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Better Decision Making: The Power of Combining Sales Intuition and Data

Jul 01, 2021
2 min read
It’s in our human nature to rely on gut instincts to make decisions, but that’s only half of the equation. Learn why using AI-driven technology to combine your intuition with data insights for better decision-making is essential for organizations to drive revenue and growth.

 “Trust your gut.” 

It’s a common phrase you’ve likely heard or said at some point to help make a decision. And you’re not alone—it’s human nature. According to the American Psychological Association, our  intuition “derives from a desire to find patterns and connections in—and to figure out how to act within—an otherwise random universe.” We rely on instincts to help us justify decisions and validate our feelings about a situation. 

And it’s not just personal decisions we’re using it for. Today’s business leaders rely heavily on their intuition as well. The Xactly State of Global Enterprise Sales Performance survey found that “gut instinct” was the second most common decision-making factor for leaders behind “doing things the way they’ve always been done.”

Together, those two approaches account for how 53 percent of organizations handle internal decision-making. These approaches, however, put you at a disadvantage. It can become easy to fall back on our experience and that leaves you stagnant, generating mediocre results, instead of challenging the status quo and creating new, innovative ways to succeed.

Intuitive Decision Making is Only Half of the Equation 

Unconscious thinking is notoriously error-prone for a few reasons. It typically relies on superficial clues rather than deeper-level details, and once we form unconscious patterns, they are extremely rigid, even when circumstances change and require a different course of action.

Dr. Jennifer Whelan, Founder & Managing Director
Psynapse Psychometrics

Everyone has a unique view of the world, and intuition bias is the set of assumptions you create based on your personal experiences. When we make decisions rooted in intuition, we draw from our experiences and things we’ve already learned so well that we’ve internalized them and tap into them automatically, without conscious effort.

Hence, why intuition is often described as “just knowing or feeling something.”

I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t experience help you make better decisions? That’s why you hire seasoned professionals to lead your company. So if intuition is us unconsciously using our experience, shouldn’t our gut instinct be trustworthy enough to make business decisions? 

Not entirely. Intuition provides valuable expertise, but it’s only half of the decision-making equation. You don’t want to throw it out the window entirely, but you should “gut check” and make decisions based on factual data. 

Combining the Power of Intuition and Data with Technology

You’ve likely heard that the population falls into one of two thinking categories: intuition-driven and logic-driven (sometimes referred to as left- and right-brained). The strongest leaders and most successful organizations use both together to drive revenue and growth. 

The power of intuition and additional insights

As leaders, we use our experience to call our numbers and estimate performance, but we need concrete logic and data to back those instincts. That requires technology that can analyze performance in real-time. Artificial intelligence (AI) has historically been over-hyped. At Xactly, we like to think of AI as a means to provide “additional insight” that is key to making informed business decisions.

AI-driven technology bridges the gap between intuition and data insights to create a holistic view of your business. This allows you to identify areas for improvement across your entire organization and make strategic, profitable decisions. When you combine the power of intuition and data, we call it Intelligent Revenue.

That’s precisely what we’re bringing to the table with the Xactly Intelligent Revenue Platform. It empowers leaders to combine their intuition with more than 16 years of aggregate data so they can analyze their performance in real-time and make decisions to better predict revenue, drive profitability, and maintain resilience and agility in every situation.

To learn more, check out the recent discussion with our Founder and CEO Chris Cabrera and CRO Jamie Anderson about how Xactly is empowering companies with data-driven Intelligent Revenue.

  • Intelligent Revenue
  • Sales Performance Management
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Xactly News Team

The Xactly News Team reports on the latest product, events and market trends taking place within Xactly and throughout the revenue intelligence industry.