyed 550 global sales leaders, confirms that sales performance is a near-universal priority for companies, with nearly 80 percent of companies indicating that managing sales performance was “somewhat important” or “much more important” than other business objectives. At the same time, however, companies lack a degree of sales confidence with only a quarter of respondents citing they were “very good” at executing on sales objectives. Insufficient or poor quality data was one of the top barriers to better sales performance, cited by 27 percent of respondents.

“The companies that succeed aren’t the ones that have the most data; it’s the ones who really understand it and know what to do with it,” said Colin Day, global head of marketing operations at financial technology company SunGard. “The data and the insights are only as good as the current information you’ve got. People move on, the contact universe is a constantly changing landscape, companies come and companies go, the field in which the reps have to operate is constantly changing.”

Additional key findings include:

  • Businesses value data accuracy and integration – but do not always get it. Companies felt data accuracy (53 percent) and the ability of the analytics platform to integrate with existing systems (38 percent) were the most important features of sales data analytics applications. However, these were also most commonly cited as the main limitations of their current systems – by more than 30 percent of respondents.
  • Sales leaders bring analytics into the C-suite. Around a third of companies who said they were “very good” at executing on sales objectives also reported that sales analytics data was used extensively by their C-level executives, versus 19 percent of other firms.
  • Investments in training and coaching initiatives, and the data tools that empower sales teams, produce measurable returns. Sales leaders were more likely to see themselves as stronger than the competition in terms of revenue growth, profitability and market share. For example, 42 percent of companies that claimed to be “very good” at executing on sales objectives said they were much stronger than competitors in terms of revenue growth, versus 11% of other firms.
  • Sales leaders pave the way for their staff to benefit from sales analytics. About three in five (59 percent) of companies overall agreed their sales staff had the skills to take advantage of analytics, increasing to 77% of companies that claimed to be “very good” at executing on sales objectives. Such firms recognize that success is heavily dependent on efforts to build awareness of the potential of data among the workforce, and train staff in related best practices.


The report, along with additional assets, are available for download here:
A Qlik® Sense app built on the Economist survey data is also available here:

Join Our Webinar

For a deeper analysis into the study and to learn what companies can do to improve their sales performance initiatives, join the global Qlik webinar (, “Trends in Driving Sales Performance Excellence: What Sets Leaders Apart” featuring Charles Ross, Senior Editor, Economist Intelligence Unit, Mike Saliter, Vice President of Industry Solutions at Qlik, and Chris Norton, Director, Mentor Group.

About the Study

Unique selling points: Separating sales leaders from the pack is a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit. The report, sponsored by Qlik, draws on a global survey of 550 senior sales executives, desk research and interviews with experts to examine the way in which companies manage the sales process and whether the use of technology makes them more effective at selling. The survey targeted senior sales executives at mid-to-large sized companies. All survey respondents named sales as their main functional role with over a quarter (27 percent) of respondents’ chief sales officers, and another 19 percent managers. On a country basis, the highest proportion (13 percent) of respondents were from the United States, with the remainder split relatively equally among various European and Asian markets. Just over half (51 percent) of respondents had annual revenues of $500 million or more, with the remainder reporting revenues of under $500 million.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the world's leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. It provides accurate and impartial intelligence for companies, government agencies, financial institutions and academic organizations around the globe, inspiring business leaders to act with confidence since 1946.

EIU products include its flagship Country Reports service, providing political and economic analysis for 195 countries, and a portfolio of subscription-based data and forecasting services.

About Qlik

Qlik (NASDAQ: QLIK) is a leader in visual analytics. Its portfolio of products meets customers’ growing needs from reporting and self-service visual analysis to guided, embedded and custom analytics. Approximately 36,000 customers rely on Qlik solutions to gain meaning out of information from varied sources, exploring the hidden relationships within data that lead to insights that ignite good ideas. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Qlik has offices around the world with more than 1700 partners covering more than 100 countries.

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For Qlik
Amanda Keane, 617-520-7260

Release Summary

Access to data, frequent use of analytic tools and the adoption of data at higher levels of the organization improve sales performance, says a global study by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Qlik.


For Qlik
Amanda Keane, 617-520-7260